Prior to joining the 2020 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Online Bracelet Series, Bulgarian poker pro Stoyan Madanzhiev had just over $31,000 in total live tournament earnings, with his best live cash of $10,800 coming from the 2019 Merit Poker Western Tournament. Now, he’s able to surpass all of these figures following his massive victory in the $5,000 WSOP Online Main Event where he won $3,904,686.
The Main Event attracted a huge field of 5,802 players across 23 starting flights, which was later reduced to just 38 before players took a week-long break to prepare for the final battle. The massive turnout generated $27,559,500 in total prize pool, creating history as the biggest-ever total prize money to be awarded in online poker history.
The 2020 WSOP Online festival awarded a total of 85 bracelets across more than two months of intense online action. The festival took place on and GGPoker.
Final Action 
The remaining 38 players at the 2020 WSOP Main Event returned to the table on September 5, with Bryan Piccioli as the chip leader. The American poker pro was looking to book his second WSOP gold bracelet, but that goal did not come into fruition as Piccioli became one of the early casualties, finishing in 23rd  place. Other prominent names such as Michael Lech, Akadiy Tsinis, Benjamin Rolle, and Samuel Vousden also failed to advance further.
The nine-handed final table kicked off with American poker pro Tyler Rueger holding the chip advantage, and Madanzhiev carrying the second largest stack. The first knock out of the final table took place when Samuel Taylor ran his set of nines into Wenling Gao’s turned set of aces. Taylor then moved all in on the river, but Gao’ cards held, sending him to the rail in ninth place for $320,395.
The next player to fall was Tyler Cornell who put of all his remaining chips in the middle with AdJs against Tyler Rueger’s QdJc. For a moment, Cornell thought he was going to win it, only to find out that his opponent found a queen on the flop which led to his elimination. Cornell walked away with $328,305 for finishing eighth.
There were high expectations for high-stakes regular Stefan Schillhabel to ultimately end up at the top, given his impressive tournament record, but unfortunately he’s still several steps away from victory when he ended his bid in seventh place for $467,825. His exit was mainly due to a lost preflop coin flip against Gao. Six-handed play saw two players eliminated in quick succession.
The first was Joao Santos who three-bet jammed Ah2c, prompting a call from Rueger who held AdKh. The latter’s cards held through the end and Santos settled for sixth place with $666,636 in winnings. Japanese player Satoshi Isomae was the next to go following a failed bluff against the eventual winner. Isomae earned $949,937 for his 5th-place finish.
Thomas Ward later moved all of his chips in with pocket sixes, only to be called by Gao who had pocket sevens. Neither of the cards improved through the river and the bigger pair held, sending Ward out of the game in fourth place for $1,353,634.
The fast-paced action continued through to three-handed play, with Gao raising to 1,400,000 on the button with KhKd. Rueger three-bet to 4,395,000 after getting AhQ in the big blind. The battle ultimately led to a snap call by Gao, and after the board, it was Rueger who had to leave the table in third place, earning $1,928,887.
Quick Heads-Up Battle
Gao entered heads-up play with just a slight lead over Madanzhiev. The eventual winner got the nut straight against his opponent’s AdAc. Gao eventually decided to move all in with her pocket aces, and Madanzhiev quickly called. And just like that, even the river couldn’t save Gao’s cards, and so she settled as runner-up for $2,748,605.
Madanzhiev’s victory gave him his very first gold bracelet; Gao’s impressive run also earned her the largest score of her career.

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