Nicolo Molinelli has won the 2021 World Series of Poker Online $2,500 buy-in limit hold’em championship. The Italian outlasted a field of 180 total entries in the event to secure his second WSOP bracelet and the top prize of $88.461. His first victory at the series came during last year’s inaugural WSOPO. Molinelli took down the $1,100 buy-in no-limit hold’em bounty six-max event for $243,415.
The top 31 finishers made the money in this event, with plenty of highly-accomplished names among those who cashed, including six-time bracelet winner Daniel Negreanu (29th – $4,063), Adam Owen (26th – $4,063), 2020 WSOPO bracelet winner Ranno Sootla (24th – $4,256), bracelet winner Luke Schwartz (23rd – $4,256), Dan Shak (22nd – $4,256), bracelet winner Justin Lapka (18th – $4,458), bracelet winner Daniel Dvoress (17th – $4,670), and 2019 WSOP main event runner-up Dario Sammartino (13th – $4,892).
The final table began with Molinelli in the lead, and another bracelet winner in Joao Vieira sitting in second chip position. Canadian poker pro and two-time bracelet winner Mark Radoja was the first to be eliminated. He began the day with the shortest stack, and got his last four big bets in with A-K ahead of the K-10 suited of Stanislav Kuvaev. The flop brought a ten to give Kuvaev a lead which he maintained through the river and Radoja settled for $8,846 as the ninth-place finisher.
Despite scoring that knockout, Kuvaev was the next to fall. He got all-in preflop with pocket sixes and was unable to hold against the A9 of Molinelli, who added to his lead when the A on the river earned him the pot. Kuvaev took home $11,796 for his eighth-place showing.
Joao Vieira had fallen from the top few spots to the bottom of the leaderboard during seven-handed play. His run at his second WSOP gold bracelet came to an end when his A3 for a gutshot straight draw ran into the pocket jacks of Alex Fortin-Demers. The Portuguese poker pro and current all-time online tournament earnings leader took home $15,731 as the seventh-place finisher.
Fortin-Demers continued his surge by eliminating Romain Dours in sixth place ($20,977). Fortin-Demers limped in with 87 from the small blind and called the raise to 240,000 from Dours, who held AK. The J77 flop gave Fortin-Demers trip sevens. He check-called the flop and the turn brought the A. Dours bet his last 144,000 when checked to with his aces and sevens with a king kicker. Fortin-Demers made the call to put Dours at risk. The Q was no help and the field was narrowed to just five contenders.
Vince Cavailles’ run in this event came to an end when his K6 failed to beat out the J8 of Nicolo Molinelli. Both players made a pair, but Molinelli’s eights were enough to send Cavailles to the rail in fifth place ($27,974).
With the betting limits having grown quite high, there were plenty of big swings during short-handed action. Despite a surge earlier at the final table, Fortin-Demers found himself as the shortest stack before the next key hand arose. He got the last of his chips in preflop with KQ facing the A5 of Brazil’s Renan Bruschi. Neither player improved and Fortin-Demers was sent to the virtual rail with $37,303.
Milos Petakovic was soon ground down to a short stack as well, with his last bets going in the middle with 92. Bruschi looked him up with A10, which remained the best hand after a 8633J runout. Petakovic was awarded $49,745 as the third-place finisher.
With that, Bruschi took just shy of 6.4 million in chips into heads-up play with Molinelli, who held 2.6 million. The tables quickly turned, with Molinelli dragging a sizable pot with a turned top pair to overtake the lead. Molinelli extended that advantage when his pair and a straight draw turned into a jack-high straight on the river, beating the aces and eights of Bruschi to leave the Brazilian with just over three big bets. The following hand saw Bruschi get all-in with Q6. Molinelli came along with 104, spiking a pair of tens on the flop to take a lead that he never relinquished. Bruschi earned $66,336 for his runner-up showing.
Here is a look at the payouts awarded at the final table:
Winner photo credit: PokerStars / Stomas Stacha.