Russian poker pro Anatolii Zyrin won his second World Series of Poker bracelet Monday evening after defeating one of the largest fields of the 2021 WSOP.
He topped a 9,399-entry field to win $314,705 and bested Michael Lee heads-up in the $400 colossus no-limit hold’em. The score was the second largest of his career behind only his runner-up finish in a $5,300 no-limit hold’em at the 2019 Merit Poker Retro, which netted him $359,450.
The 31-year-old won his first bracelet at the last live WSOP. when he took down the $1,500 mixed Omaha for $199,838 in 2019. His most recent bracelet victory sent his career tournament earnings over the $2 million mark.
Even though his first bracelet was won in an event with 717 entries, Zyrin told WSOP live reporters after the tournament that his second win was more skillful than the first because of the huge field he waded through.
“The first one was more luck, but this one was won on skill,” said Zyrin. “I had to defeat such a large field. [It’s a] Really strange feeling when you win against more than 9,000 people.”
Along with the money and the bracelet, Zyrin picked up 528 points in the Card Player Player of the Year race. It brings him to 627 points for the year as this is his third final table of 2021. He finished sixth in the €2,200 pot-limit Omaha eight-max event at the WSOP International Circuit stop last September in the Czech Republic and scored a ninth-place finish in a prelim event at World Poker Tour Russia last February.
There were a whopping 49 players returning for the third and final day of the event, but with 40-minute levels, players dropped quickly, and the unofficial final table was reached less than six hours into the day. Zyrin started the 10-handed table near the middle of the pack, while everyone was chasing the eventual runner-up, Lee.
Lee extended that lead by eliminating Jeffrey Stellwagon in 10th with K-Q all in preflop against Stellwagon’s A-2. The queen on the river formed the official nine-handed final table.
Penh Lo was eliminated in ninth when he lost a flip against Eric Kim. The two were all in preflop with Lo’s 99 up against Kim’s AQ. A queen came on the flop and Lo never improved, which made him the final table’s first casualty.
About an orbit later, Lee got lucky to eliminate Vincas Tamasauskas in eighth. The two essentially were all in preflop with Tamasauskas raising to 32,000,000 of his 32,100,000 preflop and was called by Lee. He moved all in for his last chip on the 652 flop and was called.
Tamasauskas tabled AQ and was in great shape against Lee’s AJ. The 2 kept Tamasauskas in the lead, but the J came on the river to eliminate him in eighth.
Lee continued his heater and continued to pull away from the pack by scoring his second consecutive knockout. He sent Martin Gavasci home in seventh when there was yet another preflop all in with Gavasci’s AJ in big trouble against Lee’s AK. Unlike Lee in the prior elimination, Gavasci couldn’t spike a three-outer and busted in seventh.
Six-handed play was where Zyrin made his move to the top of the chip counts. He doubled through Lee with 4-4 against K-4 and then scored two knockouts of his own. Zyrin won a flip with AJ against Kim’s 1010 to eliminate Kim in sixth before knocking out a short-stacked David Ripley in fifth just a few hands later.
Kevin Rand eliminated Phuoc Nguyen in fourth with A-K against Nguyen’s A-10, which left the table three-handed, and with Rand and Zyrin neck-and-neck for the chip lead.
Zyrin picked off Rand’s river bluff to put some distance between the two larger stacks and then was the clear chip leader after Lee doubled through Rand with A-A against Rand’s A3.
Over the next level, Rand became the short stack and was eliminated by Zyrin. Rand moved all in on the button and was called by Zyrin in the small blind. Rand was in the lead with K9 against Zyrin’s QJ, but the Q108 put Zyrin out in front.
The turn was the 9, which gave Zyrin a straight and left Rand drawing to one of the remaining three jacks in the deck. Unfortunately for him, the 8 came on the river and he was out in third. Zyrin collected the chips and took a nearly 2-to-1 chip lead into heads-up play against Lee.
The two only battled for about 25 minutes before Zyrin officially won his second WSOP title.
On the river with a board of AJ8Q10, Zyrin check-raised all in with 52 and was called by Lee’s K2. Zyrin’s flush bested Lee’s Broadway and Lee left with $194,450 for his second-place finish.
Final Table Results:
Photo Credit: WSOP/Rachel Kay Miller