Poker has a new world champion, and it’s Koray Aldemir. Aldemir topped the 6,650-entry field in the 2021 WSOP Main Event to win the championship gold bracelet and $8,000,000 in prize money.
A 31-year-old poker professional born in Germany and residing in Austria, Aldemir now has more than $20,000,000 in career live tournament earnings after winning the 2021 World Series of Poker Main Event.
“No, I didn’t think that,” Aldemir said of the idea of ever winning the WSOP Main Event. “I kind of had the idea of winning player of the series once because I’m just starting in mixed games and to have a Player of the Year banner, but I never expected to have a Main Event banner. It’s incredible.”
|2021 WSOP Main Event Final Table Results
Aldemir was the most experienced player to reach the WSOP Main Event final table, coming in as a regular on the high roller scene with more than $12,300,000 in winnings on his résumé.
Aldemir got his start in poker in 2006 when, according to him, he first played on New Year’s Eve. He won on that first occasion and then decided to start playing online poker freerolls.
“I always liked playing games,” Aldemir told PokerGO about his start in the game. “I played chess early on. I wasn’t that good but I liked it. I enjoy card games, too. At some point, I started playing poker. I started playing a bit online and I met some people there. Step by step, I got into it more. I love the game. In 2014, I started playing even more.”
He’s come a long way from grinding the Hubble Freeroll on PokerStars to competing in the biggest tournaments in the world, including those held inside the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas where he won a $50,000 buy-in tournament at the 2019 U.S. Poker Open for $738,000.
It was a dominating performance for Aldemir, who had the chip lead after Day 5 of the 2021 WSOP Main Event when 96 players remained. He was fifth out of 36 players following Day 6, and then he entered the final table with the lead and never looked back. Aldemir’s lead throughout the final table was a big one throughout and it never appeared that he was going to fall from the top of the mountain.
At the final table, Aldemir eliminated Holmes in second place, Ozgur Secilmis in fifth place, Hye Park in sixth place, and Alejandro Lococo in seventh place, and the elimination of Lococo was an enormous one as Lococo was second in chips at the time.
On the hand he busted Lococo on, the blinds were 500,000/1,000,000 with a 1,000,000 big blind ante. Lococo opened with a raise to 2,000,000 from middle position and then Aldemir three-bet to 5,600,000 from the cutoff seat. Lococo made the call and the dealer presented a jack-jack-nine flop with two clubs. Lococo checked, Aldemir fired 3,900,000, and the Argentinian rapper called. The turn was the eight of hearts and Lococo checked. Aldemir didn’t slow down and bet 11,400,000. Lococo called again and the river was the three of diamonds. After Lococo checked, Aldemir took about a minute and a half before he bet enough to put Lococo all in. Lococo didn’t waste much time to call all in for 46,100,000 and did so with two pair having pocket tens in his hand. Unfortunately for him, Lococo had flopped a full house with pocket nines in his hand and it was the end of the line for the man widely known as “Papo MC.”
That hand with Lococo gave Aldemir more than 200,000,000 in chips, which was more than 52% of the chips in play at the 2021 WSOP Main Event final table.
After busting Lococo, Aldemir eliminated Hye Park in sixth place and then Ozgur Secilmis in fifth place to further extend his lead at the final table.
Joshua Remitio eventually busted in fourth place, and after that play ended for the night with three players remaining and Aldemir still in a commanding chip position.
Holmes came into the final day of play as the shortest stack, but he came out swinging early on and started to chip up early. While Aldemir maintained his lead, Holmes jumped ahead of Jack Oliver to push Oliver to the shortest stack of the three. Eventually, Oliver was the one to bust in third place and it was Holmes who knocked him out.
Oliver moved all in for 35,700,000 with the blinds at 1,000,000/2,000,000 with a 2,000,000 big blind ante. He had shoved from the small blind. Holmes called from the big blind after some thought. Oliver had ace-eight off suit and Holes had queen-jack of spades. Holmes hit a jack on the turn to win the hand and bust Oliver in third place.
The final duel came down to Aldemir and George Holmes, and it was a battle. Holmes began the heads-up match behind Aldemir in chips but he fought back to even and even held the chip lead for some time.
“He was really, really tough,” Aldemir said of his heads-up opponent, George Holmes. “I didn’t expect that at first but he played great. He put us in spots, not only against me, but against the other players. He made good bluffs, made good folds. As you could tell, it was really tough. I had the chip lead to start with and he grinded me down. Then I had to fight really hard to beat him.”
To begin heads-up play, Aldemir had 261,900,000 in chips to Holmes’ 137,400,000. For Holmes, he was a far cry from the less-than-two-big-blind stack he had on Day 7. Despite losing the chip lead during heads-up play, Aldemir stayed the course and finally came out on top around 8:30 p.m. PT.
The final hand came when the blinds were 1,200,000/2,400,000 with a 2,400,000 big blind ante. Holmes raised on the button to 6,000,000 and Aldemir made the call. The flop came down ten-seven-two with two hearts and Aldemir checked. Holmes bet 6,000,000 and Aldemir check-raised to 19,000,000. Holmes called. The turn was the king of spades, putting two spades on board to go along with the two hearts. Aldemir bet 36,500,000 after nearly two minutes of thought. Holmes made the call and the nine of clubs came on the river. Aldemir checked and with the pot at 125,400,000, Holmes moved all in for 133,000,000. Aldemir went into the tank for what was nearly three minutes. Eventually, Aldemir called with ten-seven of diamonds for two pair. Holmes had king-queen for just a pair of kings and that was it, Aldemir was the champion.