US Players Have Dominated WSOP So Far, But a European Invasion Is Imminent

  • Yu, Deeb, Rast, and Bonyadi won WSOP bracelets last week, continuing US dominance
  • North Americans have won all 25 non-Hold ‘Em events so far, including 23 US victories
  • Deeb has his sights set on breaking Hellmuth’s record of wins over the next two decades
  • Alex Reard has won $428,694 and his first bracelet, opening France’s account for this series
  • Travel limits will end Nov 8, meaning Europeans will descend on Vegas for the Main Event


Poker pro Shaun Deeb
US players have claimed the majority of victories in this year’s WSOP so far, including a win from Shaun Deeb (pictured above) who took gold in the $25,000 PLO High Roller on Saturday night for $1,251,860. [Image: WSOP Twitter]

Yu, Deeb, Rast, and Bonyadi add to American gold

Poker is as American as apple pie in the sense that neither are actually American. Nonetheless, wins for Ben Yu, Shaun Deeb, Brian Rast, and Farzad Bonyadi last week continued the US’ dominance at this year’s WSOP. So far, Americans have taken down 46 of the 55 completed events.

In fact, North Americans have won every single non-Hold ‘Em bracelet so far, 23 going to US players and the other two going to Canadians. 

a big result for Frenchman Alex Reard

Last week, however, there was a big result for Frenchman Alex Reard. The Unibet Poker ambassador outlasted 420 players to win $428,694 in the €5000 ($5,783) No Limit Hold ‘Em event, joining Lithuanian Karolis Sereika and Czech Dalibor Dula as the only European bracelet winners so far this series. 

With hordes of European players boarding flights to Las Vegas on November 8, is this a sign of things to come?

Shaun Deeb sets his sights on poker history

On Saturday night, Shaun Deeb defeated Ka Kwan Lau heads-up in Event #53 – the $25,000 PLO High Roller – for a tasty $1,251,860 top prize and his fifth bracelet. This is the second time he has emerged victorious in what is one of the tougher, elite field tournaments at the series. 

A terrific all-round poker player, Deeb has been in the mix for the last several WSOP POY races and with this result, he has jumped into contention once again, sitting in fourth position behind Ant Zinno, Jake Schwartz, and Phil Hellmuth.  

Deeb was in plucky form during his brief post-match interview, throwing down the gauntlet with the declaration that he is “gonna start multi-tabling,” adding: “You’re gonna see me firing pretty hard so it’s gonna be a battle.” He also made a bold prediction for the future: “I’m gonna pass Phil (Hellmuth) eventually… It’s gonna take me a decade or two but I’ll be there.” The Poker Brat was one of the first to congratulate Deeb.  

Bonyadi, Rast, and Yu each gain another bracelet

An old-school legend took center stage last week as Farzad Bonyadi, a 30-year veteran of tournament poker, came out victorious in the $10,000 Deuce to Seven Lowball Championship. For a while, it looked like Englishman Benny Glazer would close this one out, but in the end it was the wily Bonyadi who would win gold for the fourth time. 

Also adding to his impressive resume, Brian Rast won his fifth bracelet in the $3000 Six-Handed No Limit Hold’em tournament. The two-time $50,000 Poker Players’ Champion went wire-to-wire on the final table, coming in with a big chip lead and never relinquishing the advantage. 

Last night, Ben Yu defeated Nikita Kuznetsov heads-up for $721,453 and his fourth bracelet. His last WSOP win was back in 2018 when he took down the $50,000 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller.

‘La Marseillaise’ is music to Alex Reard’s ears

Bracelet ceremonies at the WSOP are an almost daily occurrence, which means that the Star-Spangled Banner has been echoing through the halls of the Rio almost as much as Ennio Morricone’s ‘The Ecstasy Of Gold.’

There was one notable exception last Thursday however, as ‘La Marseillaise’ blared loudly and proudly, accompanied by the vociferous French rail of Unibet Ambassador Alex Reard. 

The previous night, Reard won the $5000 No Limit Hold ‘Em 8-Handed event, pocketing $428,694 for his efforts. The talented Frenchman has two WSOP Circuit rings, but this is his first bracelet. 

In his post-match interview, he reflected on his feelings: “When I saw the river card, it was just an indescribable feeling. I was seeing my wife and all my friends crying and exulting on the rail. It’s such a sincere and strong moment… I really wanted and needed that bracelet. It’s not an outcome but more a beautiful step in my career, and I hope for many more.” 

The European invasion is coming November 9

Reard is only the third European of this year’s Live WSOP to win some wrist candy after Lithuanian Karolis Sereika and Czech Dalibor Dula. That is not a particularly surprising statistic given the travel ban which is still in effect until November 8. 

Americans may have dominated the WSOP 2021 thus far, but on November 9 there will be a European invasion, just in time for the last flight of the Main Event. A stampede of hungry poker pros who have been champing at the bit for over a month will descend on Las Vegas. The author is one such hungry poker pro. 

“Nous y trouverons leur poussière

Et la trace de leurs vertus

Et la trace de leurs vertus

Bien moins jaloux de leur survivre

Que de partager leur cercueil

Nous aurons le sublime orgueil

De les venger ou de les suivre.”

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