Gershon Distenfeld Donates All WSOP Winnings To Charity After Bracelet Win; Brian Rast Wins 5th Bracelet, Bonyadi Wins 4th

By Craig Klinski
January 28, 2022

gershon distenfeld wsop bracelet

Gershon Distenfeld once again donates a big win to charity. Meanwhile, Brian Rast and Farzad Bonyadi extend their WSOP bracelet counts.

Check out these events and more as we take a look at Wednesday’s action and look ahead to a full slate of events on Thursday.

Gershon Distenfeld wins $1,500 Shootout

Gershon Distenfeld is the winner of the $1,500 Shootout on Wednesday night, taking home his first WSOP bracelet and $204,063 in cash. Over three days, Distenfeld outlasted a field of 800 entries including Belgium’s Jordan Schumacher heads-up, who won $126,133 for second place. Jonathan Betancur ($94,270), Orson Young ($71,142) and David Tran ($54,217) rounded out the top five.

Distenfeld most famously finished 8th in the domestic portion of the 2020 WSOP Main Event last December, which he donated to charity.

After winning the Shootout, Distenfeld said that he will also donate all proceeds from his recent to various charities, which he hopes will encourage other poker players to be more charitable. “I’d love to offer a challenge to every bracelet winner to give away 1% of their money to the charity of their choice. There’s no lack of needs out there. If I could have a lasting impact in the poker community, it would be that.”

Brian Rast wins 5th gold bracelet

Brian Rast has done what only 26 other players in the history of poker have done — win a 5th WSOP bracelet. His latest victory came during the 6-handed No Limit Hold’em, where he outlasted 997 players over two days to win gold and a top prize of $474,102.

Rast, who previously won twice in 2011 ($1500 PLO, $50k Players Championship), 2016 ($50k Players Championship) and 2018 ($10k No Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw Championship), now has more than $22 million in lifetime winnings, which makes him think about his place in poker history.

“I turn 40 in a couple of weeks and it was on my mind to make the Poker Hall of Fame. I think I have a pretty good claim. I’ve played the biggest cash games in the world for over a decade and I’ve done a lot in tournaments as well. I just don’t think there are too many people. I wanted to come back here this year to the WSOP and show myself that I can still play great poker and be around and enjoy it and hopefully add more.”

Farzad Bonyadi wins 4th WSOP bracelet

The WSOP crowned a four-time WSOP bracelet winner on Wednesday night after Farzad Bonyadi beat a field of 122 entries over three days in the $10,000 No Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw Championship to win a $297,051 first-place prize. Bonyadi faced some tough competition at the final table beating Johannes Becker ($183,591), Benny Glaser ($132,685), Dustin Dirksen ($97,199) and Jake Schwartz ($72,185). France’s Julien Martini finished in 6th for $54.359, Ben Diebold in 7th for $41,515 and Daniel Negreanu ($32,162) for 8th, who was the first to be knocked out at the final table and was denied his 7th WSOP bracelet.

Bonyadi’s last WSOP bracelet was 16th years ago when he won the $2,500 No Limit Hold’em. Before that he took down the $2,000 Limit Hold’em in 1998 and the $1,000 Deuce to Seven Triple Draw in 2004. With his latest win, Bonyadi now has over $4.5 million in lifetime cashes according to the Hendon Mob.

61-year old Bonyadi said that he has enjoyed the changes to the game over the last couple decades. “We used to play this game 20 years ago and there was no drawing to the ten or jack. Like any other game, the young blood is changing this game too. I kinda like it. I used to play the same way 20 years ago. You can say I’m an action player. I’m definitely not tight. Maybe they think I’m old and that I can’t play  aggressively. I’m very satisfied with the way I played.”

Darrin Wright wins 1st WSOP bracelet

Darrin Wright is the winner of the $600 No Limit Hold’em/Pot Limit Omaha on Wednesday night, coming out on top of a field of 1,569 players over two days to win a $127,219 prize. The victory was Wright’s first recorded cash of his poker career. In his path to victory, Wright defeated Vicor Paredes heads-up ($78,604).

Although Wright does not have the WSOP experience of many players, we went into this event optimistic. “I just felt it. You know how sometimes you can feel something and you can feel it in your stomach, they say that’s your gut. I felt it in my gut.”

Ongoing action

John Cernuto among big chip stacks in $1,000 Seniors Championship

Three-time WSOP bracelet winner “Miami” John Cernuto finds himself among the chip leaders in the $1,000 Seniors No Limit Hold’em Championship after 2,432 entries entered the tournament on Wednesday. George Bronstein leads 486 survivors from the flight with the second flight getting underway at 10 AM PT on Thursday.

Eric Kurtzman leads $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller

The $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller kicked off on Thursday with 170 players entering the event, which was whittled down to 107 to end the day. Eric Kurtzman goes into Day 2 as the chip leader with Joseph Cheong, Yuval Bronshtein, Shaun Deeb and Chane Kornuth right behind him when action resumes at 2 PM PT. Also still alive in the tournament are notables such as Sam Soverel, Paul Volpe and John Racener.

Upcoming events

Thursday will see the start of just one event, the $2,500 Nine Game Mix 6-Handed, which will get underway at 3 PM PT. The Nine Game mix event will be played 6-handed with games switching at each level: No-Limit Hold’em; Seven Card Stud; Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better, Razz; Pot-Limit Omaha; Limit Hold’em. Thursday will also mark the second Day 1 flight of the $1,000 Seniors No Limit Hold’em Championship, which began at 10 AM PT.

Watch the WSOP

PokerGo will take a break from the action for a few days, but will return on October 30th with the final table of the $25,00 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller. Poker fans can continue to tune into live streaming action when subscribing for $14.99 per month or $99 per year.

Sights and sounds from the WSOP

Daniel Negreanu reports in from the final table of the $10,000 2-7 Single Draw Championship in his latest vlog, where he hopes to secure his 7th WSOP bracelet:

YouTube video

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