Posted on: November 18, 2021, 10:02h. 

Last updated on: November 18, 2021, 11:17h.

The 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event is over, and 31-year-old Koray Aldemir from Germany was the last man standing.

World Series of Poker Korey Aldemir
Koray Aldemir shows off the most coveted World Series of Poker bracelet after winning the 2021 Main Event. The German is $8 million richer after besting 6,650 entrant buy-ins. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Late Wednesday night, Aldemir, who had only regained the lead over his heads-up opponent George Holmes during the 219th to 222nd hands, won it all on the 223rd and final hand.

With the blinds at 1.2/2.4 million and 2.4 million big blind ante, Holmes raised six million with pocket king-queen. Aldemir called with 10-7 suited.

10-7-2 came on the flop, prompting Aldemir to raise to 19 million. Holmes called, and when the turn was a king, the American shoved all-in for 133 million. After much deliberation, Aldemir called. The river 9 card did nothing for either’s hand.

Aldemir’s two pairs topped Holmes’ pair of kings to win the 2021 Main Event and the tournament’s $8 million top prize. For his efforts, Holmes won $4.3 million.

It felt great. It’s the biggest final table in the world, so it’s a dream come true. Every poker player thinks about this moment when they watch this, believing ‘maybe I could be there one day,’” Aldemir said afterward.

“[This is] the one tournament family and friends know of, basically. It does mean a lot to me to win it,” Aldemir added.

One of Germany’s Best

With his $8 million cash — his (it should go without saying) best live performance of his career — Aldemir moves into 8th place in Germany’s all-time money list. The monumental win also pushes him up to 67th in the world’s all-time poker live cash list.

Prior to Wednesday’s victory, Aldemir’s largest live cash, according to the online poker database TheHendonMob, was the $2.154 million that he received for placing 3rd at the 2016 WSOP $111,111 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller for One Drop charity event.

Aldemir has enjoyed a fruitful 2021 WSOP. Including the Main Event, he’s recorded 13 cashes during this year’s tournament series, totaling $8,049,309.

Main Event Momentum

The 2021 WSOP saw live poker return to Las Vegas after a year off because of the pandemic. Though Main Event participation was down from 2019, organizers are optimistic that poker is as popular as ever.

The numbers, however, cause concern. The $10,000 buy-in Main Event peaked in 2006 in terms of entries with 8,773 buy-ins. The 2021 event, the 52nd in its rich history, received 6,650 buy-ins, more than 24 percent lower than the record. But COVID-19 restricted many international players from competing in the 2021 Main Event. The US government earlier this month began allowing commercial airliners from Europe and elsewhere to arrive in the states.

The 2019 ME also attracted 8,569 — nearly matching the 2006 record — and saw the grand prize return to $10 million for the first time since 2014.

After being contested at the Rio since 2005, the WSOP is moving to the Strip, where the 2022 series will be played at Bally’s and Paris. The Main Event is also bringing in some A-list talent by way of Vince Vaughn, who will serve as the event’s official Master of Ceremonies.



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