WSOP 2021: $25K NLH Heads-Up High Roller just misses capped field

Haley Hintze
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Posted on: October 5, 2021 8:01 pm EDT

In another day featuring solid player turnout, the 2021 World Series of Poker launched one of the most exclusive events of the entire series, the $25,000 No-Limit Hold’em Heads-Up High Roller. This tourney, just the eleventh live bracelet event of the series, nearly reached its 64-player cap before getting underway shortly after 2 pm on Tuesday.

That the $25K NLH HU high roller came close to reaching its entry cap was remarkable, given all the factors in play. The event is brand new for 2021, which always carries some degree of uncertainty. While the WSOP’s $10K heads-up events have drawn much larger fields, the jump to $25,000 puts the event into a different category altogether.

High-limit heads-up specialist John Smith is among 57 elite players taking part in Event #11 of the 2021 WSOP, the $25,000 HU NLH High Roller. (Image: Haley Hintze)

Other factors that had to be considered were that heads-up no-limit hold’em is largely an online format, and it’s also a format highly populated by international pros. Many of those pros are on hand for today’s start, but several others have been impacted by pandemic-related quarantines or have chosen to skip the WSOP this time around.

There was even a bit of a schedule conflict. Just a few dozen yards away, on the opposite end of the Amazon Room. Day 2 action commenced in Event #9, the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship. Several of the players still in the hunt in that event may well have jumped over to the heads-up high roller had they been eliminated across the way. The heads-up high roller, however, is not an event where a player could consider double-dipping, moving back and forth between the two events.

Seven lucky players received first-round byes

A random draw determined the first-round matchups, with seven fortunate high rollers getting a few hours’ break before tonight’s Round 2. Mikita Badziakouski, Galen Hall, Ali Imsirovic, Eric Persson, Sam Soverel, Gabor Szabo, and Joao Vieira caught the free passes.

The other 25 first-round matchups featured these stars:

  • Michael Addamo v. Johan Guibert
  • Koray Aldemir v. Kane Kalas
  • Mohammad Arani v. Jonathan Jaffe
  • Scott Ball v. David Peters
  • Johannes Becker v. Pedro Waldburger
  • Pejman Behboudikha v. Adrian Mateos
  • Chris Brewer v. Jason Koon
  • James Chen v. Nick Petrangelo
  • Stephen Chidwick v. Bin Weng
  • Frank Crivello v. Alex Ding
  • Marcell Csata v. Jesse Lonis
  • James D’Ambrosio v. Bertrand Grospellier
  • Dimitar Danchev v. Darren Elias
  • Jake Daniels v. Scott Seiver
  • Seth Davies v. Sean Perry
  • Rok Gostisa v. Henri Puustinen
  • Joshua Heinzl v. Kevin Rabichow
  • Mustapha Kanit v. Dan Zack
  • Cary Katz v. Boris Martin
  • Patrick Kennedy v. Dan Smith
  • Julien Martini v. Felipe Ramos
  • Ignacio Moron v. Benjamin Reason
  • Nicolai Morris v. John Smith
  • Sergi Reixach v. Aleksandr Shevlyakov
  • Jeremiah Williams v. Gal Yifrach

A few of the Round 1 matches ended quickly. Seth Davies, Cary Katz, Adrian Mateos, Dimitar Danchev, Jake Daniels, and Joshua Heinzl were the first to advance into tonight’s second round. The high-roller tourney features two heads-up rounds today, tomorrow, and Thursday, when the bracelet winner will be determined.

Featured image source: Haley Hintze