Germany’s Koray Aldemir Scores WSOP Main Event Title; Series Shifts to Vegas Strip in 2022

The World Series of Poker Main Event came to a close on Wednesday night with German poker pro Koray Aldemir coming out on top. He takes home $8 million and the gold bracelet after topping a field of 6,650 players.

“It felt great. It’s the biggest final table in the world, so it’s a dream come true,” he said after winning the title. “Probably every poker player thinks about this moment when they watch this, believing ‘maybe I could be there one day.’”

Aldemir made his dream a reality after securing the championship after nine days of long hours at the tables. After the WSOP was held mostly online in 2020 at and GGPoker, this year’s series continued bringing back live poker in a big way.

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Jack Oliver hits rail in 3rd

Getting to the title wasn’t easy. Despite bringing in a chip stack twice of his two opponents, Aldemir faced two tough players in the United Kingdom’s Jack Oliver and New Jersey’s George Holmes.

When play began, here’s how the chip stacks looked:

  • Aldemir – 264,600,000
  • Oliver – 77,300,000
  • Holmes – 57,400,000
Jack Oliver finished third in the WSOP Main Event. (photos courtesy PokerGO)

Oliver was the first player eliminated. After losing a few early pots and falling behind Holmes, he pushed the last of his 36 million chips in with A♣8♦ from the small blind. After some thought, George Holmes called from the bg blind with Q♠J♠.

A Jack landed on the turn, giving Holmes a pair and the pot when Oliver didn’t improve. The Englishman scored $3 million for third place and a great run through the Main Event.

Heads-up battle for the title

That elimination left Aldemir and Holmes battling for the title. The Oliver elimination pushed Holmes’ stack to 137.4 million. He still faced an uphill climb however, with Aldemir holding 262 million.

The matchup featured two completely different types of poker players. Aldemir is a poker pro and high roller regular with more than $13 million in live tournament winnings.

A recreational player, Holmes plays in a weekly home game with friends and has a regular job. Coming into the event, he had only one career tournament cash from the 2019 Main Event for $50,855.

Both had friends and family cheering them on throughout the matchup. Holmes’ wife was also on the rail. Seeing him on PokerGO was her first time seeing him play poker.

George Holmes battling heads-up with Koray Aldemir for the title.

The matchup featured plenty of back and forth play. Holmes went on a nice run early to cut deeply into Aldemir’s lead. He wasn’t afraid of making some big moves and an occasional bluff.

Closing out the battle

Later in the match, Holmes even took the chip lead. Aldemir never seemed to lose control or get shaken however. A seasoned pro, he waited for his own run of cards and was eventually rewarded.

In the final hand, Aldemir held a slight chip lead. Holmes put in a raise to 6 million with K♣Q♠ with Aldemir calling 10♦7♦.

He was in good shape when the flop came 10♥7♠2♥. Aldemir checked and Holmes again bet 6 million. Aldemir then showed some strength with a raise to 19 million.

Holmes called and both players saw a K♠ on the turn. Aldemir then put in a hefty bet of 36.5 million. Holmes thought just a bit and called with his pair of Kings. This brought the pot to more than 100 million.

The 9​​​♠ came on the river and Aldemir checked. Holmes’ all-in shove may have been unexpected and his 133 million went into the pot.

Despite holding two pairs, Aldemir faced a tough decision. Losing the hand meant he’d only have about 10 million chips left.  After some deep thought, he called and it was all over.

Holmes took home $4.3 million for second place and played well throughout the final table.

“Unbelievable, I still can’t put it into words,” Holmes said afterward. “It’s been a grueling week and a half. This guy was amazing, tough all night. Good game, well played.”

2021 WSOP Main Event results

  1. Koray Aldemir – $8,000,000
  2. George Holmes – $4,300,000
  3. Jack Oliver – $3,000,000
  4. Joshua Remitio – $2,300,000
  5. Ozgur Secilmis – $1,800,000
  6. Hye Park – $1,400,000
  7. Alejandro Lococo – $1,225,000
  8. Jareth East – $1,100,000

WSOP heading to Vegas Strip next year

The WSOP also made some other news this week. During Tuesday’s coverage on PokerGO, the WSOP announced that the festival would once again be played in the summer next year.

The WSOP will once again return to the summer, but is shifting to the Vegas Strip for the first time in its 53-year history. The series moves to the Bally’s and Paris properties on Las Vegas’s famed gaming and entertainment mecca.

Plans call for the series to run from May 31 to July 19 following a 17-year run at the Rio. Players won’t have to wait too long with only about six months until cards are back in the air.

Vince Vaughan takes the stage at the WSOp Main Event.

Vince Vaughan announced as new WSOP ambassador, master of ceremonies

Along with the new location announcement, WSOP officials also welcomed actor, comedian and card player Vince Vaughn on board this week. He’ll serve as a series ambassador and master of ceremonies for the 2022 series..

“As we approach the final table, we look back on yet another successful Main Event that exceeded expectations,” WSOP Vice President Ty Stewart said in a news release. “We are absolutely thrilled with this year’s turnout, both domestically and internationally. As we close out this chapter at the Rio, we are excited to have the iconic Vince Vaughn usher in a new era of WSOP at Bally’s and Paris next summer.”

On Tuesday, the star of “Wedding Crashers” and “Swingers” hit the stage to voice the official “shuffle up and deal.” He also joined the PokerGO broadcast team during the final table action.

Vaughn has been a regular card player for much of his life and plans on playing in the WSOP next summer.

“I have such a strong connection to Las Vegas and am honored to be selected as the master of ceremonies for what is set to be the most anticipated WSOP tournament ever,” Vaughn said. “Poker has long been one of my favorite sports, so to be a part of something as historic as the WSOP finally moving to the Strip is an absolute dream. Vegas Baby, Vegas!”

The full 2022 WSOP schedule is expected to be released in January.

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More WSOP tournaments continue

The Main Event may be over, but even more WSOP events are in the works. Players will find 10 events left on the schedule, including two online bracelet tournaments.

That includes one online tournament for players only on the Pennsylvania platform.

Thursday’s action sees an $800 NLHE Deepstack and the $250,000 Super High Roller kicking off. Check back to PokerScout next week for a look at some recent winners in other events.

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