In the $1,050 Mini Main Event, five players made the final table – winning a total of $1.5 million among them. Arturs Balodis claimed the most of that, finishing third for $535,269 after players reached a final table deal.
Balodis spun a $55 Gladiator ticket into a massive payday. That was just one of several satellite success stories. Play also shifted to Day 1B of the Main Event on Sunday and more qualifiers are hoping to follow in Balodis’s footsteps.
Satellites bring major scores in Mini Main
When the Mini Main Event wrapped up, Brazil’s Renan Carlos Bruschi took the title for $504,582. After the final four players reached a deal, play continued for the title and an extra $50,000. Bruschi beat Moldova’s Nichita Verbitchi heads up for the title.
A few other success stories stand out from the final table. Verbitchii won his seat from an $11 Terminator qualifier and took home $339,607 as runner-up.
Liviu-Rodrig Bartha, of Romania, finished fourth for $472,867 after buying into a $109 satellite. Russia’s Ravil Tlimisov finished eight for $55,425 after qualifying through a $22 Big Bounty Hunter.
Ninth-place finisher Tobias Koerper won a seat via an $11 buy-in Terminator and cashed for $45,600. The tournament attracted 4,600 players and featured a $5 million guarantee.
Other partypoker players go low to win big
Those players in the Mini weren’t the only ones to bag big scores from small buy-ins. Luiz Constantino, of Brazil, took down the $109 WPT Micro Main Event for $148,985.
A Second Chance Freeroll ticket gave her an opportunity. Figueiredo made the best of it, finishing third in the $109 Six-Max Mini Warm Up for $13,153.
“One of the most memorable moments was when I realized that Team partypoker’s Matthew Staples was broadcasting our table on Twitch,” she told partypoker.com.
“I was a little apprehensive at first, but when I saw the comments made by Matthew and other people watching I felt very happy.”
The cash certainly left her happy as well. In the $3,200 WPT Knockout Championship, Daniel Smyth scored the ultimate satellite dream. This player from the United Kingdom grabbed an entry via a $33 satellite and went on to take the title.
Say hello to your new @WPT Champion, Daniel Smyth! After qualifying from a $33 satellite Daniel had an incredible run at the final table and played hard against some of the worlds best. He takes home over $413k for his efforts. Congratulations Dan! pic.twitter.com/ngNQmLsbYq
— partypoker (@partypoker) August 18, 2020
For his efforts, Smyth earned $208,803 plus $204,588 in bouncy cash. He also earned a $15,000 seat to the next WPT Tournament of Champions.
“It feels super,” Smyth told the partypoker blog. “The WPT is the most well known and respected poker tour in my opinion and to become a champion is something I’m very proud of. This victory comes 10 years after my best previous result and certainly trumps my [PokerStars] Sunday Million victory. To beat the best of the best in a high buy-in event gives me great confidence.”
Another big satellite run in Main Event
There is still plenty of action left in the World Online Championships. Day 1B of the Main Event kicked off on Sunday and concludes on Wednesday.
The tournament is the highlight of the festival and features a $10 million guarantee. That flight also featured another interesting satellite story.
Willyam Esmeril, of Brazil, played after winning his way into the Main Event. Esmeril won a promotional tournament entry while watching the WOCs on the partypoker Twitch channel.
However, he had a play money account and needed to deposit at least $10 to activate the ticket. After making that deposit, Esmeril played some $0.55 WOC qualifiers to work on his skills.
In one of those he won an $11 seat, which led to a $109 seat and then a $1,050 ticket. In the $1,050 satellite, Esmeril then earned his $10,300 Main Event seat after a huge run at the tables.
“Play the same way, keep calm, and let’s go,” he remembers telling himself before the $1,050 event, via an interview on the partypoker Twitch channel.
That run came to an end on Sunday, but it was quite a week for Esmeril. Other satellite winners will be hoping to carry the qualifier banner in the Main Event this week.
WPT partypoker series continues this week with Main Event and more
The WOCs run through Sept. 24 with a total guarantee of $100 million. The WOCs are designed to replicate an authentic live poker experience.
Players’ real names are used and there are a maximum of two Day 1s for championship events. A maximum of one re-entry is allowed per day.
In addition, partypoker and WPT have included some added value for championship event winners including:
- $15,000 WPT Tournament of Champions entries for each of the five biggest championship events
- Hublot watches valued at $7,500 and $15,000 for the Main Event
- Baccarat Crystal awarded to each winner valued at $2,500
- $5,000 TOC travel packages for each winner