Poker Coverage: Poker Tournaments Casino News Sports Betting Poker Strategy

Daniel Dvoress Seizes The First Seven-Figure Top Prize Of 2020 World Series Of Poker Online

The Canadian High Roller Won The ‘Millionaire Maker’ For His First Bracelet and $1,489,289

by Erik Fast |  Published: Sep 09, 2020


The World Series of Poker first introduced the Millionaire Maker event in 2013. The idea behind the event was simple: host a tournament with an affordable buy-in of $1,500 and guarantee that the eventual champion will walk away with at least $1 million.

The tournament was an instant success, drawing a record single-day turnout in its first running to guarantee its inclusion on the WSOP schedule from that point forward. The 2020 WSOP Online included the popular event in its schedule of 85 bracelet tournaments, and its popularity carried over from the brick-and-mortar world to the internet. The event attracted a total of 6,299 entries across 15 starting flights, blowing away the $5 million guarantee to create a final prize pool of $8,976,075.

In the end, the lion’s share of that money was awarded to high-stakes tournament professional Daniel Dvoress. The 32-year-old Canadian earned his first WSOP gold bracelet and the massive top prize of $1,489,289 as the champion. Dvoress was the first player to secure a seven-figure payday during this year’s WSOP Online series.

The Millionaire Maker has largely lived up to its name since its inception. Of the seven prior winners of this tournament, six of them had not yet surpassed the million-dollar mark in career earnings until their win. Jason DeWitt, who won the tournament in 2016, was the only player with more than seven figures in career cashes prior to taking down this event.

Dvoress stands out among this group, as he had accumulated a whopping $15.7 million in live tournament earnings prior to his winning this event. Dvoress regularly posts hundreds of thousands of dollars in buy-ins in a matter of days while battling it out on the international super high roller circuit. The Mississauga, Ontario native graduated from the online scene to playing the biggest live tournaments in the world in a matter of years, accruing his eight figures in cashes despite only recording his first live tournament score in 2013.

Dvoress has devoted a lot of his focus as a poker pro to live tournaments in recent years, but capturing a title at the WSOP was apparently not high on his list of priorities.

“Winning a bracelet wasn’t on my radar until quite recently, as I don’t attend the WSOP. Given the circumstances this summer, with the WSOP being online, it suddenly became something on my radar,” Dvoress told Card Player after his victory. “But if you asked me two weeks ago how I would do it, I definitely would have thought that a smaller-field high roller event would be my best shot at a bracelet. It feels amazing to have done it in such a large field event.”

Dvoress broke the mold with his victory in this event, becoming the first high-stakes regular to defeat the massive field the Millionaire Maker has drawn each and every year. Here is a look back at how the huge event played out.

Setting The Final Table

This event featured 15 total starting flights, with the first kicking off on Sunday, July 26. There were anywhere from two to three flights held each day forward until the final flight began on Sunday, Aug. 2. The flights averaged just shy of 420 entries each, with the final total growing to 6,299 by the time registration officially closed.

As a result, the total prize pool of nearly $9 million was set to be awarded to the top 764 finishers in this event, with each and every player at the final table guaranteed a six-figure payday. Both the second and first-place finishers would cash for more than a million dollars.

The final starting flight of this event was still playing out when day 2 action got underway. More than 900 players remained when cards got back in the air, with play set to continue until the nine-handed final table was decided. By the first break of the day, the money bubble was just 100 eliminations away from bursting. Roughly an hour after action resumed, the money bubble burst and the remaining players all guaranteed themselves at least $2,115.

Plenty of big names made their way near the top of the leaderboard in the early hours of day 2, including 2016 WSOP main event sixth-place finisher Kenny Hallaert, two-time bracelet winner Michael Addamo, Leon Tsoukernik, Dan Shak, Isaac Haxton, and six-time bracelet winner Daniel Negreanu, who ultimately finished in 39th place for $12,911.

Dvoress was among the top ten in the chip counts by the time the field had been narrowed to around 50 players. More than a week after the first cards were dealt in this event, with roughly 6,150 eliminations having taken place, the field was finally down to the amount of players that normally constitute the entire player pool for the high-stakes events Dvoress regularly plays.

“I definitely had to rather quickly unlearn a lot of the things I got accustomed to while playing in tough high roller fields over the years,” admitted Dvoress when asked about playing in this larger field event with a notably lower buy-in than he plays on average. “I knew I would be able to get away with quite a lot, so I played more aggressively than I would have in a tougher field.”

Fellow high rollers Isaac Haxton (20th – $28,951) and Michael Addamo (16th – $40,204) hit the rail as the march to the final table continued, leaving Dvoress as the lone regular participant of the six-figure buy-in super high roller circuit left in this event.

Dvoress secured the final two knockouts of the day, busting ‘Bot Marley’ (11th – $77,534) and Manuel Ruivo (10th – $77.534) to take the chip lead heading into the final table. His 92,476,846 stack was good for nearly 31 big blinds with the stakes to resume at 1,500,000-3,000,000 with an ante of 300,000 when the final table reconvened.

There were a couple of highly accomplished players set to join Dvoress at the final table. 2018 partypoker LIVE MILLIONS Russia champion Anatoly Filatov had nearly $4.9 million in recorded cashes prior to this event. He entered the final table in fifth chip position. Short stack Ronny Kaiser had more than $1.8 million in scores ahead of making this final table, including wins in the 2017 PokerStars Championship Barcelona main event and the 2011 European Poker Tour Tallinn main event.

Final Table Chip Counts

Player Chips Big Blinds
Daniel Dvoress 92,476,846 31
Alejandro Caridad 64,001,642 21
Neville Endo Costa 43,132,236 14
Michael Nugent 37,076,246 12
Anatoly Filatov 22,480,138 8
Tomasz Cybulski 16,604,499 6
Aneris Adomkevicius 13,452,228 5
Caio De Almeida 12,558,546 4
Ronny Kaiser 10,506,666 4

Making The Millionaire(s)

Being the chip leader in a no-limit hold’em event can be exhilarating, but the advantage inherent to leading can also result in additional psychological pressure to win the title. Dvoress said that he didn’t experience too much pressure of this kind, though, despite the bracelet and the massive top prize on the line.

“Despite having the chip lead there were two realities I had to face. First, yes – I was the chip leader, but I only had about a third of the chips in play, so there was a lot more work to be done in order to win, and victory was nowhere close to guaranteed. Second, the average stack was about 10 big blinds, so I knew that would have a big negative impact on my edge, and I’d need variance to be on my side to win,” said Dvoress. “So rationally, I didn’t feel a lot of pressure to win, per se. However, I did put a lot of pressure on myself to play my best, and I knew that I would have to play a different game than what I was used to for the last five or so years of my poker career. I knew I’d have to make a lot of deviations, and trust my intuition to make plays I normally wouldn’t make.”

In order to be in the best mindset possible heading into the final table, Dvoress turned to Elliot Roe, an expert in mental optimization who has worked with a number of top poker players including Fedor Holz, Brian Rast, and Alex Foxen.

“I had a session with [him] right before playing the tournament which, in basic terms, consisted of an assisted meditation that was directed at optimizing my mental approach to my game plan for the final table. I knew exactly what I needed to do, and I wanted to make sure that I executed optimally.”

Five of the nine players at the final table were returning to stacks that amounted to less than 10 big blinds when play resumed, including both Filatov and Kaiser. Dvoress’ own stack may have had more playability, but with the majority of his opponents being so short, he had to rely on some past experience grinding hyper turbo sit-n-go’s to help guide his approach when cards got back in the air after five days off.

“Given the stacks at the final table, as well as the amount of money being played for, I felt like I was the most experienced player at the table, so everything really came together for me,” Dvoress confided. When asked how things might have been different than a typical high roller final table, he said, “This final table played out much tighter than the final tables I’m used to, especially when you consider how short stacked a lot of the players were.”

“In high rollers, you usually see stacks more or less flying in when players get short, because they don’t want to give up any potential edge, even if [that means] they have to gamble,” he continued. “Here, I had to be careful and tighten up on the hands I’d be willing to call off with, and at the same time I was mindful of the fact that people might want to gamble a bit less, so I could play looser than I am used to with the chip lead.”

Aneris Adomkevicius was one of five players to start the day with six big blinds or fewer. He was the first to be knocked out, hitting the rail after his A-K failed to beat out the pocket nines of Alejandro Caridad. He earned $107,671 for his deep run in this event.

Tomasz Cybulski was the next to fall. He got the last of his stack in with A-6 offsuit and ran into the pocket sevens of Michael Nugent. Cybulski settled for $149,523 as the eighth-place finisher. Ronny Kaiser had managed to outlast two opponents despite entering the final table with just four big blinds. He got the last of his stack in with 7Heart Suit 7Diamond Suit and received a call from Anatoly Filatov, who held ASpade Suit JSpade Suit. Filatov spiked a jack on the flop and held from there to eliminate Kaiser in seventh place ($207,644).

Dvoress earned his first elimination when his JSpade Suit 6Diamond Suit outran the ADiamond Suit 8Heart Suit of Neville Endo Costa, who had just a bit more than two big blinds to start the hand. Endo Costa was ahead preflop, but the JHeart Suit 9Spade Suit 9Club Suit JClub Suit 9Heart Suit runout gave Dvoress jacks full of nines to lock up the pot. Endo Costa was awarded $288,356 as the sixth-place finisher.

Five-handed play continued for a while before the next knockout took place. Alejandro Caridad shoved for just shy of 13 big blinds from the cutoff with QHeart Suit JClub Suit and Dvoress called with pocket eights from the big blind. Dvoress’ hand held up and Caridad was eliminated in fifth place ($400,412).

The very next hand Dvoress shoved from the small blind with 5Club Suit 4Diamond Suit and Michael Nugent called from the big blind with ADiamond Suit 2Club Suit. Dvoress made a full house by the river and Nugent earned $556,095 for his strong showing in this tournament. Dvoress’ elimination spree continued when his pocket fives held up against the ASpade Suit KHeart Suit of Anatoly Filatov. Neither player improved by the river and Filatov’s run in this event ended in third place ($772,251).

With that Dvoress took more than a 4:1 chip advantage into heads-up play against Brazil’s Caio De Almeida. The match lasted just two hands. Dvoress extended his lead by winning a sizable pot without showdown in the first hand. After the final deal, De Almeida got all-in preflop for around five big blinds with KDiamond Suit 8Diamond Suit and Dvoress called with the KHeart Suit QSpade Suit. The board came down 6Club Suit 5Diamond Suit 3Club Suit 7Heart Suit 3Heart Suit and Dvoress’ K-Q high was enough to earn him the pot and the title. De Almeida took home $1,072,428 as the runner-up finisher. This was truly a ‘Millionaire Maker’ for De Almeida, as the Brazilian had never before recorded a live tournament cash for more than five figures.

The nearly $1.5 million Dvoress earned as the champion of this event was the second-largest score of his career, behind the $4,080,000 he took home as the champion of the 2019 Super High Roller Bowl Bahamas $250,000 buy-in event. He now has more than $17.2 million in recorded tournament scores to his name.

Here is a look at the payouts awarded at the final table:

Place Name Earnings
1 Daniel Dvoress $1,489,289
2 Caio De Almeida $1,072,428
3 Anatoly Filatov $772,251
4 Michael Nugent $556,095
5 Alejandro Caridad $400,412
6 Neville Endo Costa $288,356
7 Ronny Kaiser $207,644
8 Tomasz Cybulski $149,523
9 Aneris Adomkevicius $107,671