The partypoker dream of turning a micro buy-in into a big score came true recently in the $5,300 WPT World Online Championships Main Event. Thousands of players took part in centroll satellites to earn a seat in the championship event.
Nikolay Gorbunov was one of those and scored big after advancing through each qualifying level. He turned a single penny into a Main Event seat and then went on to finish 99th for $13,027.
“Partypoker’s centrolls are a great way to play poker as a beginner,” he told the partypoker blog. “I play them all the time, in addition to other freerolls and satellites from $0.55. I’ve played them for about two years as a way to try and build my bankroll.”
Earning a partypoker WPT seat for a single cent
Earning a WPT entry for a penny certainly isn’t easy, but Gorbunov shows that it is possible. A player must advance through several qualifying levels.
However, things moved quickly for Gorbunov. His entire run took place in a single day and he was right in the Main Event. The quick turnaround removed some of the stress of being in such a major event however.
“The first day was great in terms of emotions,” he says. “I stacked Benjamin Rolle with Aces in the blinds – he caught top pair on the flop. Day 1A saw my stack become very short because I simply wanted to get into the prizes, and I played very tight because the pressure to cash was great.”
Gorbunov advanced to Day 2, but his run came to an end. Down to 11 big blinds, he moved all in with Ace-Jack but was called by a player with a dominating Ace-King. While disappointed to bow out, Gorbunov was thrilled with the result.
“I have already bought myself a car from the prize money, although it is rather inexpensive and not new,” he says. “I will probably play slightly higher stakes, increasing my average buy-in to $5.”
Formula 1 superfan wins massive racing package for Italian Grand Prix
That has meant some opportunities for the company’s online poker players to win some exclusive trackside prizes. Ross Cartwright was one of the first winners when his name was drawn. He scored $5,000 and a VIP trip for two to the famous Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
Cartwright loves F1 and is a McLaren fan as well, making him a great fit for the prize. He and his fiancee Jordan head to England’s Silverstone race track every year, camping throughout the week and watching the British Grand Prix.
“I started watching F1 in the late ‘80s,” he said. “My dad used to watch the races on Sunday, and he’d sometimes let me get up early to watch the flyaway races in Japan and Australia.
“I was instantly hooked by the Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost battles. Then I was a big follower of Nigel Mansell and then Damon Hill. I used to love it when the underdog teams won the race, such as Jordan at Spa.”
The pair were treated to numerous special events, excellent meals, and great seats for the race. They also met racing legends and the McLaren team including CEO Zak Brown.
“Overall, it was the dream experience,” Cartwright said. “Due to COVID, I didn’t expect to be able to be so close to the drivers or actually meet them.
“In the end, we did so much more. Hats off to McLaren, who really do look after their fans, especially us. We experienced and saw so much that it was hard to keep up at times. It was definitely a dream come true.”
Grand Prix underway at partypoker
The racing vibes continue this month at partypoker. The Grand Prix KO Series runs Sept. 19 – Oct. 4 with 16 progressive knockout events.
Buy-ins for the series range from $5.50 to $530. Players will find a two-day $109 Main Event beginning on Sept. 26. That event comes with a $500,000 guarantee and partypoker once again is offering centroll qualifiers.
Perhaps another player will make a deep run as Gorbunov did in the WPT World Online Championships. For a complete look at the Grand Prix, click here.
* Photos courtesy partypoker