The 2020 World Series of Poker (WSOP) $5,000 buy-in Main Event finally came to a close over the weekend and it was Stoyan Madanzhiev who walked away as the winner after taking home a whopping $3,904,686 for this first place finish alongside his maiden WSOP bracelet.
The Bulgarian poker pro’s historic win didn’t come easy, as he had to deal with some challenges during the final day.
A total of 38 players returned for a final battle on September 5, with Bryan Piccioli leading the chips.
But his dominance was short-lived, as he busted in 23rd place, alongside many other big names who had to leave the table early, including Jonas Lauck and Michael Lech who finished in 34th and 31st place respectively, as well as Samuel Vousden and Benjamin Rolle who fell short of reaching the final table after exiting in 12th and 11th place respectively.
Final Table Recap
The nine-handed final table began with Tyler Rueger holding the chip lead, with Madanzhiev not far behind in second place. The first player to bust was Samuel Taylor after running his set of nines ran into the turned set of aces of eventual runner-up Wenling Gao. Taylor walked away with $230,395 for finishing ninth.
Tyler Cornell moved all of his remaining chips in with AdJs, against Tyler Rueger’s QdJc. While Cornell initially held the superior hand, Rueger luckily picked up a queen on the flop, which held on through the river and eventually eliminated Cornell in eighth place for $328,305.
German pro Stefan Schillhabel may be the most accomplished player to make it to the final table with almost $9.4 million in tournament earnings, but his final table journey ended abruptly, after losing a preflop coin flip against Gao. The high-stakes pro settled for 7th place with $467,825 in winnings. He was followed to the rail by Brazil’s Joao Santos and Japan’s Satoshi Isomae who finished 6th ($666,637) and 5th (949,937) respectively.
Soon after, it was Thomas Ward‘s turn to go, losing all-in against Gao. The Kiwi took home $1,353,634 for finishing 4th and became the first player to leave the table with at least $1 million in winnings. Subsequent play was fast paced, and in a matter of minutes, Rueger hit the rail in 3rd place, taking home $1,928,887.
Heads-up play began with both Madanzhiev and Gao essentially even in chips, but the Bulgarian eventually built his stack as play progressed. When the final hand was dealt, he was ahead by 2:1. His winning moment came when Gao moved all in with pocket aces which he quickly called with the nut straight. Gao earned $2,748,605 for finishing in second place.