Day 3 action at the 2021 World Series of Poker is underway with one of the first high-profile bracelets up for grabs in the $25,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship. This elite-field event played its way through a carnage-filled Day 2 that began with 52 players — including five Day 2 entries — and played all the way down to today’s unofficial nine-player final table. And it’s a loaded final table, led by England’s Benny Glaser and featuring Phil Hellmuth, in the hunt for a record 16th bracelet.
Hellmuth’s Day 2 charge toward a major mixed-games bracelet he’s always coveted won’t come easy. Glaser dominated Day 2’s later play and is a three-time bracelet winner himself. The final also includes two other prior WSOP winners, in Ben Yu (three bracelets), and David Benyamine (one).
Hellmuth himself remarked on how much work he’s put into his mixed-games play in an effort to take down this or another bracelet. Mixed-games wins at the WSOP carry extra cachet with poker veterans, who consider these events a stronger test of overall poker skill:
Highlights abound as Day 2 ends, Day 3 begins
The Day 3 final table began at 2 pm on Saturday on one of the Amazon Room’s secondary feature tables. The annual construction of the WSOP’s broadcast “Mothership” became a backdrop for the H.O.R.S.E. action on Friday, as it remains under construction. Like any construction, it included loud sawing and banging, enough to distract the Day 2 players, who were themselves tucked into the Amazon’s back (northwest) corner. Yet the ongoing construction dashed hopes for a full-fledged live streaming of the finale. (A limited stream utilizing hand-held cameras was arranged in the overnight hours, given the prominence of the finale, including Hellmuth’s presence.)
Day 2 had plenty of action as well. In a mixed event, it’s poker’s equivalent of golf’s “moving day,” when a few players build deep stacks while most others crash and burn. Perhaps no player endured a more spectacular arc than Jean “Prince” Gaspard, who topped the counts mid-day with more than 850,000 chips, but lost them all in just a few more hours.
Another run that ended short of glory was that of poker broadcaster Norman Chad. As we’ve previously reported, Chad entered the $25,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship as a fundraising effort for anti-depression research, a disease from which Chad has long suffered. Chad began Day 2 with more than his starting stack, but he never found a run of hot cards, exiting in the middle of the pack. Chad’s effort, though, still generated $12,500 toward anti-depression research.
Gaspard and Chad weren’t the only players hitting the rails on Day 2. Other poker luminaries busting out during the day included Anthony Zinno, John Racener, Stephen Chidwick, Josh Arieh, Randy Ohel, Johannes Becker, Poker.org’s own Chris Wallace, Shaun Deeb, Robert Mizrachi, Chris Vitch, David “ODB” Baker, Adam Friedman, Marco Johnson, Mike Matusow, and John Monette.
Three players survived long enough to make it inside the tourney’s 12-player money bubble. Cary Katz (12th, $42,162), Roland Israelashvili (11th, $46,002), and Daniel Negreanu (10th, $46,002), each recorded their first cash of the 2021 WSOP. (Author’s note: Matt Glantz and DJ Buckley busted very early during the final day’s action.
Featured image source: Haley Hintze