Fedor Holz Faces Off With Wiktor ‘Limitless’ Malinowski in GGPoker High Stakes Heads-Up Challenge

GGPoker has announced a high-stakes battle between Fedor Holz and Wiktor “Limitless” Malinowski as part of the new GG Face-Off Challenge.

Heads-up poker seems to be en vogue lately. After some major action involving Phil Galfond over the last year, Doug Polk recently squared off with Daniel Negreanu.

The focus then turned to Phil Hellmuth and Negreanu in a live event as part of the High Stakes Duel series on PokerGO. On Tuesday, GGPoker got in the action by revealing details of an upcoming high-stakes battle between Fedor Holz and Wiktor “Limitless” Malinowski.

The online heads-up duel offers poker fans another major series to follow.

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Details on the match at GGPoker

Holz is a longtime online poker pro who’s played at the highest stakes and became a GGPoker ambassador in 2020. Malinowski, a high stakes pro from  Poland, issued an open challenge to the poker world in August 2020.

Holz, Germany’s all-time money winner with more than $32 million in earnings, has now accepted. The four-session series is the first match of the new GG Face-Off Challenge.

The series pits the world’s top players against each other, with some major cash and professional pride on the line. Here’s a look at the Holz-Malinowski match details:

  • Dates: March 5, 8, 10, and 12
  • Game: No Limit Hold’em
  • Stakes: $100/$200
  • Starting stacks: $20,000 (100 big blinds)

Both players bring plenty of online poker skills to the table. Malinowski has more than $700,000 in live tournament winnings, but much more online. Last May, he won the $10,200 High Roller in the WPT Online Championship series at partypoker for $281,750.

Also in 2020, Holz found his own online tournament success. He took down the $25,000 heads-up event in the World Series of Poker Online at GGPoker for $1.1 million.

Following the action with GGPoker

Poker fans looking to check out the action can view every hand on GG’s YouTube channel at GGPoker.TV. The action will be on a 30-minute delay with expert commentary.

The streams will also feature exclusive interviews, special guests, and prizes given away. The GGPoker social media channels will also follow the match, with additional content, and competitions on tap.

“This one has been a while in the making,” director of live events and sponsorships at GGPoker John Scanlon said in a news release, “but we think that now is the perfect time for these two titans of the game to clash and there’s no better place for all the action to unfold than on GGPoker’s award-winning software.”

The matchup has already attracted some interest in the poker world – including from Polk. His Upswing Poker coaching site also plans on streaming the series with Polk providing commentary.

Malinowski is confident and recently called out Holz. He even offered to take on a few of his poker coaching students simultaneously.

Betting on the challenge will be available directly within the GGPoker app. The event should be another nice addition to the growing list of heads-up matches featuring interesting names in the poker world..

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Partypoker MyGame ‘Whiz’ Aims to Help Players Improve, Attract New Players to Game

Partypoker is hoping to help online poker players make fewer mistakes and improve their game with the recent release of MyGame Whiz.

What player hasn’t made a mistake at the table and wished things had gone differently? Partypoker is hoping to help online poker players make fewer mistakes and improve their game with the recent release of MyGame Whiz.

The new feature is an enhancement of the MyGame tool with the goal of helping players boost their poker skills. MyGame Whiz is a poker personal trainer, helping players to hopefully reach a higher level and avoid common errors.

That includes one-on-one communication for a truly personalized experience. Partypoker developers hope this gives players the chance to have more fun and find more success.

“Whiz studies your game style, including each hand and how you play,” partypoker marketing director Vadim Soloveychik told PokerScout.

“Whiz will only assess your own hand history and will not study hands played by opponents. It then uses your personal hand history to create tips and suggestions on how to improve and the overall strategy the player needs to consider.”

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How does partypoker’s MyGame Whiz work?

Whiz simplifies MyGame into a small, clean, intuitive package, offering key pieces of advice and targeted messages in real time at the end of a hand after important moments; both winning and losing.

Players receive messages targeted specifically at them based on actions at the table. Not all players will be sent the same messages. Whiz also offers interactive commentary as a player competes. 

The feature also allows players to replay, save, and share hands. The more hands played, the better the advice Whiz can give based on a wider range of situations.

Players can ask MyGame Whiz questions as well. It’s an easy platform for working on skills and learning how to maximize a player’s style.

“Whether a player likes to play aggressively or play tight, whether they are starting with a large or small bankroll,” Soloveychik says, “or even if they are still trying to work out the basics of the game, Whiz will be able to work out the right strategy for that individual player.”

Reachomg out to new online players with personalized learning experience

In recent years, partypoker has worked to increase the number of recreational players entering the online poker player pool. That’s ranged from numerous low-cost major tournament qualifiers to more mobile and social gaming aspects in the platform.

Party now hopes MyGame Whiz adds to those efforts. Major barriers to entry for new players, the company notes, is fear of not understanding the game, losing to pros, and underperforming. 

Whiz seeks to combat these issues with instant feedback. The application is a dynamic tool that works for each player in their own individual way.

“Even the most experienced and successful players had to start somewhere, and we want poker to be an inclusive game,” Soloveychik says.

“That’s why we decided to create something that would help players at the beginning of their poker journey, when they are less familiar with the experience of playing online poker. We want to remove any fear new players may have regarding their skill level and knowledge.”

In essence, Whiz functions as a poker tutor. There are even report cards to help a player track his or her progress.

Soloveychik said the application can help inexperienced players who may have less time to study to improve. New players can gain confidence in the early stages of their poker journey by seeing real analysis by actually playing.

“This is based on extensive player feedback, where players have often told us they feel they might be out of their comfort zone when they first start to play the game,” Soloveychik says.

“Whiz changes that with easy to use, bespoke poker training, eliminating the uncertainty and helping you learn the game and strategy behind it in a faster and easier way.”

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A long term partypoker learning tool

With so many bells and whistles, party developers hope players can utilize the feature over a lengthy period of time. Whiz allows players to continually gauge their own play and adjust accordingly.

The MyGame feature already allowed players to see their rankings based on game theory optimization (GTO) in the form of seven levels:

  • Rookie
  • Social
  • Intermediate
  • Solid
  • Advanced
  • Pro
  • Elite Pro

The addition of Whiz is meant to build on that component. The company already has plans to add new features, including social sharing and additional missions. So far, the feature is only available on the software client and not on mobile.

Soloveychik says the company received “overwhelmingly positive feedback” during Whiz’s testing phase. Party plans to continually improve and expand the tips and learning as well as add more animations.

“There are no limits to how players can continue to test themselves, complete missions, and learn tips and tricks, all based on their own gameplay,” Soloveychik says. “This is no ordinary one-size-fits-all tutor; this is bespoke poker tutor training straight from the Whiz to you.

“This ensures the player strides into their next poker game with their head held high and they will be ready to play. We can’t wait for players all over the world to try Whiz for themselves and become the poker player they were born to be.”

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PokerStars Celebrates International Bluff Day on Feb. 7 – No Bluffing

PokerStars has designated Sunday, Feb. 7, as “International Bluff Day” to celebrate all things bluffing.

The bluff is a critical part of poker – whether live in the online game. Some might say it’s what makes poker so unique – the ability to win with an inferior hand.

What poker fan could forget Chris Moneymaker’s “bluff of the century” in the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event? With K♠7♥ and no pair on a board of 9♠2♦6♠8♠, Moneymaker made a huge raise with Sammy Farha holding Q♠9♥.

Moneymaker missed his straight and flush draws when the 3♥ fell on the river Rather than slow down, he made a bold move – an all-in bluff. Farha ultimately folded and Moneymaker would go on to make poker history.

In the spirit of the bluff, PokerStars has designated Sunday, Feb. 7, as “International Bluff Day.” The hoopla is meant to celebrate all things bluffing and the site has plenty of fun in the works.

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What’s planned for PokerStars Bluff Day?

Why was Feb. 7 picked as the day to celebrate Bluff Day? Because 7-2 is the worst hand in poker, and also a specific date on the calendar, Feb. 7.

American players may note that date as 2/7, but the point is the same. The day seemed appropriate to get bullish on bluffing.

“You may get a bad hand like 7-2, but it’s up to you what you do with it,” PokerStars noted in a news release announcing the promotion. “You can make that bad hand, a great hand. It’s the way you play that makes a difference. And bluffing sits at the heart of this.”

“Bluffing can be applied to many aspects of our lives outside of poker and it happens in a variety of different situations, and the talent to successfully execute a bluff is respected.

To celebrate this fine art, PokerStars is dedicating the day to the bluff. No doubt every poker player has bluffed at some point – whether successful or not.

And PokerStars is inviting players to share their stories and experiences about their own epic bluffs. Players can simply use the hashtag #internationalbluffday to provide some light-hearted tales for others to read.

Additionally, the PokerStars social media channels (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) will host videos and activities to celebrate the occasion.

A look at some amazing poker bluffs

To commemorate the day, PokerStars has even put together a special video with some great bluffs. Some of those flexing their bluffing muscles include poker superstars Liv Boeree and Daniel Negreanu.

The top bluff includes a seven-bet with KJ♥. It’s quite an assortment of rounder fearlessness.

As if that weren’t enough, the PokerStars creative team also got in the act. The animated “Legend of the Bluff” offers a unique take on the beginnings of this poker concept.

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Three more great poker bluffs to check out

Moneymaker’s Main Event bluff may be the best-known in poker. However, plenty of other big card-playing fake-outs have left victims frustrated. Here are a look at a few more.

1 – Bluffing Ivey

In the 2000s, Brad Booth was a regular in televised poker shows like High Stakes Poker and Poker After Dark. Booth had no problem moving some chips around the table.

That includes this amazing bluff against poker star Phil Ivey. Amazingly, his 24♠ got the job done and Ivey got rid of his pocket Kings.

2 – Miss Finland earns her crown

The Shark Cage welcomed Miss Finland to the pool and she ran an unexpected huge bluff. Her opponent eventually folded a monster hand. Not only did the victim lose the hand, but also got sent to solitary confinement.

 

3 – Scott Seiver ships it

Longtime pro Scott Seiver is no stranger to raking big pots. In this hand from the WSOP Big One for One Drop, he takes a massive pot from Marvin Reinkemeier.

This comes with an all-in shove and Reinkemeier folding Aces.

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MicroMillions Runs a Marathon at PokerStars With $1 Million Valentine’s Day Main Event

The MicroMillions Marathon runs at PokerStars Feb. 11-14 with 107 tournaments, $3 million guaranteed, and events running every 30 minutes.

Get ready low rollers. PokerStars’ MicroMillions series is back, but this time with a twist.

The popular low-stakes tournament series returns Feb. 11-14. This year, the MicroMillions Marathon features 107 tournaments with more than $3 million guaranteed.

What makes this series different from some of those micro series in the past?  The “marathon” aspect means a tournament starts every half hour for most of the schedule.

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Low stakes, big money payouts at PokerStars

The MicroMillions Marathon promises a blitz of action for online poker players for four straight days. Players will find big prizes for small stakes.

Buy-ins range from $1.10 to $11 with qualifiers starting at just $0.11. There are plenty of events for every taste and bankroll.

A few of the tournament styles include: Six-Max, Turbo, Zoom, Progressive Knockout, Bubble Rush, Win the Button, Deepstacks, Heads-up, and more.

For those new to some of these, Bubble Rush is a fast-paced tournament designed to get players into the money in an hour. After that the hyper turbo format slows down and plays like a traditional tournament.

A Progressive Knockout (PKO) is a bounty tournament with some interesting twists. When a player knocks out another, part of that player’s bounty is added to the winning player’s bounty. The events make for some fun, interesting dynamics as player’s bounty increases throughout the tournament.

In a Win the Button tournament, the player who wins the pot also gets the dealer button.

Players looking for more than just Texas Hold’em are also in luck. Some of the games featured include Pot Limit Omaha, Fusion, Omaha Hi/Lo, and more.

For those new to Fusion, this is a game PokerStars introduced in 2019. The games combined Hold’em and Omaha. Players are dealt two cards and play is like Hold’em before the flop.

After that, players receive another card on the flop and then another on the turn. Players have plenty of options in this MicroMillions series.

PokerStars MicroMillions Marathon highlights

Valentine’s Day will be a big deal this year for PokerStars players. The site is showing some love on Feb. 14 to MicroMillions players.

The $22 Main Event comes with a $1 million guarantee – some nice value for such a small buy-in.

Beyond that, players have numerous other nice tournaments worth checking out including:

  • $5.50 NLHE (Event 3, Feb. 11) – $12,500 guarantee
  • $11 NLHE 8-max (Event 11, Feb. 11) – $80,000 guarantee
  • $1.10 Hyper-Turbo 8-max rebuy (Event 14, Feb. 11) – $40,000 guarantee
  • $5.50 PKO, Turbo 8-max (Event 32, Feb. 12) – $35,000 guarantee
  • $11 PKO 8-max (Event 37, Feb. 12) – $100,000 guarantee
  • $5.50 PKO Turbo Zoom 8-max (Event 40, Feb. 12) – $50,000 guarantee
  • $9.80 Big PKO 8-max (Event 62, Feb. 13) – $125,000 guarantee
  • $3.30 Turbo 7-max (Event 66, Feb. 13) – $35,000 guarantee
  • $5.50 PKO (Event 91, Feb. 14) – $60,000 guarantee
  • $3.30 NLHE 6-max (Event 92, Feb. 14) $40,000 guarantee
  • $11 NLHE (Event 95, Feb. 14) – $100,000 guarantee
  • $1.10 PKO (Event 98, Feb. 14) – $20,000 guarantee

Here’s a look at the complete schedule:

2021 PokerStars MicroMillions Marathon

DateTournamentBuy-inGuarantee
Feb. 11001: $3.30 3-Stack, Turbo (6-max)$3.30$5,000
Feb. 11002: $1.10 PKO, Hyper-Turbo (4-max)$1.10$3,500
Feb. 11003: $5.50 NLHE$5.50$12,500
Feb. 11004: $1.10 PLO (8-max)$1.10$3,500
Feb. 11005: $3.30 PKO Zoom, Turbo (6-max)$3.30$10,000
Feb. 11006 $5.50 Heads-Up, Total PKO, Hyper-Turbo$5.50$5,000
Feb. 11007: $3.30 NLHE$3.30$12,500
Feb. 11008: $1.10 PKO, Turbo (8-max)$1.10$8,000
Feb. 11009: $3.30 Win The Button$3.30$12,500
Feb. 11010: $5.50 PLO, Turbo (6-max)$5.50$8,000
Feb. 11011: $11 (8-max)$11$80,000
Feb. 11012 $3.30 PKO$3.30$40,000
Feb. 11013: $5.50 NLHE$5.50$35,000
Feb. 11014: $1.10+R, Hyper-Turbo (8-max)$1.10$40,000
Feb. 11015: $3.30 PLO-H/L, PKO, Turbo (8-max)$3.30$10,000
Feb. 11016: $5.50 PKO, Turbo$5.50$40,000
Feb. 11017: $1.10 NLHE$1.10$8,000
Feb. 11018: $5.50 Limit 8-Game (6-max)$5.50$3,500
Feb. 11019: $1.10 NLHE (6-max)$1.10$5,000
Feb. 11020: $3.30 Hyper-Turbo, Bubble Rush (8-max)$3.30$12,500
Feb. 11021: $5.50 PKO (8-max)$5.50$20,000
Feb. 11022: $3.30 NLHE$3.30$15,000
Feb. 11023: $1.10 PKO$1.10$7,500
Feb. 11024: $3.30 4-max, Turbo, Shootout$3.30$3,500
Feb. 11025: $1.10 Big PKO, Turbo$1.10$3,500
Feb. 12026: $1.10 Zoom, Turbo (8-max)$1.10$3,000
Feb. 12027: $3.30 PKO, Turbo (6-max)$3.30$10,000
Feb. 12028: $1.10 NLHE (6-max)$1.10$5,000
Feb. 12029: $5.50 NLHE$5.50$10,000
Feb. 12030: $1.10 NLHE$1.10$8,000
Feb. 12031: $3.30 NLHE (8-max)$3.30$10,000
Feb. 12032: $5.50 PKO, Turbo (8-max)$5.50$35,000
Feb. 12033: $1.10 PKO, Hyper-Turbo, Zoom$1.10$10,000
Feb. 12034: $3.30 NLHE (8-max)$3.30$30,000
Feb. 12035: $5.50 NLO, Turbo (6-max)$5.50$12,500
Feb. 12036: $3.30 PKO$3.30$20,000
Feb. 12037: $11 PKO (8-max)$11$100,000
Feb. 12038 $5.50 NLHE$5.50$40,000
Feb. 12039: $3.30+R, Hyper-Turbo (8-max)$3.30$40,000
Feb. 12040: $5.50 PKO, Turbo, Zoom (8-max)$5.50$50,000
Feb. 12041: $1.10 PKO$1.10$10,000
Feb. 12042: $3.30 6+ Hold’em (6-max)$3.30$7,500
Feb. 12043: $5.50 (8-max)$5.50$15,000
Feb. 12044: $1.10 PKO, Turbo, Win the Button$1.10$5,000
Feb. 12045: $3.30 PKO, Turbo$3.30$20,000
Feb. 12046: $1.10 Omaha H/L, PKO (8-max)$1.10$3,500
Feb. 12047 $5.50 PKO, Hyper-Turbo, Bubble Rush$5.50$10,000
Feb. 12048 $1.10 Turbo (6-max)$1.10$5,000
Feb. 12049: $3.30 Deep Stacks, Hyper-Turbo$3.30$5,000
Feb. 12050: $1.10 Hyper Turbo$1.10$3,500
Feb. 13051: $5.50 PKO, Turbo (7-max)$5.50$8,000
Feb. 13052 $3.30 NLHE (8-max)$3.30$5,000
Feb. 13053: $1.10 NLHE$1.10$5,000
Feb. 13054: $3.30 PKO$3.30$10,000
Feb. 13055: $1.10 Hyper-Turbo (6-max)$1.10$5,000
Feb. 13056: $5.50 PKO (8-max)$5.50$12,500
Feb. 13057: $1.10 NLHE$1.10$5,000
Feb. 13058: $3.3o0 PL Fusion (6-max)$3.30$3,500
Feb. 13059: $5.50 PKO, Turbo (7-max)$5.50$20,000
Feb. 13060: $1.10 NLHE$1.10$7,500
Feb. 13061: $3.30 PLO, PKO (6-max)$3.30$5,000
Feb. 13062: $9.80 Big PKO (8-max)$9.80$125,000
Feb. 13063: $3.30 NLHE$3.30$40,000
Feb. 13064: $1.10+R Splash (8-max)$1.10$50,000
Feb. 13065: $5.50 PKO$5.50$40,000
Feb. 13066: $3.30 Turbo (7-max)$3.30$35,000
Feb. 13067: $1.10 NLHE (8-max)$1.10$10,000
Feb. 13068: $5.50 NL Omaha H/L, PKO (6-max)$5.50$12,500
Feb. 13069: $3.30 Heads-Up, Total PKO, Turbo, Zoom$3.30$10,000
Feb. 13070: $1.10 Win the Button (4-max)$1.10$7,500
Feb. 13071: $3.30 NL 6+ Hold’em, PK (6-max)$3.30$7,500
Feb. 13072: $5.50 Hyper-Turbo, Bubble Rush (8-max)$5.50$5,000
Feb. 13073: $1.10 Turbo (7-max)$1.10$3,500
Feb. 13074: $5.50 PKO$5.50$10,000
Feb. 13075: $3.30 NLHE$3.30$7,500
Feb. 13076: $5.50 Big PKO, Hyper-Turbo (6-max)$5.50$5,000
Feb. 13077: $1.10 Turbo (6-max)$1.10$3,500
Feb. 14078: $1.10 Total PKO, Turbo (6-max)$1.10$3,500
Feb. 14079: $3.30 Zoom (8-max)$3.30$10,000
Feb. 14080: $5.50 PKO, Turbo (8-max)$5.50$25,000
Feb. 14081: $3.30 Big PKO$3.30$10,000
Feb. 14082: $1.10 PKO, Deep Stacks, Hyper-Turbo (8-max)$1.10$5,000
Feb. 14083: $5.50 NLHE$5.50$15,000
Feb. 14084: $1.10 NLHE$1.10$5,000
Feb. 14085: $3.30 PKO, Turbo$3.30$15,000
Feb. 14086: $5.50 Win the Button (8-max)$5.50$10,000
Feb. 14087: $1.10 NL Omaha (6-max)$1.10$3,500
Feb. 14088: $3.30 NLHE$3.30$15,000
Feb. 14089: $5.50 NLHE$5.50$25,000
Feb. 14090: $1.10 Turbo (8-max)$1.10$15,000
Feb. 14091: $5.50 PKO$5.50$60,000
Feb. 14092: $3.30 (6-max)$3.30$40,000
Feb. 14093: $22 Main Event, PKO$22$1,000,000
Feb. 14094 $5.50 PKO (8-max)$5.50$75,000
Feb. 14095: $11 NLHE$11$100,000
Feb. 14096: $3.30 PKO$3.30$60,000
Feb. 14097: $5.50 Turbo (8-max)$5.50$50,000
Feb. 14098: $1.10 PKO$1.10$20,000
Feb. 14099: $3.30 Limit Horse (6-max)$3.30$7,500
Feb. 14100: $1.10 NLHE$1.10$5,000
Feb. 14101: $5.50 6+ Hold’em (6-max)$5.50$15,000
Feb. 14102: $3.30 Total PKO, Turbo (8-max)$3.30$20,000
Feb. 14103: $5.50 PL Omaha H/L, PKO (6-max)$5.50$12,500
Feb. 14104: $1.10 Hyper-Turbo, Bubble Rush (8-max)$1.10$7,500
Feb. 14105: $3.30 NLHE (8-max)$3.30$20,000
Feb. 14106: $5.50 Turbo$5.50$30,000
Feb. 14107: $1.10 Turbo (8-max)$1.10$10,000

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CHAMPION CHAT: WSOP Main Event Champ Damian Salas Talks Winning, Poker, Life, & More

2020 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Damian Salas.

The last year brought plenty of changes for poker and that included the World Series of Poker Main Event. Because of the pandemic, the event played out in December and January with Argentina’s Damian Salas taking the title.

Salas took home a total of $2.4 million after separate events played out internationally on GGPoker and WSOP.com. The final nine players from each half played separate live final tables – one at the Rio in Las Vegas and one at King’s Casino in the Czech Republic.

Salas faced WSOP.com US champion Joseph Hebert, of Metairie, Louisiana, at the Rio in Las Vegas. He won the bracelet and a $1 million bonus and becomes champion at a strange time for poker. 

He’s also the first Main Event champion from Latin America. ESPN broadcasts of the Main Event are expected to begin airing in February.

Salas, 45, works as an attorney in Buenos Aires and is no stranger to Main Event success. He finished seventh in 2017 for $1.4 million. Salas recently spoke with PokerScout about his poker life and winning poker’s biggest prize.

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How did you get into poker?

I started playing poker with my school peers when I was about 14 or 15 years old. I started playing No Limit Hold’em after watching ESPN broadcasts of the WSOP tournament won by Chris Moneymaker.

I think it was in 2004. And that’s when my group of friends and I began playing. I simply started out of passion since I love playing cards.

“Actually, I began playing cards when I was 4 or 5 years old. I used to play with my grandmother and her sister, and with my cousins as a young kid. I’d say the reason is passion. And, well, thank God, my passion is still intact.”

You’re a big online poker player. How often do you play?

I typically play two to three times per week. No more than that. Generally on Sundays, very frequently. And then I choose either Tuesdays or Thursdays, or both days.

It also depends on whether there is some series in particular that I’m interested in. In that case, the frequency might be increased. But I ‘d say during the year, I play two or three times a week – that’s my routine.

Do you have any special plans now when you return to Argentina?

Well, currently I’m planning on resting, restoring my energy, spending time with my family as during this month I haven’t seen them as much as usual. I’m also spending time with friends.

And if possible, I’d like to return to my routine of playing online, as long as I feel like doing it and have the necessary passion to contend again quickly.

What area of law do you practice and how does poker fit into your schedule?

I have a master’s in business law. I graduated from a prestigious university here in Argentina and I specialize in business law.

Today, I devote a little time to my profession. I do it so that poker wouldn’t take all my energy. I work as a way of keeping myself active, informed, and aware of other areas in life – doing it as a complementary activity and as a personal challenge of being able to give answers in other fields than poker.

While playing poker is amazing and makes me feel great, if you let it absorb you during elite tournaments and allow yourself to be carried away by the game, you’ll be at risk of being conditioned by poker due to the attention it requires, its magnitude, and the energy it demands.

Therefore, I like to do different activities. One of them is to remain active in terms of my given field in business law. 

What advice would give a player new to the game?

Well, my recommendation depends a lot on the person I’m advising. To those who play poker for fun or as a hobby, I would tell them to enjoy the game and have lots of fun.

“Poker is amazing, but always understand it’s just a game and the polarities complement each other. So winning and losing are parts of the same thing, so surrender yourself to the pleasure of playing.”

To those who want to become professional or pseudo-professionals, I would recommend to work hard and study a lot. There are several tools to evolve your skill level, so start using those tools: coaching, online reading material, and videos.

A top tip – I’d say watching the best players in the world in real time is what gives me wisdom in terms of poker. I’ve learned a lot about interpreting the play of the best players in the world. When I’m in a similar situation, I count on these different strategies to counter whatever play I’m up against.

Today, that’s my best learning tool and this is what I advise to more advanced players.

What are your plans for your Main Event winnings?

Well, to be totally honest, I’ve got no concrete plan in mind for the prize. I don’t have any particular idea of what to do with the money.

“I really don’t. As I said before, I don’t play for the money, that’s not my motivation. It’s not what generates the best version of myself. Money is never my priority, neither among the goals I set at the beginning of the year nor has anything to do with my personal growth or my perspective of the results.”

So I have nothing specific, to be honest.

How tough was your heads-up opponent Joseph Hebert?

Joseph was a great adversary, a very hard rival. In many situations either one of us could have won the match. The fact the heads-up took six hours to finish speaks of the complexity and difficulty of my clash with Joseph.

Before the contest, when we were interviewed by ESPN, that was when I realized he was going to be a really hard opponent. Regardless of his skill level, I saw a very confident person, very calm, with aplomb, but not arrogant at all.

This vibe he had spawned my respect from the beginning of the game. Owing to this respect I felt and also honoring his disposition during battle, when I finished playing the first thing I did was respectfully and humbly bow before Joseph because the match was extremely complex.

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How do you think winning this WSOP Main Event compares with winning the normal version of the tournament?

For me, the experience with this hybrid, regardless of my success, was excellent. I’m not talking about the Main Event specifically because the essence of it is to play live. But I think many formats and series of great significance and importance could even be moved, when this pandemic is over, into another relatively similar hybrid format. 

I think it’s a good idea that early stages of big tournaments can be played from the comfort of home without any travel expenses at all. I should think that this could eventually make live poker fields more massive.

I believe people should travel. I’m not saying only for a final table, but when they’re in the money, which ensures no financial loss due to the trip and related expenses. I think it could be great to play a part of the tournament online, and the next stage live. I believe i’́s excellent.

How was the experience on GGPoker? What are your thoughts on playing on the site?

My impression after playing online is that I felt really comfortable playing at GGPoker. I believe the GG poker room values all kinds of players, both amateur and professional. 

The Fish Buffet rewards system reimburses players with a proportion of the earnings they generate. And the more you play, the higher the reimbursement, so it seems it rewards customer loyalty.

“Honestly, everything I have to say regarding my experience playing at GG are words of praise for the platform. Not for nothing has it recently become a worldwide leader in the poker market, with incredible and exponential growth.”

My warmest congratulations to all the people who created GG and help it continue to grow and improve daily.

Anything you would like to add?

Yes, I’d like to add only a sincere feeling I express every day. It is my great appreciation to those who made this possible, who made my dream come true.

Those include GGPoker, the World Series of Poker team, my family and friends, and my colleagues who always for many years have shown me great respect.

And most importantly, thanks to all the Latin American poker community. Not only for this achievement, but for the love and respect expressed during these last 10 years. So I’d like to thank them with all my heart.

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Damian Salas Becomes Latin America’s First WSOP Main Event Champion, Scores $2.55 Million

Damian Salas at the table in the 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event.

South America now has its own World Series of Poker $10,000 Main Event champion. On Sunday, Argentina’s Damian Salas finished off his second deep run in the biggest tournament in poker with a championship bracelet.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Main Event featured a split series with online play and live final tables. The international half played out at GGPoker and the US half played out at WSOP.com.

Salas was the international winner, claiming $1.55 million after topping the final table in the Czech Republic. On Sunday, he faced US champion Joseph Hebert at the Rio in Las Vegas for the title of Main Event champion and an added $1 million

After finishing seventh in the same event in 2017, Salas found some redemption on Sunday. The 45-year-old from Buenos Aires now claims the biggest title in poker as the game’s world champion.

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Argentina’s new WSOP champion

Winning any tournament isn’t easy, but the main event is an even bigger accomplishment. The 2020 Main Event attracted big numbers online at a time when online poker is booming.

At the international final table, Salas defeated Brazil’s Brunno Botteon at King’s Casino to earn his shot in Las Vegas. Defeating Hebert for the ultimate victory didn’t come easily.

Argentina’s Damian Salas shows off his World Series of Poker Main Event championship bracelet. (all photos courtesy WSOP/Melissa Haereiti)

The two players fought it out for 173 hands and over nearly six hours with the lead swinging back and forth. Eventually, Salas vanquished his foe after Hebert moved all in with Ace-Queen.

Salas called with King-Jack and flopped a pair of Kings. The turn card brought no help to Hebert and another King on the river gave Salas the championship.

“Joseph was a very hard opponent, and he played really well,” Salas said. “In a few instances, he was about to win, it was a real fight and he never slowed down. Going into the championship, I felt all the energy and support from my family and friends in Argentina tonight, and that helped me.”

Fulfilling a dream

Back in Argentina, Salas works as an attorney and doesn’t plan on leaving his job. He’s a regular player online and now has more than $3 million in live tournament winnings as well.

Before the event, the two competitors complimented each other and spoke about this year’s unique Main Event. Salas said it would be a dream come true to win a bracelet. 

“I always try to be better and that’s my motivation,” he said about his mindset going into the match.

A family man, Salas credited his wife, children, and friends with his success. He also thanked the Latin American poker community for their support.

Main Event champion Damian Salas and runner-up Joseph Hebert after the final hands plays out in the Rio.

“I feel like they’re here with me,” he said. “I feel like they make me better as a person.”

The new champion now has first bracelet, encrusted with plenty of diamonds. However, the post-match bracelet photos included two pieces of hardware. An additional bracelet crafted by Salas’ daughter was also included.

Big numbers for a big event

Getting to a champion wasn’t easy and there some unique circumstances came with the event. That included one player from China not attending the international final table.

In the US, another player was disqualified and paid ninth-place money after testing COVID-19 positive. In the end, the tournament indeed produced a 2020 champion no matter the obstacles.

How Salas’ championship is remembered remains to be seen. At the very least, his title stands out as an interesting footnote in the event’s 51-year history.

The tournament produced big numbers at GGPoker and WSOP.com. Between the two final tables, four players received payouts of more than $1 million.

Two of those became the first to win seven figures in the regulated US online poker market. Here’s a complete look ta the Main Event numbers:

  • Entries – 1,379
  • Prize pool – $13.2 million plus an extra $1 million for the heads-up match
  • Entries at WSOP.com – 705
  • Prize pool at WSOP.com – $6.8 million
  • Entries at GGPoker – 674
  • Prize pool at GGPoker – $6.5 million

STAKE WITH SIZZLE: GGPoker Staking Feature Brings Easy Online Option for Backing Other Players

GGPoker staking feature is exclusive to the site and has become a popular option.

Poker backing deals are probably as old as the game itself. A well-heeled player might peel off a few bucks to back a fellow player, landing a bit of skin in another player’s game.

The practice has grown in recent years to players even seeking some “investment” in online events. GGPpker has recognized this growing trend and made it even easier.

Players on the site can make use of the staking feature to back others on the platform. It’s a simple way to take out a sweat in another player – and possibly win some money without even playing.

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What is poker staking and why is it popular?

Those new to the world of poker staking may be asking: why stake other players at all?First of all, there’s some fun that comes with staking some other players.

Daniel Negreanu

Backers can follow their “horses” throughout an event to have a fun sweat. Seeing one of those players streamed at a final table makes it even more fun.

Backing another player also offers a chance at some winnings should that player run deep. Seeing a nice score for the player means spreading the winnings around to all those backers.

For a player selling action, backing means minimizing his risk. That player may be able to play in a bigger event by selling a chunk of his action.

GG ambassadors Daniel Negreanu or Felipe Ramos may even seek out some action. A big name player’s score also means some dollars coming the way of those who staked him as well. Regular online grinders can also get in the staking game as well.

“The staking feature on GGPoker is cutting edge and incredibly user friendly,” Negreanu tells PokerScout. “I truly love it. Whether you are looking to buy or sell action, you can do it all very easily in the client and when the player cashes in a tournament, the funds are updated immediately.”

The staking feature has also been popular with poker streamers, allowing viewers to check out their play. Staking also tends to make players focus on their best play with others’ money also on the line.

“You can set your own price, how much you want to sell, and even put a cap on how much anyone can buy,” Negreanu says. “This is really helpful for streamers who want to give fans a chance to have a piece of the action while they watch. I did it regularly during WSOP.”

Staking other players at GGPoker

So how does staking at GGPoker work? The ability to back others is integrated directly into the software and mobile app. Exclusive to GG, this is the first online poker feature to facilitate players buying others’ action.

“It’s very popular and in any given tournament there will be a range of players seeking stakes and others staking them,” GGPoker spokesman Paul Burke says.

The process is pretty simple. Players first just need to visit any tournament lobby to back someone in an event. 

The staking tab is found in the lobby of all eligible events. Backers pay a proportion of a player’s entry fee with an added player-defined margin (also known as markup).

A look at the GGPoker tournament lobby staking tab, for Felipe Ramos in this case.

Backers pay the full amount of the stakes they buy, which are purchased in increments of 1%. This can decrease to as little as 0.1% for events with a buy-in of $5,000 and above..

Once a stake is purchased, the transaction becomes non-refundable except when:

  • the seller subsequently cancels the sale or unregisters from the tournament
  • a tournament is cancelled for unforeseen circumstances

Selling action using the feature

Average Joe and Janes can also list some of their own action for sale. Once registered for a tournament, players go to the tournament lobby and use the staking panel to list their action.

After registering for a tournament, sellers set the percentage of their play for sale as well as the markup. Players can value their action as they see fit and sell throughout the tournament registration period. Sellers can cancel a sale at any time during this period.

A look at how players can buy action from another players on the site.

Once a player opts to sell action, a staking profile page will be accessible to potential backers. The profile provides information on a player’s performance.

Potential bakers can check the history of any player selling action to gauge potential success.

What does a staking deal look like?

Imagine a fictitious player named Johnny GG is looking to sell some action. He’s registering for a $10 event, but some backers might be nice to cover that entry fee.

Johnny then sets how much he’d like to sell in the staking tab of the event lobby. Perhaps he’s looking for backers to cover 50% of his entry at a markup of 2x.

A backer purchases 5% for $1. If Johnny cashes for $100, then the backer receives the equivalent percentage of winnings purchased. In this case, the backer receives 5% of the total payout – $5.

Players can sell up to 90% of their action and there’s no fee charged to players for using the feature. Many in the industry have stressed the need to bring the fun back to poker. GG seems to have done its part to add some extra entertainment to the poker mix.

GGPoker’s staking feature has now moved beyond the traditional notion of poker backing. Players surviving past the first day in phased tournaments can also sell some pieces of themselves.

Staking is now available on Day 2 of some events. This makes following a player’s action a bit more fun as cashing is now even closer.

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GG staking success stories

Those looking for some staking action in major events will usually find plenty of opportunities. All 54 of this summer’s World Series of Poker Online bracelet events utilized the staking feature.

The nine multi-day Phase tournaments have also used the recently-introduced Day 2 staking option as well. GGPoker staking has produced some nice scores for players.

Staking Fedor Holz in the WSOP Online at GGPoker paid off in a big way recently for 136 backers. (photo courtesy Poker Central)

The best overall result came during the WSOP Online. GGPoker ambassador Fedor Holz took the title in the $25,000 Heads Up event.

Holz sold 77.5% of his action to 130 investors at a markup of 1.15. Those players bought chucks of  between 0.1% and 10.3%.

After scoring $1.1 million, all players won 36 times their investment. That meant a 0.1% stake of $28.75 turned into $1,089. That was certainly a “good game” for backers.

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HYBRID HEROICS: Argentina’s Damian Salas Conquers GGPoker Portion of WSOP Main Event

Damian Salas GGPoker WSOP Main Event winner

One down, one to go. Half of the online/live hybrid World Series of Poker $10,000 Main Event final table wrapped up on Tuesday at GGPoker with Argentina’s Damian Salas coming out on top.

For his efforts, Salas takes home almost $1.6 million. Family was close to his heart as he played. Salas carried a photo of his wife and three children throughout the final table.

His daughter Sol also made him a bracelet, which he wore at the table. Friends and family followed the updates back home in Argentina, where he works as a lawyer.

“I was already a winner because I received all this energy,” he told WSOP.com. “I want to thank all my friends, my wife, and my children. I cannot say enough thank you for all the support I have received.”

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Salas locks up a trip to Las Vegas for a heads-up battle against the winner of the WSOP.com half of the Main Event. Those two will play for $1 million on Dec. 30 at the Rio. The championship bracelet will also be on the line in Vegas

Returning to the WSOP Main Event spotlight

A spot at the Main Event final table is nothing new for Salas. In 2017, he took seventh in the Main Event for $1.4 million. He’s now topped that with a shot to add another nice chunk to his total. 

While the WSOP.com half has reached the final table, play won’t resume at the Rio until Dec. 28. Salas entered the final table third in chips. Brazil’s Brunno Botteon came in as chip leader, followed by Portugal’s Manuel Ruivo.

Those were all still in contention when play was whittled down to three players. The final began with only eight players when China’s Peiyuan Sun declined to make the trip.

After Ruivo was sent to the rail, heads-up play commenced between Salas and Botteon. Salas began with 24 million in chips to Botteon’s 14 million.

Botteon scored two quick pots to bring the matchup close to even and then later took a small lead. However, Salas later won a nice pot with a straight to regain the lead and added more pots as well.

The final hand saw both players see a flop of K♣4♣2♥. After checking, the turn brought the 4♥. Botteon checked and Salas bet 1 million.

However, Botteon raised the action to 2.8 million and his opponent called. The river brought the 8♣ and Botteon moved all in for his last 6.65 million.

Salas thought quite a bit before making the call with K♦8♥ for top two pairs. Botteon tabled 7♥3♥ for an unsuccessful bluff. He took home almost $1.1 million as runner-up.

Here’s a look at the complete final table payouts.

GGPoker WSOP Main Event 2020 Results

PlaceWinnerCountryPayout
1st*Damian SalasArgentina$1,550,969
2ndBrunno BotteonBrazil$1,062,723
3rdManuel RuivoPortugal$728,177
4thRamon Miquel MunozSpain$498,947
5thMarco StredaSwitzerland$341,879
6thDominykas MikolaitisLithuania$234,255
7thStoyan ObreshkovBulgaria$160,512
8thHannes SpeiserAustria$109,982
9thPeiyuan SunChina$75,360
* Plays heads-up in Las Vegas Dec. 30 for $1 million.
 

A look at the GGPoker final table winner

The lawyer from Argentina showed plenty of patriotism at the final table. Salas showed off the flag of his home country throughout play.

The win comes as a bit of vindication after finishing seventh in the Main Event three years ago. He also finished runner-up twice this summer during the WSOP Online at GGPoker.

Those scores plus a sixth-place finish already totaled more than $1 million from that series. He now has a considerable addition to that.

Damian Salas celebrates after winning the GGPoker half of the WSOP $10,000 Main Event. (photos courtesy WSOP)

With the top two finishers both from South America, the performance exemplifies poker’s growth on the continent. That includes more winners in the online poker realm in recent years.

Salas has been a big part of that. Despite the success on the felt, he’ll continue working as an attorney – just one with quite a poker bankroll.

“I don’t want to spend all my energy playing poker,” he said afterward. “I like to take my time to also do other things and not just poker.”

With a big heads-up battle looming, however, some of those plans might have to wait until the new year.

What’s ahead now for the WSOP Main Event?

With the GGPoker half wrapped up, the Main Event focus now shifts to the US. American players battled it out online at WSOP.com in Nevada and New Jersey on Sunday and Monday.

Louisiana’s Joseph Hebert leads that final table with twice the chips of the player closest to him. Three-time bracelet winner Upeshka De Silva, of Texas, may be the biggest name remaining in the field.

De Silva has $3.1 million in live tournament winnings. However, he sits on a short stack in eighth and will need to get some traction early when play resumes.

Here’s a look at the final table in the WSOP.com half of the Main Event:

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WSOP Main-Event 2020 US Final Table

PositionNameChipsHometownResumé
1stJoseph Hebert13,052,534Metairie, Louisiana• $668,000 in live tournament winnings
• Biggest cash (2013) – 2nd in WSOPC New Orleans Main Event for $140,932
2ndShawn Stroke5,252,000Lawrence, New York• $68,175 in live tournament winnings
• Biggest cash (2013) – 2nd in $365 WSOP.com Online event for $94,265
3rdRyan Hagerty5,071,572Somerset, New Jersey• $341,128 in live tournament winnings
• WPTDeepstacks winner (2019) – $70,865
4thYe Yuan4,829,459Madison, Wisconsin• $6,774 in live tournament winnings
5thMichael Cannon4,408,847Harrisburg, Pennsylvania• $184,584 in live tournament winnings
• Took 9th in WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open in 2019 for $ 72,842
6thGershon Distenfeld3,475,481Bergenfield, New Jersey• $10,375 in live tournament winnings
• 7th in a WPTDeepstacks event in 2019
7thRon Jenkins2,476,746Los Angeles, California• $388,819 in live tournament winnings
• Won $225 event at the Bicycle Casino in 2010 for $70,012
8thUpeshka De Silva2,151,969Katy, Texas• $3.1 million in live tournament winnings
• 3 WSOP bracelets
9thHarrison Dobin1,581,392West Long Beach, New Jersey• $101,125 in live tournament winnings
• 8 cashes in recent WSOP Online at GGPoker

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PokerStars Kicking It with Neymar Jr; Brazilian Football Star Returns With New Ambassador Deal

Neymar Jr. has joined PokerStars as an ambassador.

Already a star on the pitch, Brazilian football icon Neymar Jr. also hopes to bring plenty of stardom to the poker world. On Tuesday, PokerStars announced a new partnership and collaboration that will be seen “across many aspects of the brand.”

With Neymar’s off the field passion for poker and gaming, PokerStars officials see the agreement as a perfect match. In a news release, the company announced that Neymar will bring his flair and personality to the online and live tables.

As part of the deal, PokerStars gains a name recognized around the world. Bringing in new players to the game has been a major push in the industry in recent years. Neymar offers the site an opportunity to reach fans of the world’s most popular sport.

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“Neymar Jr is a true global superstar,” PokerStars global director of brand and creative Martin Nieri said in a news release. “But what underpins this partnership is his genuine love for poker. It’s about a shared passion for the game and the beautiful uncertainty at the heart of it.

“At PokerStars, we are constantly trying new things to bring new energy, excitement, and entertainment to our customers. Together with Neymar Jr we believe we can take this to the next level for the PokerStars community.”

What’s planned for Neymar at PokerStars?

The announcement marks the start of Neymar’s new chapter with PokerStars. He previously served as a brand ambassador in the past and has now rejoined the fold.

The signing follows a recent global brand refresh for PokerStars. The company hopes to move beyond “just product” in a bid to become an international entertainment brand.

Those efforts included PokerStars’ first dedicated safer gambling television ads. The site’s responsible gaming team was one of the first in the industry.

Neymar brings name recognition for the site and adds to those rebranding efforts. In recent years, poker sites have moved beyond merely poker pros as brand ambassadors.

A football star who can convert soccer fans to poker players could pay big dividends. Company officials must see the agreement having an impact after bringing him back on board a second time.

“As a true poker fan, I am excited to start a new chapter with PokerStars,” Neymar said. “Together we’ll be creating moments for our community and fans all over the world.”

Neymar at the poker table

Beyond simply adding a name however, Neymar represents an athlete who really enjoys poker. He’s jumped in a few PokerStars live events through the years.

In 2018, Neymar finished sixth in a $1,400 side event at the Brazilian Series of Poker for $21,072. In May, he finished 12th in a $2,100 PokerStars SCOOP (Spring Championship of Online Poker) event for $6,700.

Football superstar Neymar Jr. loves playing poker and has rejoined PokerStars as a brand ambassador.

“When I’m not playing football, I love playing cards,” Neymar said in announcing his new role with the company.

“Competing with my friends is a huge passion of mine, I love the sense of community, the fun, and the unpredictable moments that can occur in any game.”

Reaching a growing Brazilian market as well

Beyond the global aspects of reaching new players, adding a Brazilian star could also be important. The country has become a growing poker market with many players scoring in major international online poker events.

That played out on Tuesday, with Brazilian Brunno Botteon taking runner-up in the international half of the World Series of Poker Main Event for $1.1 million.

Neymar adds real name recognition in a country of 210 million where football is a real passion. His involvement offers opportunities for expansion in the land of samba and sun.

PokerStars hasn’t named many specifics yet on Neymar’s role just yet however. The company notes in a news release: “This is only the start of the journey with more to be revealed in 2021.”

WSOP $10,000 Main Event Reaches Final Table at GGPoker, Winner Scores $1.55 Million

After four days of play that included three starting flights, the final table is now set on the international side of the World Series of Poker $10,000 Main Event.

Play wrapped up on Monday at GGPoker and Brazil’s Brunno Botteon leads those returning. He’ll be looking for a first-place payout of $1.55 million

The series announced in November that there would be two final tables with play held initially online. The WSOP.com half for US players follows on Dec. 13.

With the GGPoker side out of the way, poker fans now know what to expect at the final table.

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Analyzing the WSOP GGPoker final table 

The GGPoker Main Event tournament produced a field of 674 players and a $6.5 million prize pool. Chip leader Botteon is no stranger to poker success, especially at GG.

While he may have only $78,000 in live tournament winnings, Botteon’s scored significant cash online. He was a regular in this summer’s WSOP Online, which brought some huge scores including:

  • $500 Limit Hold’em – runner-up for $41,855
  • $25,000 Poker Players Championship – sixth for $388,837
  • $25,000 NLHE Heads-Up – runner-up for $622,300

After those big runs, Botteon will be looking to add a win in the biggest tournament around. It won’t be easy and he faces some tough competition.

Portugal’s Manuel Ruivo in second and Argentina’s Damian Salas sit just behind Botteon. Ruivo has $745,000 in live tournament winnings and also significant online scores.

In 2018, he won the $5,300 partypoker MILLIONS Online for $2.3 million. Salas has $2.7 million in live tournament winnings, including a huge bullet point point on his resumé. In 2017, Salas took seventh in the $10,000 WSOP Main Event for $1.4 million.

The first player eliminated from the final table in ninth will earn $75,360. Blinds will be at 100,000/200,000 with a 20,000 ante when play resumes. Here’s a look at the complete final table:

2020 WSOP Main Event GGPoker Final Table

Position PlayerCountryChips
1stBrunno BotteonBrazil10,317,743
2ndManuel RuivoPortugal6,213,759
3rdDamian SalasArgentina5,653,528
4th“fullbabyfull”Liechtenstein4,232,560
5thHannes SpeiserAustria3,515,744
6thDominykas MikolaitisLithuania3,165,440
7thRamon Miquel MunozSpain3,035,940
8thPeiyuan SunChina2,185,676
9thStoyan ObreshkovBulgaria2,119,610

What’s next for the WSOP Main Event?

GG paused the action with the first final table set. The action shifts to live play at King’s Casino in the Czech Republic on Dec. 15.

The US final table will be played on Dec. 28 at the Rio in Las Vegas. The American side of the event will play out over three days in the states of Nevada and New Jersey.

Each property will pay out winners separately and the two final players will meet at the Rio. Caesars and GGPoker are putting up $1 million for the winner-take-all heads-up battle.

Both final tables will be filmed for broadcast on ESPN as well as the heads-up duel.

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