Koray Aldemir widens lead as WSOP Main Event final table set

Haley Hintze
Published by:
Posted on 11/16/2021

The 2021 World Series of Poker $10,000 Main Event World Championship has reached its nine-player final table after a marathon Day 7 that saw German-born pro Koray Aldemir open a commanding lead over the other surviving players.

Aldemir, who now resides in Austria, began Day 7 with a narrow lead over several other players. He gained ground early, then padded his lead as play stretched into Tuesday’s early hours and the action tightened as the final table loomed. Aldemir finished the day with 140,000,000 in chips, nearly 60 million ahead of second-place George Holmes’s 83,700,000 stack. Holmes himself had nearly double the chips of Argentinian rapper Alejandro Lococo, who will start Tuesday’s Day 8 in third.

Big Day 7 finish for Aldemir

Aldemir, who held the lead after Day 5 action and remained in the top five after Day 6, grabbed control of the Main Event part way through Day 7 as the shorter stacks struggled to stay in the event. Aldemir made several big hands at timely moments throughout the day, including a full-house-over-flush cooler against Ark Onikul that sent Onikul to the cashier’s cage to collect a 12th-place payout.

Aldemir also picked up the night’s final knockout. With all 10 remaining players gathered at an unofficial final table, Aldemir forced a short-stacked Demosthenes Kiriopoulos to move all in for the last of his 5.5 million stack. Kiriopoulos had As-3s to lead Aldemir’s Qd-10, but a Qs-9s-5h flop gave Aldemir a pair of queens while also giving Kiriopoulos a flush draw. Kuriopoulos needed an ace or another spade to top Aldemir’s paired queen. Instead, a 7h turn and Jc river sealed Kiriopoulos’s fate and locked in the Main Event’s final table.

Holmes makes unlikely surge to second spot

The rags-to-riches story of the day was certainly that of Atlanta, Georgia’s George Holmes. Holmes was down to less than half a million chips after losing a big pot earlier in the day. His stack was barely more than a single big blind, but he quadrupled up in the next hand, then went on an extended heater to lock in at least a million-dollar payday.

Along the comeback trail, Holmes knocked off three-time bracelet winner Chance Kornuth in 16th spot. Kornuth drew much of the media attention through Days 6 and 7. Aldemir, however, arguably was and is the largest global poker star left in the Main Event, following UK superstar Stephen Chidwick’s bustout early on Day 6.

Marathon Day 7 runs to nearly 3 am

As most watchers expected, it took an overtime Day 7 to trim the field from 36 starters to an official nine-player final, when Aldemir bounced Kiriopoulos after 2:30 am. Besides Kiriopoulos, Onikul, and Kornuth, several other players saw their Main Event runs end on Monday.

The 27 players who made Day 7 but fell short of the final also included Spain’s Ramon Colillas, who battled for the lead on previous days but exited in 14th position. American Jesse Lonis busted in 21st, while Canada’s Jonathan Dwek was Day 7’s first casualty when he busted early on in 36th spot.

Action resumes on Day 8 at 3 pm as the final nine players chase the $8,000,000 winner’s prize. The schedule has been slightly adjusted. The final table will play down to a final four players during Tuesday’s action. Those final four will then square off for the bracelet and the title of “WSOP World Champion” on Wednesday.

World Series of Poker Main Event final table chip counts:

  1. Koray Aldemir (Austria) – 140,000,000
  2. George Holmes (United States) – 83,700,000
  3. Alejandro Lococo (Argentina) – 46,800,000
  4. Joshua Remitio (United States) – 40,000,000
  5. Jack Oliver (United Kingdom) – 30,400,000
  6. Ozgur Secilmis (Turkey) – 24,500,000
  7. Hye Park (United States) – 13,500,000
  8. Chase Bianchi (United States) – 12,100,000
  9. Jareth East (United Kingdom) – 8,300,000

Featured image source: Haley Hintze