- Joined ESPN in 2014
- Journalist covering gambling industry since 2008
Stoyan Madanzhiev of Bulgaria won $3.9 million, the largest prize in online poker history, by outlasting the field in the main event of the World Series of Poker international series Saturday night.
On the final hand, Madanzhiev flopped a straight and cracked the pocket aces of second-place finisher Wenling Gao of China, who won $2.7 million. American Tyler Rueger finished third, winning $1.9 million, and Thomas Ward took home $1.35 million for fourth.
The international series was hosted on GGPoker.com after the coronavirus pandemic forced the traditional World Series of Poker tournament in Las Vegas to be postponed. There were 5,802 entries into the $5,000 buy-in main event, creating a $27.6 million prize pool, the largest in online poker history.
Players were allowed to buy in three times during the early rounds of the main event and were required to be physically located in a jurisdiction that allowed online poker. Tournament officials said some American participants relocated to Mexico or Canada to take part in the tournament.
The main event was narrowed to 38 players entering Saturday’s final round. American Bryan Piccioli had the chip lead entering the final round but finished 23rd.
The 2020 WSOP was slated to take place at the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas starting in May but was postponed in April because of the pandemic and has yet to be rescheduled.
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