The 2021 World Poker Tour Rock’N’Roll Poker Open $3,500 buy-in main event attracted a total of 1,566 entries, the largest field in its history. The big turnout to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood saw the event’s $2 million guarantee easily surpassed, with $5,011,200 in total prize money ultimately paid out among the top 196 finishers. In the end, Lithuania’s Gediminas Uselis came away with the title and the largest payday awarded in the tournament: $778,490.
This was the largest score of his career, blowing away the $325,428 he earned for overcoming a 1,341-entry field in the Mid-States Poker Tour Venetian $1,600 main event in late October. Uselis has secured three six-figure tournament cashes in his career, with the other being the $227,186 he earned alongside his first bracelet for winning the $400 buy-in World Series of Poker Online no-limit hold’em ‘Forty Stack’ event in 2020.
Uselis was awarded 1,620 Card Player Player of the Year points for his latest victory. His two titles won in large-field no-limit hold’em main events were enough to propel him up the rankings and into 41st place in the 2021 POY race, which is sponsored by Global Poker.
After two starting flights and three more days of action, the sizable field in this tournament had been narrowed to just six remaining hopefuls. Harout Ghazarian held the chip lead to start, with Uselis sitting in fourth chip position when cards got in the air.
The very first hand of the day resulted in the first elimination. Anshul Raigot all-in with his A-K leading against the A-Q of Ghazarian, but the flop gave Ghazarian aces and queens to turn the tables. Rai was unable to improve on the turn or river and was knocked out in sixth place ($170,835).
Clayton Maguire was the next to hit the rail. On the 20th hand of the day, he limped in from the small blind with pocket eights and called the shove from Selahaddin Bedir out of the big blind. Bedir showed A-4, which improved to a pair of aces on the flop and held from there to narrow the field to four. Maguire earned $211,925 as the fifth-place finisher.
Despite earning that knockout, Bedir was ultimately the next player to be eliminated. The Turkish player had a massive run at the Super High Roller Bowl Europe festival earlier this year, with three final-table finishes, a title, and more than $1.5 million in earnings secured in the span of less than a week. He got all-in preflop in this event with 76 and ran into the AK of Jacob Ferro. Neither player improved and Bedir was sent home with $282,380 for his fourth-place showing. He now has nearly $1.9 million in POY earnings on the year.
Harout Ghazarian’s final hand was a battle of the blinds. He limped in with pocket deuces and Uselis raised to 1.3 million with pocket kings. Ghazarian limp-reraised all-in for 12.2 million and was met with a snap-call. The larger pocket pair held up to send Ghazarian packing in third place. He earned a career-high payday of $380,000 for his deep run.
With that heads-up play began with Uselis just a few big blinds behind Ferro. The last two players only had to battle it out for 18 hands before the tournament reached its conclusion. A preflop cooler saw all of the chips rush into the middle. Ferro raised from the button with JJ and Uselis three-bet to 3.3 million with QQ. Ferro shoved for 17.5 million and Uselis made a quick call. The board ran out KQJ62 and Uselis’ superior set secured him the pot and the title. Ferro earned $573,605 as the runner-up finisher.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded to the final six:
|Place||Player||Earnings (USD)||POY Points|
winner photo credit: WPT / Joe Giron.