Just two weeks after snapping a 16-year winless drought in World Series of Poker bracelet events, Josh Arieh has claimed his second bracelet of the 2021 WSOP. Arieh triumphed in Event #66: $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship (8-Handed) on Friday night to earn his fourth lifetime bracelet and a $484,791 winner’s payday.
Arieh topped a strong 208-entry field in this PLO hi-lo event, which saw 32 players share in a $1,809,050 prize pool. Arieh’s final foe was New York’s Danny Chang, who was denied in his bid for his first-ever bracelet but still earned $299,627 as the runner up. Third place and $207,369 went to Russia’s Anatolii Zyrin, who like Arieh had already logged a bracelet win this series.
Arieh’s series has turned around markedly since a relatively slow start. He’s posted three final-table paydays in the past two weeks, including his earlier win in Event #39: Pot-Limit Omaha (8-Handed). The big payday gives the Alpharetta, GA native nearly $6.5 million in career WSOP earnings.
Friday’s win also puts Arieh squarely in contention in the 2021 WSOP Player of the Year Race. Arieh trails overall POY leader Jake Schwartz by just 26 points in a multi-way battle so tight that even a min-cash can chase the top spots. Arieh moved slightly ahead of the series’ other double-bracelet winners, Kevin Gerhart and Anthony Zinno. However, the unsung tale of the POY battle remains Schwartz’s ability to cling to the overall lead — despite having no bracelet wins to date.
Arieh overtakes Chang for victory
Twelve players returned for the Day 3 finale in the PLO-8 championship, which was shortened from four days to three due to shifts in PokerGO’s live-streamed broadcast schedule. That made for a longish finale before Arieh emerged as the winner. Early on, eventual runner-up Chang held the inside track. Chang began Friday’s play with a healthy lead over Dan Colpoys, while Arieh held fifth.
The day’s earliest levels were largely a sweeping out of the remaining short-stacked players. The official eight-player final table was set when John Esposito bubbled. At that point, Arieh had climbed to second place, but still with only half the chips of Chang, who remained in control. Momentum turned Arieh’s way during seven-handed play, when he doubled up against Chang to draw nearly even for the lead, then scooped another large pot to move well ahead.
Chang eventually dragged two huge points of his own to return to the lead, with Russia’s Zyrin also still in the hunt. The last momentum shift, however, went Arieh’s way. Zyrin went from the lead to out in just the space of a few hands. Meanwhile, Arieh returned to the lead, with a healthy lead over Chang as heads-up play began.
The final hand found Arieh and Chang all in before the flop. Arieh had Qs-6s-5d-4d, while Chang showed As-Ks-5h-2d. A 9d-6h-3c flop gave Arieh a pair, while both players had huge draws toward the low. A 2h turn, however, gave Arieh a straight and a made low and left Chang drawing thin, and an Ah river gave Arieh the wheel for the scooped pot and the title.
Event 66, $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship (8-Handed) – Final-table results:
- Josh Arieh (United States) – $484,791
- Danny Chang (United States) – $299,627
- Anatolii Zyrin (Russia) – $207,369
- Dan Colpoys (United States) – $146,817
- Jeff Gross (United States) – $106,391
- Adam Owen (United Kingdom) – $78,955
- Aaron Kupin (United States) – $60,040
- Matt Woodward (United States) – $46,813
Featured image source: WSOP.com