WSOP 2021: Who are the Defending Champions of the Championship Events

October 05, 2021Matthew Pitt

2021 WSOP

$10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship – Frankie O’Dell$10,000 No Limit Hold’em Main Event – Hossein Ensan$10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship – Robert Campbell$10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship – John Hennigan$10,000 Razz Championship – Scott Seiver$10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship – Nick Schulman$10,000 No Limit Hold’em 6-Handed Championship – Anuj Agarwal$10,000 No Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw Championship – Jim Bechtel$10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship – Juha Helppi$10,000 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw Championship – Luke Schwartz$10,000 Heads Up No Limit Hold’em Championship – Sean Swingruber$10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship – Greg Mueller$10,000 Dealers Choice 6-Handed Championship – Adam Friedman

The $10,000 buy-in events at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) are considered Championship Events. These big buy-in tournaments attract the very best poker players in the world, which leads to the tournaments being considered more prestigious. Winning a WSOP Championship Event is no mean feat; you do not take one down through luck alone.

The first $10,000 Championship Event of the 2021 WSOP got underway yesterday with Event #9: $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship attracting 126 players. With that tournament about to shuffle up and deal, PokerNews takes a look back at the reigning Championship Event champions, and where better to start than with the 2019 $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo.

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$10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship – Frankie O’Dell

Frankie O'DellFrankie O’Dell

Frankie O’Dell came out on top of a 183-strong field in 2019 to win his third WSOP bracelet. It was also his third bracelet in an Omaha Hi-Lo event, with him having won a $1,500 buy-in vent in 2003 and a $2,000 buy-in event in 2007.

O’Dell defeated Owais Ahmed heads-up to secure the $443,641 top prize after contending with the likes of Robert Mizrachi, Robert Campbell, David Benyamine, and Shaun Deed at the final table.

PlacePlayerCountryPrize1Frankie O’DellUnited States$443,6412Owais AhmedUnited States$274,1923Robert MizrachiUnited States$194,8504Nick GuagentiUnited States$140,5225Robert CampbellAustralia$102,8686Jake SchwartzUnited States$76,4567David BenyamineFrance$57,7098Edmond VartughianUnited States$44,2459Shaun DeebUnited States$34,467

$10,000 No Limit Hold’em Main Event – Hossein Ensan

Hossein EnsanHossein Ensan

Of course, the biggest Championship Event of any WSOP is the Main Event. Last year’s Main Event was an online/live hybrid, but 2019 saw 8,569 players exchange $10,000 at the cage of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino and create a monster-sized $80,548,600 prize pool.

Germany’s Hossein Ensan got his hands on the lion’s share of the pot, namely $10 million, after defeating Italian high-stakes guru Dario Sammartino heads-up; Sammartino collected $6 million for his runner-up finish.

The Main Event, however, was perhaps best remembered for Garry Gates’ impressive fourth-place finish. Gates has been part of the poker media for many years and had the entire community in his corner. Gates’ run ended in fourth, a finish worth $3 million.

PlacePlayerCountryPrize1Hossein EnsanGermany$10,000,0002Daario SammartinoItaly$6,000,0003Alexander LivingstonCanada$4,000,0004Garry GatesUnited States$3,000,0005Kevin MaahsUnited States$2,200,0006Zhen CaiUnited States$1,850,0007Nick MarchingtonUnited Kingdom$1,525,0008Timothy SuUnited States$1,250,0009Milos SkrbicSerbia$1,000,000

$50,000 Poker Players Championship – Phil

Phil Hui


While the Main Event is the WSOP Championship Event for the people, the $50,000 Poker Players Championship is most certainly the event for the pros. It commands a buy-in of $50,000, which 74 players paid in 2019.

Main Event runner-up Dario Sammartino went deep but busted in ninths, with Phil Ivey and David Oppenheim crashing out in eighth and seventh place respectively. It was Phillip Hui who was the last man standing, and he got his hands on his second bracelet and 1,099,311 in cash, by far his largest-ever score.

PlacePlayerCountryPrize1Phil HuiUnited States$1,099,3112Josh AriehUnited States$679,4263John EspositoUnited States$466,4074Bryce YockeyUnited States$325,9895Shaun DeebUnited States$232,0586Daniel CatesUnited States$168,305

$10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship – Robert Campbell

Robert CampbellRobert Campbell

Australian Robert Campbell won the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo event, which helped him become the 2019 WSOP Player of the Year. Campbell overcame 150 opponents, including Mike Matusow at the final table, to win $385,763.

It was Campbell’s second bracelet of the series having won the $1,500 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw event a fortnight earlier.

PlacePlayerCountryPrize1Robert CampbellAustralia$385,7632Yueqi ZhuUnited States$238,4203Mike WattelUnited States$164,6474Mike MatusowUnited States$116,2555Ryan HughesUnited States$83,9716Qinghai PanUnited States$62,0797Andrey ZhigalovRussia$46,999

$10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship – John Hennigan

John HenniganJohn Hennigan

John “World” Hennigan has an almost supernatural ability to win big buy-in events. He is the reigning $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship champion after he took it down in 2019 for $245,451. Hennigan defeated Daniel Negreanu heads-up in that tournament as he won his sixth WSOP bracelet.

Three of Hennigan’s other bracelets have come in Championship events. He won the $50,000 Poker Players Championship (2014), the $10,000 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball (2016), and the $10,000 H.OR.S.E (2018). Do not bet against Hennigan winning another $10,000+ event in 2021.

PlacePlayerCountryPrize1John HenniganUnited States$245,4512Daniel NegreanuCanada$151,7003David “ODB” BakerUnited States$104,4164Michael SemenovRussia$73,8105David SingerUnited States$53,6216Chris TrybaUnited States$40,0667Frank KasselaUnited States$30,8178Frankie O’DellUnited States$30,817

$10,000 Razz Championship – Scott Seiver

Scott SeiverScott Seiver

Scott Seiver has two WSOP Championship event titles to his name. Seiver won the $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship in 2018 and followed that up with the $10,000 Razz bracelet in 2019.

Seiver came out on top of a tough final table in the $10,000 Razz in 2019, a table that housed such luminaries as David Bach, Andre Akkari, Daniel Negreanu, and Chris “Jesus” Ferguson.

PlacePlayerCountryPrize1Scott SeiverUnited States$301,4212Andrey ZhigalovRussia$186,2933Chris FergusonUnited States$131,1944Daniel ZackUnited States$94,3055Daniel NegreanuCanada$69,2236Andrew AkkariBrazil$51,9117David BachUnited States$39,788

$10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship – Nick Schulman

Nick SchulmanNick Schulman

The 2019 edition of the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo event attracted 193 players, including Nick Schulman. It was Schulman who accumulated all the chips in play and who scooped the $463,670 top prize.

Schulman found himself three-handed against former WSOP Main Event champion Joe Hachem and Brian Hastings. Neither posed a threat as Schulman came out on top to win his third bracelet; his other two both came in the$10,000 NL 2-7 Lowball Championship events.

PlacePlayerCountryPrize1Nick SchulmanUnited States$463,6702Brian HastingsUnited States$286,5703Joe HachemAustralia$201,0414Denis StrebkovRussia$143,7005Christopher VitchUnited States$104,6886Corey HochmanUnited States$77,7637Michael McKennaUnited States$58,9188Bryce YockeyUnited States$45,551

$10,000 No Limit Hold’em 6-Handed Championship – Anuj Agarwal

Anuj AgarwalAnuj Agarwal

Anuj Agarwal had cashed a couple of times in WSOP events before 2019 but those results, with all due respect, were not anything to write home about. That changed when Agarwal bought into the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Championship 6-Handed event alongside 271 others. Three days after parting company with a five-figure buy-in Agarwal beat Australia’s Kahle Burns heads-up to become a WSOP champion.

The victory came with $630,747 and, of course, a coveted WSOP bracelet.

PlacePlayerCountryPrize1Anuj AgarwalUnited States$630,7472Kahle BurnsAustralia$389,8323Gal YifrachUnited States$257,5334Leonard MaueGermany$174,2525Dong ChenChina$120,8286Ben HeathUnited Kingdom$85,915

$10,000 No Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw Championship – Jim Bechtel

Jim BechtelJim Bechtel

Jim Bechtel finished fourth in the 2006 $50,000 HO.R.S.E. event for $549,120 and then we hardly saw him until the 2019 WSOP. Bechtel appeared in the $10,000 No Limit 2-7 Lowball Championship where he muscled his way through the 91-strong field to emerge victoriously to secure the $253,817 top prize.

Bechtel had to contend with Galen Hall, Paul Volpe, Jean-Robert Bellande, Prahlad Friedman, and Darren Elias at the final table, but still managed to get the job done.

PlacePlayerCountryPrize1Jim BechtelUnited States$253,8172Vince MussoUnited States$156,8723Darren EliasUnited States$109,7384Prahlad FriedmanUnited States$78,1575Jean-Robert BellandeUnited States$56,6936Pedro BromfmanUnited States$41,8977Paul VolpeUnited States$31,5568Galen HallUnited States$24,232

$10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship – Juha Helppi

Juha HelppiJuha Helppi

Finland’s Juha Helppi came close to winning a WSOP Championship event in 2015 but fell in fifth place in the $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller. Helppi isn’t known for his fixed limit prowess, but you would never have known because he won the 2019 $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship.

Helppi went on to win another championship event in 2020. The Finn triumphed in the $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha Championship online at GGPoker for an additional $290,286.

PlacePlayerCountryPrize1Juha HelppiFinland$306,6222Mike LancasterCanada$189,5053Tam HangUnited States$133,7184Anthony MarsicoUnited States$96,2725Kevin SongUnited States$70,7506Josh AriehUnited States$53,0957Kyle RayUnited States$40,7098Qinghai PanUnited States$31,9029Robert ComoUnited States$25,566

$10,000 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw Championship – Luke Schwartz

Luke SchwartzLuke Schwartz

The United Kingdom’s Luke Schwartz is known for his table trash talk more than he is his poker ability, and he likes it that way because his brash attitude masks a talented poker player.

Schwartz finished fourth in the 2012 edition of the $50,000 Poker Players Championship. He made amends for not winning that particular tournament by taking down the $10,000 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw Championship in 2019.

This was Schwartz’s first bracelet win. He had to defeat George Wolff heads-up to get his hands on it, but it was never in doubt in Schwartz’s mind.

PlacePlayerCountryPrize1Luke SchwartzUnited Kingdom$273,3362George WolffUnited States$168,9363Johannes BeckerGermany$116,236 4Mark GregorichUnited States$81,6355Yueqi ZhuUnited States$58,5476Calvin AndersonUnited States$42,898

$10,000 Heads Up No Limit Hold’em Championship – Sean Swingruber

Sean SwingruberSean Swingruber

Sean Swingruber had never cashed in a live WSOP event before he headed to Las Vegas in 2019. Swingruber is usually found playing low-to-mid-stakes tournaments, so it was a surprise to see him buy into the $10,000 No Limit Hold’em Heads-Up event. He went on to defeat Ben Yu in the final round, and walked away with $186,356 and a piece of poker’s most sought after jewelry.

PlacePlayerCountryPrize1Sean SwingruberUnited States$186,3562Ben YuUnited States$115,1743Lance GarciaUnited States$73,3334Keith LehrUnited States$73,333

$10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship – Greg Mueller

Greg MuellerGreg Mueller

Canada’s Greg Mueller won two WSOP bracelets in 2009, including the $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship. He waited another decade before banking his third bracelet, but it was worth the wait.

Mueller showcased his mixed game skills in the 2019 $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship, and bulldozed his way to victory, leaving the likes pf Phil Galfond, Scott Clements, Dario Sammartino, and runner-up Daniel Ospina in his wake.

PlacePlayerCountryPrize1Greg MuellerCanada$425,3472Daniel OspinaColombia$262,8823Dario SammartinoItaly$184,8544Scott ClementsUnited States$132,2885Craig ChaitUnited States$93,6786Michael SemenovRussia$71,5057Matthew GonzalesUnited States$54,0438Phil GalfondUnited States$41,625

$10,000 Dealers Choice 6-Handed Championship – Adam Friedman

Champion Adam FriedmanAdam Friedman

Ohio’s Adam Friedman has a trio of WSOP bracelets to his name, two coming from Championship events. Friedman won the $10,000 Dealers Choice in 2018 and followed that up with a victory in the same event in 2019!

There is a $10,000 Dealer’s Choice on October 18, 2021. Friedman couldn’t go back-to-back-to-back, could he?

PlacePlayerCountryPrize1Adam FriedmanUnited States$312,4172Shaun DeebUnited States$193,0903Matt GlantzUnited States$139,1264David MoskowitzUnited States$100,4405Michael McKennaUnited States$72,6536Nick SchulmanUnited States$52,656

Author: Elmer Lee