Germany’s Koray Aldemir has been crowned the 2021 World Series of Poker Main Event champion, cementing his place in poker history with his first-ever Main Event gold bracelet win on Wednesday after an exciting final table showdown.

Aldemir was officially announced as the 52nd WSOP World Champion following 12 days of poker action at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, in Las Vegas. On his route to winning his first Main Event, he overcame 6,650 participants from all over the world.

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On Wednesday night, which boasted $8 million in prize winnings, Aldemir also took home the highly coveted Main Event bracelet, a 10k yellow and white gold bracelet encrusted with 2,230 rubies, and white and black diamonds.

“It felt great. It’s the biggest final table in the world, so it’s a dream come true,” said Aldemir after his 2021 Main Event win. “Probably every poker player thinks about this moment when they watch this, believing ‘maybe I could be there one day’.”

Aldemir first came onto the professional poker scene in 2012 and, up until today’s $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event win, had amassed over $12 million in total earnings. 

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During the Main Event’s last night, Aldemir faced two other finalists, Jack Oliver and George Holmes, for the chance at the World Champ title. Oliver was the first to be left out of the competition, leaving Holmes and Aldemir to go head-to-head into the evening.

After about six and a half hours of trading hands, the intense face-off culminated in Aldemir claiming the 2021 WSOP World Championship title on hand 223. The Final hand started with Aldemir calling Holmes’ 6,000,000 and ended with Holmes all in for 133,000,000; and Aldemir winning with two pairs of tens and sevens.

“This year’s Main Event has exceeded expectations across the board,” reflected World Series of Poker Senior Vice President, Ty Stewart. “To see five countries represented at the 2021 Final Table was amazing, and after a classic battle, we’re looking forward to raising Koray’s banner this summer at Bally’s on the Strip.”

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The 53rd annual World Series of Poker tournament will be held for the first time at the Las Vegas Strip inside Caesars Entertainment’s Bally’s and Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, from May 31 to July 19, 2022.

The full WSOP schedule is expected to be published in January and will build upon the event’s successful 17-year run at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino at an all-new location. Featuring a comprehensive slate of tournaments in every major poker variation, the WSOP is poker’s longest-running tournament in the world, dating back to 1970.

This year, the World Series of Poker returned as a live, in-person to Las Vegas for its 52nd annual event after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Caesars Entertainment-hosted event required all players, spectators, vendors and media to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 for this edition.

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