Adam Friedman Wins Third Consecutive World Series of Poker $10,000 Dealer’s Choice Title

Adam Friedman wrote his name in the poker history books in the early morning hours of Thursday, Oct. 21. The 39-year-old defeated all-time World Series of Poker title leader Phil Hellmuth heads-up to win the $10,000 buy-in Dealer’s Choice championship for the third consecutive year. With a winning 9-6 badugi hand, Friedman took down the final pot of the tournament to deny Hellmuth his record-furthering 17th gold bracelet and secure his fourth overall career bracelet. Friedman now has the distinction of being the first-ever back-to-back-to-back winner of a tournament at the WSOP in its 52-year history.

Friedman first won this event in the summer of 2018. He successfully defended his title in 2019 and was set to try for the threepeat in 2020, but the in-person WSOP was postponed and eventually canceled due to the live poker shutdown for much of last year that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. The WSOP returned to Las Vegas this year, but began months later than normal.

“I’ve waited 28 months to play this tournament, with the pandemic and the delay this year, ” Friedman said moments after achieving his historic victory. “All I kept saying was ‘just get me to day 2, I just want a chance.’ I don’t need to win this tournament. I’ve got nothing to prove. I’ve got literally nothing to prove. It was just a pure challenge, to see if I could do it.”

“This event is so much different from every other $10,000 event [at the series],” said Freidman, who was clearly very passionate about the Dealer’s Choice event. “People that play this tournament, they want to play it again and again. It’s soo addicting, there are so many games that we don’t usually get to play in tournaments, there are so many different thought processes and strategies that don’t exist in any other event. You have to be thinking about so many things from the moment you sit down on day 1, all the way through the end. It’s just such a unique tournament.”

Phil Hellmuth heads-up in the 2021 WSOP $10,000 Dealer's ChoiceFriedman started as one of 93 entries in this event. First, he survived to day 2. Then day 3. Then the official final table. Then he was heads-up, facing the all-time bracelet leader just a few days after he had secured his record 16th title at the series.

“I simply out-carded Phil. He played great the entire time I played with him,” said Friedman. “I picked off a couple of his bluffs in spots where I was pretty sure he was bluffing.”

Friedman earned $248,350 for the win, increasing his career tournament earnings to more than $3.3 million. He also earned 540 Card Player Player of the Year points as the champion of this event. This was his first-POY qualified score of 2021. This event awarded PokerGO Tour ranking points as well. The 248 points he earned were enough to put him in 77th place in the tour’s overall standings.

Friedman came into the final day virtually tied for the chip lead with Jake Schwartz, who had finished runner-up to Hellmuth just days earlier in the $1,500 deuce-to-seven lowball no-limit event. Of the ten players to start the day, eight were bracelet winners and five had multiple titles at the series under their belts. Six-time bracelet winner Daniel Negreanu hit the rail in ninth place ($25,741), and two-time WSOP winner Mike Gorodinsky (8th – $25,741) to set up the unofficial final table of seven.

Friedman and Schwartz chopped a badacey pot to eliminate Matt Glantz in seventh place ($32,746) to remain the two leaders as the official final table got underway. Bracelet winner Andrew Kelsall was the next to fall. He lost two key razz pots to hit the rail, with his nine low bested by an eight low for four-time bracelet winner Mike Matusow in his final hand. Kelsall earned $42,646 for his sixth-place showing.

Despite earning that knockout, Matusow was still among the shorter stacks at the table. he got the last of his chips in playing badugi. Hellmuth made an 8Spade Suit3Diamond Suit2Heart SuitAClub Suit after two draws. Matusow was drawing live with his 7Spade Suit4Club SuitAHeart Suit, but was unable to hit a low diamond and was eliminated in fifth place. The four-time bracelet winner took home $56,826.

2015 $1,500 buy-in Dealer’s Choice event winner Carol Fuchs’ run in this event came to an end while playing pot-limit triple draw deuce-to-seven lowball. Fuchs made a 9-8, but was up against a 7-6 low for Friedman. She hit the rail in fourth place with $77,437 in prize money.

Jake Schwartz chooses a game for the final three

Friedman entered three-handed play as the shortest stack. Hellmuth held the lead early on and extended it further by busting Jake Schwartz in third place ($107,861). Schwartz was at his third final table of the year, having finished third in the $1,000 Flip & Go and second in the $1,500 deuce-to-seven lowball won by Hellmuth just a few days earlier. Schwartz was knocked out in badacey, with his J-10 low and J-9 badugi scooped by Hellmuth’s 10-7 low and badugi.

With that, Hellmuth took roughly a 7:4 lead into heads-up play with Friedman. The two battled it out for more than two hours. Friedman battled his way into the lead midway through, extending his advantage with a few big calls. He picked off a bluff from Hellmuth in no-limit deuce-to-seven single draw with an A-J low, beating Hellmuth’s paired hand. The final hand of the event came while playing badugi. Hellmuth raised on the button and Friedman made it three bets to go. Hellmuth four-bet all in and Friedman called. Both players stayed pat for all three possible draws, and Friedman rolled over 9Heart Suit6Spade Suit5Club Suit2Diamond Suit. the Poker Hall of Famer mucked and was eliminated as the runner-up, earning $153,493 for his fifth final-table finish of the 2021 WSOP.

Here is a look at the payouts and rankings points awarded at the final table:

Place Player Earnings POY Points PokerGO
1 Adam Friedman $248,350 540 248
2 Phil Hellmuth $153,493 450 153
3 Jake Schwartz $107,861 360 108
4 Carol Fuchs $77,437 270 77
5 Mike Matusow $56,826 225 57
6 Andrew Kelsall $42,646 180 43




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