The turnout was much lower than in similar $500 events in 2019, but given the circumstances, the tourney attracted an impressive crowd. Those circumstances were a combination of travel bans, vaccine mandates, and COVID’s Delta and Mu variants.
2021 WSOP Event #4: $500 The Reunion — to give it its full title — attracted 12,975 entries once the rebuys were all tallied. This comfortably broke the $5 million CET had put up as a guarantee.
The scale of The Reunion tested Caesars Entertainment’s preparations almost to their limits. Lines were long. The CLEAR App and WSOP FastTrac systems bent and almost broke under the pressure. The turnout of 13k players for this event — while half a dozen other events got underway — pushed the very limited dealer pool. Plus, the final table was also one of the first few to get a live stream. There were a lot of things that could have gone a lot more wrong than they did.
$513,604 of the prize pool was earmarked for first place. This eventually went to amateur poker player and company manager Long Ma.
Ma admits to a patchy record when it comes to his poker career. “When I first started, I lost a lot of money on gambling,” Ma said in his post-game interview. “But then I won a tournament with four hundred people and I started doing a bit better. But recently not too good.”
“It is really hard to be a professional with only tournaments,” he added.
His ROI on this event is roughly 100,000%. So, he may have to update his views on professional tournament poker now.
Heads up play and the final hand
When Max Tavepholjalern packed up his fancy hat and coat, hitting the bricks in third place, the blinds were at 2,500,000-5,000,000 with a 5,000,000 big blind ante. The remaining players were Long Ma and Giuliano Lentini.
Heads-up play and the final hand proved to be entirely contiguous in the end.
The very next hand after Tavepholjalern & Hat left, Lentini shoved from the button with about 1/5th of the chips in play. Ma called and tabled A♥7♠. Lentini was in trouble with Q♠J♣.
The dealer didn’t do either player any favors with a clean run out of 3♦K♠4♥5♠5♥ which comprehensively missed both players, barely offering an inside straight draw to Ma who was already ahead.
Ma won the event having cleaned out the other four top five finishers in a row.
“Almost 13,000 players. Lots of good players, some lucky players and maybe me the luckiest one,” Ma told reporters.
Lentini won $317,352 for his second-place finish.
WSOP Event #4: $500 The Reunion complete final table results
Featured image source: PokerGO