The international portion of the 2021 World Series of Poker Online Bracelet Events has kicked off with a bang. Within the first two events, three Natural8 players have reached the final tables and the first $10,000 Team Bling sponsorship has been triggered!
None other than partypoker pro Joao Simao has won his maiden gold bracelet and joined an elusive list of countrymen. He has become the 10th Brazilian to join the winner’s circle for poker’s most sought after prize. And by earning the victory on Asia’s largest online poker site, Simao has unlocked a live event package courtesy of Natural8.
Read more about the deep runs of the three Natural8 contenders below.
Two Natural8 players on the Final Table of Event #1 The Return
It would have almost been two for two right out of the gates, as Vietnam’s Cuong “CLVT” Trinh narrowly missed out on the gold bracelet in Event #1 The Return. One year ago, Brazil’s Marcelo Jakovljevic Pudla became the first of eight Team Bling members by taking down the opening event. The story one year later was equally incredible for Trinh, who navigated through the minefields in a field of 30,810 entries for the $50 buy-in.
For the player from Vietnam, the journey ended in second place for a massive payday of $161,110.54. And he was joined on the final table by fellow Natural8 player Neville “NevSlater” Costa, who finished in 8th place for $21,483.43. Costa was one of three Brazilians on the final table and cemented the ambitions of the poker’s powerhouse nation from South America.
The event drew 24,587 unique players and 6,223 re-entries for a field of 30,810 entries, which sailed past the $1 million guarantee. Only 3,584 players survived their starting days to remain in contention for a portion of the $1,417,260 prize pool. The top 1,600 finishers on Day 2 finished in the money and it took fewer than one hour to burst the bubble.
GGPoker Team Russia member Anatoly Filatov crashed out in 647th place and last year’s WSOP Online bracelet winner Christian Rudolph fell just outside of the top 100. Ami Barer, Ramon Kropmanns, Mike Leah and Juan Pardo Dominguez made it further but fell prior to the final three tables.
Russia’s Sergey “sit_boom777” Sitnikov entered the final table as the chip leader ahead of Costa, who never got much going. The Natural8 player then succumbed in a battle of the blinds when his flopped flush draw and turned open-ender didn’t get there against a king-high straight. Subsequently, Sitnikov fell in 7th place while Germany’s Alexander “OMGWTF!!” Jung laddered all the way to 5th place for $50,45.34.
Trinh took over the lead in four-handed play from Ivan “GangstaZab” Zablyakin, knocked out the Russian and also dispatched Eran “Ma_Yesh_Beze” Soffer to accumulate more than one billion in chips. Only one opponent remained and that happened to be Poland’s Bartlomiej “chester20o” Swieboda, who closed the gap and took over the lead in heads-up play.
The final hand saw Trinh at risk with pocket sevens and Swieboda had that crushed with pocket kings. Three clubs until the turn provided a sweat but a blank river sent Trinh to the rail one spot shy of the victory. Swieboda earned the first gold bracelet of the festival and a payday of $161,110.54.
Joao Simao Wins First WSOP Bracelet and Team Bling Sponsorship
Brazil’s Joao Simao has been a familiar face of the online and live poker circuit for several years. In 2016, he even reached the top spot in the Pocket Fives global rankings just to give you an idea of his poker skills. He has several millions in cashes to his name and is a very popular figure in the Brazilian poker scene.
Simao’s journey began on Sunday, August 1 when he entered Event #2 $1,111 Caesars Cares Charity Event. The tournament drew a total field of 1,584 entries, which resulted in a prize pool worth $1,759,824. After 32 levels of 15 minutes each, the action concluded with just 20 players remaining and Simao was in the driver’s seat.
Along the way, the money bubble burst and secured a min-cash worth $1,774,57 to the top 269 finishers. Notables in the money shortly after included Mark Radoja, Olivier Rebello, GGPoker’s StreamSquad member Patrick “Egption” Tardif, Alexandros Theologis, Joakim Andersson and Wiktor Malinowski to name all but a few.
Natural8 streamer Dan Almeida had to settle for 199th place, which came with a payday of $2,031.18. Stevan Chew and Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier received the same amount. The GGPoker streamers Lukas “Robin Poker” Robinson and Kevin Martin earned a pay jump to $2,324.86, as did Russian star Artur Martirosian and Natural8 Team Hot member Phachara Wongwichit.
Yuri Dzivielevski, David Laka, Juan Pardo Dominguez and Shyngis Satubayev bowed out inside the top 100. Natural8 Team Bling member Daniel Dvoress hit the rail just before bagging and tagging, padding his bankroll with $6,848.81 for 24th place.
On the final day of the event on August 2, it took just one hour to reach the nine-handed final table. Claas Segebrecht, Timo “omaha4lolz” Kamphues, Elio Fox, and Sergio Aido were among the notable casualties in the frantic opening period.
Simao entered the final table second in chips but it was Hungarian online sensation Andras Nemeth who claimed the top spot soon after. There would be no happy end for Nemeth this time, as he first doubled Espen “_sennj_” Sandvik and then saw his queens cracked by the pocket sixes of Simao. The arguably most dangerous finalist was gone in 6th place for $48,867.73.
Sandvik and Simao took turns to reduce the field further and it came as no surprise that both would end up in heads-up to battle for the gold bracelet. For the Norwegian, it would have been the second victory after earning his first in the 2019 WSOP Europe Event #5: €2,500 8-Game Mix. The brief encounter ended with a failed bluff by Sandvik, who was left short and then lost with ace-queen against queen-ten suited the very next hand.
The runner-up spot of Sandvik was rewarded with a consolation prize of $154,533.27. However, it was Simao who walked away with the top prize of $206.074.99 and his first gold bracelet. Since he took down an event with a buy-in of $1,000 or more, the Brazilian has also earned a $10,000 Team Bling sponsorship courtesy of Natural8.
Who will be the next Natural8 player to join the list? The next chance awaits in Event #3: $2,500 Limit Hold’em Championship on Tuesday, August 3. Further exciting tournaments such as Event #6: $200 FLIP & GO NO-Limit Hold’em and Event #7: $1,500 MILLIONAIRE MAKER have their final days scheduled for Sunday, August 8.