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Stoyan Madanzhiev Wins 2020 World Series of Poker Online Main Event For $3.9 Million

Bulgarian Wins First WSOP Bracelet For Defeating Field of 5,802 Players In Record-Setting Event


Stoyan MadanzhievStoyan Madanzhiev has emerged victorious as the champion of the record-setting 2020 World Series of Poker Online $5,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event. The tournament drew 5,802 entries to blow away its $25,000,000 guarantee, creating the largest tournament prize pool in online poker history: $27,559,500. Mandanzhiev was awarded his first WSOP gold bracelet as the champion, along with the $3,904,686 top prize, which was also the biggest ever made in an online event.

This was by far the largest victory in Madanzhiev’s career. The Bulgarian poker pro’s largest recorded live tournament cash prior to this was a 14th-place finish in the 2019 Merit Poker Western Tournament $2,200 buy-in event for $10,800. Now, he has multiple millions in earnings to has name, along with the distinction of being the first-ever WSOP Online main event champion. Madanzhiev took to social media to celebrate in the moments after he secured the victory, and the official WSOP Twitter account shared one of the clips.

The final day of this event resumed with just 38 players remaining from the massive field of 5,802 entries. Bracelet winner and 2017 WSOP main event seventh-place finisher Bryan Piccioli began with the chip lead, but ultimately finished in 23d place. Plenty of other big names also hit the rail as the field was narrowed down to the final table, including bracelet winners Arkadiy Tsinis (37th – $39,214), Jonas Lauck (34th – $55,880), Michael Lech (31st – $55,880). High-stakes online tournament stars Samuel ‘€urop€an’ Vousden (12th – $161,686) and Benjamin ‘bencb789’ Rolle (11th – $161,686) also saw their runs end just shy of the final table.

With the elimination of Mariano Martiradonna in tenth place ($161,686), the final table was officially set. American Tyler Rueger took the chip lead into the final table, with Madanzhiev hot on his heels. Samuel Taylor was the first to fall, when his set of nines ran into a turned set of aces of Chinese tournament regular Wenling Gao. Taylor got the last of his chip in on the river, only to see that he had been coolered out of the event in ninth place ($230,395).

Tyler Cornell was the next to go. He got the last of his short stack in with ADiamond SuitJSpade Suit and was ahead of Tyler Rueger’s QDiamond SuitJClub Suit. A queen on the flop gave Rueger the lead though, and he was able to maintain it through the river. Cornell settled for $328,305 as the eighth-place finisher.

Stefan SchillhabelHigh-stakes tournament regular Stefan Schillhabel came into the final table as the most accomplished player remaining. The German poker pro had cashed for nearly $9.4 million in prior tournament earnings, including a win in the 2016 World Poker Tour Bay 101 Shooting Star main event for just shy of $1.3 million. Schillhabel’s run in this event came to an end as the result of a lost preflop coin flip, with his 10Spade Suit10Club Suit failing to hold up against the AClub SuitKHeart Suit of Gao. The board brought four clubs to give Gao the nut flush on the turn. Schillhabel earned $467,825 for his seventh-place showing.

The eliminations came fast and furious during short-handed action. Joao Santos three-bet jammed with AHeart Suit2Spade Suit from the big blind, only to have initial raiser Tyler Rueger call with ADiamond SuitKHeart Suit. Neither player improved and Santos was awarded $666,636 as the sixth-place finisher.

The next key pot began with Japan’s Satoshi Isomae three-betting Madanzhiev’s cutoff open with AClub SuitQDiamond Suit out of the small blind. Madanzhiev called with JDiamond Suit9Diamond Suit and flopped top two pair when the first three cards came down JSpade Suit9Spade Suit5Club Suit. Isomae bet 11,605,800 and Madanzhiev called. The turn brought the 7Heart Suit and both players checked. The 6Spade Suit river saw Isomaeo move all-in for 23,411,295, only for Madanzhiev to quickly call with his winning two pair. Isomae’s failed bluff saw them knocked out in fifth place ($949,937), while Madanzhiev took a sizable chip lead into four-handed action.

New Zealand’s Thomas Ward found himself all-in and at risk a handful of minutes later. He picked up pocket sixes on the button and moved all-in for around 9.5 million, Wenling Gao had him pipped with pocket sevens and made the call. The larger pair held up through the river and Ward was sent to the virtual rail in fourth place ($1,353,634).

Three-handed play only lasted a matter of minutes, as well. With blinds of 350,000-700,000 and an ante of 85,000, Gao raised to 1,400,000 on the button with KHeart SuitKDiamond Suit. Tyler Rueger picked up AHeart SuitQSpade Suit in the big blind and three-bet to 4,395,000. Gao four-bet to 9,800,000. Rueger five-bet shoved for 48,697,202, only to be snap-called by Gao. The board ran out 8Diamond Suit7Spade Suit6Club Suit8Club Suit2Club Suit and Rueger was eliminated in third place. He took home $,1928,887 for his strong showing in this event.

Wenling GaoWith that heads-up play began with the final two contestants essentially tied, with Gao having just less than a single big blind lead over Madanzhiev when cards got back in the air. Madanzhiev was able to extend his lead during the early going, building his chip advantage to more than 2:1 by the time the final hand of the tournament was dealt.

Gao picked up ADiamond SuitAClub Suit on the button and min-raised to 1,600,000. Madanzhiev defended his big blind with 7Diamond Suit6Heart Suit and flopped huge, as the 5Club Suit4Heart Suit3Spade Suit gave him the nut straight. He lead out for 1,700,000 and Gao raised to 3,944,000. Madanzhiev called and the 8Heart Suit on the turn saw Madanzhiev’s hand remain the best holding possible. He checked and Gao bet 5,644,000. Madanzhiev check-raised to 15,040,000 and Gao thought it over before deciding to move all-in with he pocket aces. Madanzhiev instantly called and it was all over, as Gao was drawing dead. The river was a mere formality, as Madanzhiev’s hand was a lock to secure the pot and the title.

Gao earned $2,748,605 as the runner-up finisher, falling just short of winning her first bracelet. She now has just shy of $3.3 million in recorded tournament earnings. This huge score supplanted her fifth-place finish in the 2018 Asia Pacific Poker Tour Macau_ high roller event for $157,950 to become the largest of her career. Check out a clip of the final hand below from GGPoker’s official coverage of the event on Twitch.

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

Place Name Earnings
1 Stoyan Madanzhiev $3,904,686
2 Wenling Gao $2,748,605
3 Tyler Rueger $1,928,887
4 Thomas Ward $1,353,634
5 Satoshi Isomae $949,937
6 Joao Santos $666,637
7 Stefan Schillhabel $467,825
8 Tyler Cornell $328,305
9 Samuel Taylor $230,395

Madanzhiev photo credit: Merit Poker. Gao image credit: PokerStars.