Bulgarian Poker Player Wins Wsop Main Event on Ggpoker

The WSOP Main Event was different this year, so much so that Australians only had to travel to New Zealand or a number of other countries in the Asia-Pacific region to play. Of the 85 tournaments on the WSOP 2020 schedule, fifty-four of them took place on the GGNetwork via Natural8 and GGPoker.

Of course, the World Series of Poker had to take its 2020 poker tournaments online, as the coronavirus pandemic left little choice. But it turned out to be extremely beneficial for poker players in the Asia-Pacific region of the world, as they didn’t have to travel for days to participate. While Aussies had to leave their homes to go to an online poker-friendly country, they didn’t have to trek all the way to Las Vegas.

And for the WSOP 2020 Online Main Event, the travel savings was only the beginning of the benefits. This year, the WSOP Main Event had these features:

  • buy-in was $4,750 instead of $10,000
  • cheap satellites online
  • 23 starting flights instead of 3
  • 2 reentries allowed instead of 0
  • guaranteed prize pool
  • play from home instead of live
  • no flights to Las Vegas required
  • no dress code
  • no media interviews
  • fast play online (3 playing days instead of 8 or 9)
  • no US wire or tax hassles

In a year like no other, the WSOP was like no other.

How It Began

The 23 starting days showed a somewhat slow start in building the prize pool, but the final flights showed a rush to get in on the action. Here is the full list of starting days:

  • 1A: 464 players, 99 survived, Samuel Vousden leads (717,497 chips)
  • 1B: 114 players, 25 survived, Xuming Qi leads (620,372 chips)
  • 1C: 110 players, 19 survived, Karim Khayat leads (656,260 chips)
  • 1D: 68 players, 7 survived, Stuart Wallensteen leads (625,267 chips)
  • 1E: 83 players, 16 survived, Vlad Martynenko leads (819,099 chips)
  • 1F: 129 players, 19 survived, Milakai Vaskaboinikau leads (796,176 chips)
  • 1G: 194 players, 32 survived, Armol Srivats leads (649,699 chips)
  • 1H: 113 players, 18 survived, Jonathan Dokler leads (1,021,967 chips)
  • 1I: 233 players, 41 survived, Freez112 leads (749,186 chips)
  • 1J: 349 players, 66 survived, Christopher Putz leads with 757,963 chips
  • 1K: 72 players, 9 survived, Mateusz Chrobak leads with 735,959 chips
  • 1L: 88 players, 8 survived, Kahle Burns with 1,387,282 chips
  • 1M: 98 players, 18 survived, james5388 leads with 849,104 chips
  • 1N: 159 players, 36 survived, Martin Ilavsky with 689,711 chips
  • 1O: 118 players, 21 survived, Thomas Eychenne leads with 791,634 chips
  • 1P: 239 players, 44 survived, stamina22 leads with 994,190 chips
  • 1Q: 126 players, 23 survived, Francis Anderson leads with 724,747 chips
  • 1R: 247 players, 54 survived, Anant Purohit leads with 577,772 chips
  • 1S: 237 players, 44 survived, TILTTTT1999 leads with 908,569 chips
  • 1T: 437 players, 83 survived, Warley Galvao leads with 931,221 chips
  • 1U:  506 players, 101 survived, Ruslan234 leads with 718,427 chips
  • 1V:  760 players, 155 survived, Bruno Souza leads with 871,335 chips
  • 1W:  858 players, 242 survived, mrdemidov leads with 668,033 chips

That total came to 5,802 entries and created a prize pool of $27,559,500, far surpassing the $25 million guarantee.

It was enough to pay the top 728 finishers at least $11,834 and reserve $12,578,911 for the nine final table players.

How It Progressed

Of those initial entries, only 1,171 players survived with chips to play on Day 2. They logged back in on Sunday, August 30, to play to the money, which they did in relatively little time.

Aussie Kahle Burns was the chip leader of the 1,171 players at the start of Day 2, and he continued to do well until the field thinned to just a few tables. Burns busted out in 52nd place for $39,214.

Day 2 ended with just 38 players remaining. There were numerous players still in from the Asia-Pacific region, but only one from Australia – Joshua Mccully – and one from New Zealand – Thomas Ward.

When the 38 players returned on Saturday, September 5, Bryan Piccioli of the US led the pack. Aussie Mccully busted in 29th place, and Piccioli followed soon after in 23rd place.

As the final table neared, Stoyan Madanzhiev gained ground and eliminated numerous players, ultimately sending out Mariano Martiradonna in tenth place on the final table bubble for $161,686.

How Madanzhiev Won the Main Event

Madanzhiev was close to the chip lead, but Tyler Rueger had more chips to lead the final nine. New Zealander Ward was the shortest of the nine stacks.

Wenling Gao, the only female player at the table, chipped up and eliminated the first player. Tyler Rueger eliminated one, and Gao ousted another. Ward doubled through Joao Santos, and Rueger eliminated the latter in sixth place. But Madanzhiev took chips from Ward and then busted Satoshi Isomae in fifth before Gao sent Ward out in fourth. Gao did the same to Rueger in third.

Madanzhiev took a reasonable chip lead into heads-up play against Gao, and the momentum took Madanzhiev fairly quickly to the winner’s circle.

The Bulgarian player took the title for the first-ever WSOP Main Event online, one with the largest prize pool in online poker history. And his prize of $3.9 million was the largest prize ever awarded in online poker tournament history.

  • 1st place: Stoyan Madanzhiev of Bulgaria = $3,904,686
  • 2nd place: Wenling Gao of China = $2,748,605
  • 3rd place: Tyler Rueger of US = $1,928,887
  • 4th place: Thomas Ward of New Zealand = $1,353,634
  • 5th place: Satoshi Isomae of Japan = $949,937
  • 6th place: Joao Santos of Brazil = $666,637
  • 7th place: Stefan Shillhabel of Germany = $467,825
  • 8th place: Tyler Cornell of US = $328,305
  • 9th place: Samuel Taylor of US = $230,395

GGPoker/Natural 8 posted a full livestream of the action on Day 3 with cards up.

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Rose Varrelli avatar
Rose Varrelli
Senior Casino & News Writer

Hi there! I’m Rose, and with nine years behind me in the iGaming industry, I craft engaging narratives at CasinoAus. My education in Communication across Europe has sharpened my skills in fintech, casino legislation, and digital marketing. Backed by a strong foundation in SEO, storytelling, and cross-cultural communication, I’m passionate about creating content that resonates globally and educates our audience.

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