Weekly Poker Update: July 6, 2021

Weekly Poker Update July 6, 2021 Andrew Moreno

The self-help experts all say that defining goals is a big part of personal growth. Most of us take a long time to reach those goals once we identify them.

For Andrew Moreno, he should set those goals more often because he has proven that he possesses a knack of achieving them in a hurry via Texas Hold’em success.

The poker pro penned a social media post a few months back talking about dedicating himself more to the game and trying to reach two thresholds: $1 million in career earnings and a single-tournament payout of at least a million.

He took care of the first when we won an event at The Venetian last month to jump into seven figures for career earnings. But the second goal seemed to be a bit more far-fetched.

After all, how many real money poker tournaments offer a million dollars for the win?

Luckily, he timed his hot streak at just the right time with the Wynn Millions tournament this week guaranteeing over $10 million in purse, generally considered to be the highest guarantee in Vegas poker history, with over $2 million scheduled to go to the winner.

Wynn-ing Big

Moreno weaved his way through the preliminary rounds, outlasting hundreds of competitors to make it to the final table on Saturday. But the odds were still stacked against him, as he sat seventh in the chip standings at the beginning of final table play.

He hung around for a while and scored some big wins after the field narrowed a bit to finally give himself a shot.

Pro Poker Player Clayton Maguire

Once play got down to the final three players, a purse-sharing agreement was agreed upon by Moreno—who had the top stack at that point—second-place Clayton Maguire, and third-place Toby Lewis.

The idea was to narrow the disparity in the purse structure between first and third place. Wynn officials agreed on it as long as there was still some incentive to play on, so the players agreed that 10% of the remaining purse would still be on the line.

Towards the end, Lewis was dispatched, and it came down to Moreno and Maguire. Benefitting from some good draws to help him come from behind in a pair of head-to-head races, Moreno became the last man standing.

After all the math was done, he walked away with over $1.4 million, meaning that the mission he set out for himself on that fateful social media post had been completely accomplished.

WSOP Online Returns

This past Thursday marked the beginning of the 2021 World Series of Poker Online series.

It makes the second year of the event. Last year, because most assumed a live event was out of the question, the online series was devised as a way for poker players to still get that WSOP buzz (and the big purses that go with it).

Of course, there ended up being a quasi-live Main Event that took place at the end of the year anyway, which caused some confusion in the poker ranks. After all, the WSOP had put a great deal of effort into talking up the online Main Event as being legitimate.

Then, they went and undercut it with another Main Event that seemed to contradict that view.

WSOP Online 2021 Banner

As for this year, the online series will be held with the knowledge that there will be a live Main Event and bracelet series coming up in September. Thus, this year’s online WSOP is clearly supplementary.

It could remain that way in the future, or it could actually be subsumed into the main WSOP as a kind of adjunct.

After all, one of the common opinions about online poker is that it requires an entirely different skill set than live poker tournaments where everybody congregates in the same room.

Thus, there is a scenario where the main WSOP bracelet series might include a few online events in the various disciplines. Only time will tell if that’s the way it will go in the future.

For now, we can be sure that the US version of the WSOP online will be taking place on August 1st via WSOP.com.

Players must once again be located in either New Jersey or Nevada to play. At that point, the international version of the WSOP online takes over for the month of August, while the official WSOP live events begin on September 30th and continue through November 23rd.

Hellmuth’s Surprising Next Opponent

Phil Hellmuth’s recent run of success in the High Stakes Duel format featured at PokerGo had many in the industry wondering whom he would be willing to take on next.

Will Hellmuth’s next challenger be another one of the guys who became famous alongside him at the start of the millennium, which would stay on brand after he recently dispatched Antonio Esfandiari and Daniel Negreanu?

Or would it be an up-and-comer who has made a name for themselves in recent years when the game, both in how it is played and the outlets where it is played, has changed so dramatically?

And the answer appears to be: neither of the above. This past week, Hellmuth teased a surprise opponent, and it turns out he wasn’t kidding.

The lucky opponent (or maybe unlucky opponent considering how hot Hellmuth is in the format) is Nick Wright. For those who might be scratching their heads, Wright is a sports talk show host at Fox Sports 1.

Wright is known to play recreationally, and he is scheduled to appear on the upcoming season of Poker After Dark.

Fox Sports Host Nick Wright

But to think that he would have a shot against Hellmuth is a bit far-fetched. Wright acknowledged as such when talking about the match this week, heaping praise on Helmuth while admitting he would be a monster underdog.

In previous High Stakes Duel matchups, losers had the opportunity to ask for up to two rematches, with the stakes doubling for each subsequent match.

That’s how Hellmuth ended up bagging $350,000 against both Esfandiari and Negreanu, as he swept them in three matches each of $50,000, then $100,000, and finally $200,000.

It seems unlikely that this match will go that far. Wright isn’t likely to cough up that much dough (after the initial 50 grand) in what seems like a hopeless proposition. Instead, look for a big-name pro to pick up the gauntlet after the first match and replace Wright.

Of course, there is also the possibility that Wright pulls off the massive upset. It would stem much of the momentum that Hellmuth has built up over the past year or so, as he has looked more and more unbeatable in the head-to-head format after six straight wins.

Stay Tuned for Hellmuth vs Wright at the Aria Las Vegas

Wright has a lot to gain and Hellmuth a lot to lose (reputation-wise, if not money-wise), so the pressure would seem to be firmly on the Poker Brat in this matchup.

We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out, as the event is scheduled for July 28th at the Aria Las Vegas, with PokerGo along to broadcast all the action. Maybe it will be the beginning of an entertaining series of matches between poker legends and famous wannabes.

Or maybe it will be a drubbing that makes everybody wonder what both sides were thinking when they thought up this match.

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