Daniel Alaei may not be a familiar name to most recreational poker players, but he’s now entered a select group: poker players who have won multiple bracelets at World Series of Poker events.
The WSOP has, of course, created plenty of legendary players over the last four decades, with most of those legends being built on a stack of gold bracelets.
Alaei may well be the next player to jump into the stratosphere of the WSOP’s all-time greats, as while there are still players who have more bracelets than he does, almost none of them have picked up titles as early in their careers as he has.
Alaei took down the $10,000 Omaha Hi/Lo Championship event this week, earning his fifth career WSOP gold bracelet. That’s a huge accomplishment for Alaei, who is just 30 years old and still has plenty of prime years remaining to pad his bracelet count.
The win makes Alaei the second-youngest player to win five bracelets at the WSOP. The only person to do it earlier was Allen Cunningham, who was a few months younger when he won his fifth title at the World Series.
For the win, Alaei picked up $391,037 after battling through the kind of final table you expect to see at a Championship event in the WSOP.
There were several former WSOP champions at the final table, and several more, like Eli Elezra and Erik Seidel, who made deep runs. Placing in the top nine were bracelet winners Jeremy Ausmus (9th), Ken Aldridge (5th), and Scott Clements (4th), as well as World Poker Tour Player of the Year Anthony Zinno, who finished in sixth place.
In heads up play, Alaei found himself heads-up against Kyle Miaso, who had control of the action throughout most of the final table. But after a three-and-a-half hour battle that saw plenty of back-and-forth action, Alaei was able to take down the final pot of the tournament to win the title.
While Alaei’s fifth WSOP victory puts him on the short list of players to claim that many bracelets, he says he isn’t sure if he quite belongs in the conversation as one of the all-time greats just yet.
“I don’t know. I love coming to the World Series,” Alaei told WSOP.com. “I hope to win more, and maybe one day to be in that conversation. As for now, I just try to play my best and do what I do.”
One of the most anticipated tournaments of the WSOP festival is the Millionaire Maker, the relatively low buy-in ($1,500) tournament that offers a guaranteed $1 million to the winner. That’s one of the largest prizes awarded outside of the Main Event, giving the Millionaire Maker a life-changing potential that few other events offer.
This year, the tournament was won by Adrian Buckley, an ideal winner for one of the WSOP’s biggest events. Buckley had not only never won a WSOP event before, but he had never even cashed; now, he has a gold bracelet and a $1,277,193 prize.
Amazingly, Buckley triumphed despite facing a much tougher table than you’d expect to see in an event that drew 7,275 entries. There were four bracelets winners at the final table, along with veteran poker pro Olivier Busquet.
But the four bracelet winners (Mike Sexton, Justin Pechie, Erick Lindgren, and David Miscikowski) were the first four players knocked out at the final table, while Busquet went out in third place.
Buckley ultimately played heads-up against Javier Zarco. This was only Zarco’s second career WSOP cash, and earned him $791,690.