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Stoyan Madanzhiev Claims $3.9M+ in WSOP Main Event Win

Logo of the World Series of Poker

Stoyan Madanzhiev of Bulgaria, a relative unknown in professional poker circles, has picked up the first place finish in the World Series of Poker Main Event to grab a huge prize of $3,904,686. Madanzhiev managed to outlast China’s Wenling Gao in the final head-to-head, but she still left the tournament with $2,748,605 for her efforts. The final day of poker action came on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020. This concluded almost three weeks of play with the No Limit Hold’em Main Event beginning on Sunday, Aug. 16 and featuring 23 starting flights.

WSOP 2020 Main Event

This year’s 51st annual WSOP was postponed and then moved over to the online sphere due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It featured a series of 85 tournaments hosted by two online poker sites. While 31 of the tourneys took place on, the remaining 54, including the Main Event, were held on GGPoker.

The Final Hand

Black Check Mark

The final match up between Madanzhiev and Gao saw both players essentially tied. Gao had just slightly less than a one big blind advantage over Madanzhiev at the beginning, but the savvy Bulgarian was able to chip up fairly rapidly. He built his chip advantage to more than 2:1 by the time the final hand was dealt.

Stoyan MadanzhievStoyan Madanzhiev, 2020 WSOP Main Event Champ

Gao managed to pick up AA and proceeded to min-raise to 1,600,000. This saw Madanzhiev take the decision to defend his big blind with 76o, and he flopped in a big way as the 3s 4h 5c flop gave him the nut straight. Gao raised to 3,944,000 from the Bulgarian’s 1,700,00 bet, and then Madanzhiev called.

The 8h turn brought no change as Stoyan still had the best possible hand on that board. It didn’t take Madanzhiev long to check, but Gao bet 5,644,000. This led to Madanzhiev check-raising to 15,040,000, and after a little deliberation, Gao went all-in (about 81 million) with her aces overpair. Stoyan called this oversized bet, and it was all over in an instant.

While Stoyan Madanzhiev secured his first-place finish and his first WSOP bracelet, Wenling Gao fell at the final hurdle to miss out on one for herself. That being said, with this finish, she has increased her lifetime tournament earnings to about $3.4 million.

Wenling GaoWenling Gao, 2020 WSOP Main Event Runner-Up

Series Held Online for the First Time


The original schedule for the 2020 World Series of Poker was supposed to see it begin on May 26 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Yet, with the ongoing worldwide pandemic, the decision was taken to postpone the event to the fall of 2020. Prior to the postponement, 101 bracelets were to be up for grabs in the series.

However, as time went on, it appeared that holding a live series this year would prove impossible, and in June, the 2020 World Series of Poker Online was announced. The new schedule saw the series begin on July 1 and continue running until September. A total of 5,802 entries (at $5,000 apiece) were recorded for the Main Event, and this saw it destroy the $25,000,000 guarantee, generating a fund of $27,559,500 and thereby creating the largest tournament prize pool in online poker history.

The win by Madanzhiev was the largest victory in his own poker career. Prior to the 2020 WSOP Online series, his largest recorded live tournament cash was 14th position in the 2019 Merit Poker Western Tournament $2,200 buy-in Main Event for $10,800.

Naturally, Madanzhiev was surprised and overwhelmed with his first-place victory, and he will go down in history as the first ever WSOP Online Main Event champion too. Taking to his social media to celebrate in the first moments after securing his victory, he seemed unable to speak intelligibly, instead communicating his delight in short, monosyllabic almost-words.

The Monetary Figures

Of the 5,802 players who entered the Main Event, only 38 made it to the final day. The top 9 finishers all claimed winnings of over $200,000 as well with the total prize pool standing at $27,559,500. A total of 728 participants won a prize of at least $11,834.

The final table winnings break down as follows:

Finish PosNameCountryPrize
1Stoyan MadanzhievBulgaria$3,904,686
2Wenling GaoChina$2,748,605
3Tyler RuegerUSA$1,928,887
4Thomas WardNew Zealand$1,353,634
5Satoshi IsomaeJapan$949,937
6Joao SantosBrazil$666,637
7Stefan SchillhabelGermany$467,825
8Tyler CornellUSA$328,305
9Samuel TaylorUSA$230,395

Enhance your Own Online Poker Play

Global Money Computer

This may have been the very first time that the World Series of Poker has been held online, and it potentially won’t happen again this way assuming the COVID-19 pandemic peters out. However, even if we do see a recurring virtual WSOP, most American players will not be able to join in the festivities.

This year's Main Event was hosted by GGPoker, which does not accept Americans. Even the preliminary events, accessible through the online cardroom, were only available to those physically located in either New Jersey or Nevada. Thus, the vast majority of individuals in the United States were unable to buy in to series events.

Fortunately, there are various offshore poker platforms that cater to gamers based within the United states of America though perhaps none of them have the brand recognition and cachet of the WSOP. We have created a collection of recommended rooms, so why not browse through a guide to the top USA online poker sites? From there, you can locate the internet poker room that works best for you.