2020 WSOP Main Event – Natural8: Day 1C top dog Senthuran “Prodigal Sen” Vijayaratnam amasses overall lead; 179 to battle for final 9 ticket to Rozvadov; Alexandros Kolonias in the running

As expected, the final starting day of the 51st World Series of Poker Main Event assembled the largest field as numerous WSOP decorated players, pros, and satellite winners rushed in for a chance at this year’s coveted title. After 11 rounds of late registration, the US$ 10,000 buy in championship freezeout event attracted 257 players into Day 1C with 75 moving onward to Day 2. Absolutely crushing the field was Canada’s Senthuran Vijayaratnam “Prodigal Sen” with a massive 966,714 stacked. He will enter the next stage as the overall chip leader. 2019 WSOPE Main Event champion Alexandros Kolonias also survived the day’s heat along with five other WSOP decorated champions namely Alexandru Papazian, Sung Joo Hyun “ArtePokertv”, Christopher Frank “Mangudai”, Gediminas Uselis “NeverGambol”, and Jonas Lauck. Read up on our Day 1C recap down below.

In just several hours, the hunt for the Main Event title continues. Day 2 gets rolling on December 8 @ 02:00 HKT with a combined 179 players returning to Natural8 – GG Network to battle for a coveted Final 9 seat and a piece of the US$ 6,470,400 prize pool.

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2020 WSOP Main Event – Day 2 info

After three starting days, the international segment of the 2020 WSOP Main Event drew 674 players and at US$ 10,000 each, it built a handsome multi million dollar prize pool of US$ 6,470,400. The race is now down to 179 players with only 80 guaranteed money. Day 2 will wrap up once the Final 9 is formed.

Buy in: US$ 10,000
Game: No Limit Hold’em Freezeout
Players: 674
Prize Pool: US$ 6,470,400
Day 2 qualifiers: 179
ITM: 80 places

Day 1A: 62 advanced out of 246 players
Day 1B: 42 advanced out of 171 players
Day 1C: 75 advanced out of 257 players
Day 2: Tuesday, December 8 @ 02:00 HKT

To adjust to the current global health crisis, this year’s format was tweaked with a very unique format. For the first time in history, the Main Event was a hybrid tournament running on two online platforms before transitioning to the live felt. International action is hosted on Natural8 – GGNetwork and the initial domestic segment action is on, though the latter is restricted to players geolocated in US states Nevada and New Jersey. Domestic segment schedule on

Day 1: Sunday, December 13
Day 2: Monday, December 14
Final Table: Monday, December 28 @ Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino (Live)

Both segments run the same structure. Starting stack is 60,000 with 100-200 opening blinds and level intervals running a lengthy 30 minutes. Late registration is open for six hours. Starting days conclude at the end of Level 16. For those that advance to Day 2, it plays down to the Final 9.

For the international segment, once the final table is reached, they fly to King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic to play LIVE for the segment title on Tuesday, December 15. For the domestic segment’s final 9 players, they head to the home of the WSOP, none other than the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on December 28 where they also battle LIVE for that segment’s title. To complete this year’s Main Event, the champions of each segment then face off LIVE for the 51st WSOP Main Event Championship title on December 30 in Las Vegas. The ultimate champion will claim the highly coveted WSOP Main Event championship gold bracelet and $1,000,000 courtesy of Caesars Entertainment, Inc. and GGPoker.

Day 2 – Top 10 in chips

Returning to action is Canada’s Senthuran Vijayaratnam “Prodigal Sen” who amassed the overall chip lead at Day 1C with a monstrous 966,714 stack. That’s over 300K more than the next player down the rung. Day 1B chip leader Blaz Zerjav will bring in the third largest stack and Day 1A chip leader Julian Menhardt “VWgunther” is in sixth rank. For the latter, he won his ticket to the Main Event at one of the US$ 525 Mega Satellites. If he goes on to cash, he will already be looking at quite a big profit.

senthuran vijaya
Senthuran Vijayaratnam. Credit:

Senthuran Vijayaratnam “Prodigal Sen” – Canada – 966,714 – 193.3 BB
Jesse Wigan “sabor_de_mar” – UK – 642,276 – 128.5 BB
Blaz Zerjav – Slovenia – 639,394 – 127.9 BB
Rodrigo Valente “sauvage” – Brazil – 592,043 – 118.4 BB
Amir Dvir “8ty4calling8” – Israel – 538,003 – 107.6 BB
Julian Menhardt “VWgunther” – 534,490 – 106.9 BB
Artem Vezhenkov “Ar0wana” – Russia – 511,114 – 102.2 BB
crackers614 – Canada – 488,965 – 97.8 BB
Vyacheslav Buldygin – Croatia – 480,671 – 96.1 BB
Paul Esau “AsiaStylez” – USA – 472,075 – 94.4 BB

Prize pool – 80 places paid

In addition to the WSOP Main Event championship gold bracelet and prestigious world title, here’s a look at what these players are chasing. Although the final 9 payouts won’t be determined until December 15 at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, the top two players will each pocket over a million dollars. First place is over US$ 1.5 million. At the opposite end of the prize pool is a minimum cash of US$ 15,277. For the player that bubbles to the final table, a respectable US$ 50,130 awaits.

1st US$ 1,550,968
2nd US$ 1,062,722
3rd US$ 728,177
4th US$ 498,947
5th US$ 341,879
6th US$ 234,255
7th US$ 160,512
8th US$ 109,982
9th US$ 73,359

10th – 11th US$ 50,130
66th to 80th US$ 15,277

WSOP decorated players

Throughout the three starting days, a long list of WSOP bracelet and ring holders graced the virtual felt however only 15 made the cut into Day 2. One of them was Greece’s Alexandros Kolonias, champion of the 2019 WSOPE Main Event. Kolonias was one of six WSOP Main Event champions that entered. 2007 WSOP champion Jerry Yang was eliminated in Day 1A, 2013 WSOPE champion Adrian Mateos fell in Day 1B, 2014 WSOP champion Martin Jacobson, 2018 WSOPE champion Jack Sinclair “Claashole” and 2020 WSOP Online champion Stoyan Madanzhiev all ran dry in Day 1C.

alexandros kolonias
Alexandros Kolonias. Credit: Kings Casino Rozvadov

WSOP champions returning to action are bracelet winners Natural8 Team Bling Daniel Dvoress, Alexandru Papazian, Georgios Sotiropoulos “G Manousos”, Toby Joyce “shinerrr”, Simon Klas Lofberg, Barak Wisbrod “LuckySecret”, Sung Joo Hyun “ArtePokertv”, Christopher Frank “Mangudai”, Gediminas Uselis “NeverGambol”, Jonas Lauck, time bracelet winner Yuri Dzivielevski, bracelet and triple ring winner Ivan Deyra “Cordialement”, two time ring winner Alexandre Reard “STAY_HUNGRY”, and ring winner Anton Wigg “RUN_CMD”.

Satellite winners

With only a couple of weeks for players to prepare for the Main Event international segment, the best chance for a more affordable ticket was via the various satellites which were offered for as low as US$ .50 and as high as US$ 1K. In total, 84 Day 2  players earned their spot through these routes. Day 1A player “ml223322” has the biggest opportunity to go from rags to riches having won a ticket via the US$ 10 Step Satellite that fed into a US$ 100 Step Satellite and into a US$ 1K Ultra Satellite. Player “ml223322” qualified to Day 2 and is currently ranked 22nd in chips.

Satellite qualifiers positioned in the top 10 are Rodrigo Valente “sauvage” ranked 3rd, Day 1A chip leader Julian Menhardt “VWgunther” ranked 6th, crackers614 ranked 8th, and Paul Esau “AsiaStylez” ranked 10th. WSOP decorated players also found luck in the satellites. Among those riding on a satty ticket are Gediminas Uselis “NeverGambol”, Ivan Deyra “Cordialement”, Christopher Frank “Mangudai”, and Georgios Sotiropoulos “G Manousos”.

Senthuran “Prodigal Sen” Vijayaratnam bulldozed through Day 1C – 966,714

Day 1C was a meat market for Canada’s Senthuran “Prodigal Sen” Vijayaratnam who railed numerous players to close with a towering 966,714 stack. To emphasize the enormity of this pile, his nearest Day 1C challenger was behind 300K+ in chips.

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Pair of Queens for chip leader Senthuran “Prodigal Sen” Vijayaratnam

Prodigal Sen’s rise began as early as the second break of the day. He moved into the top five after claiming a big pot against M Durnegger and maintained rank until Level 10 when he shipped two stacks to take pole position. The first bust was against Tiger-Lion with pocket Queens dominating pocket Jacks and the other was against pipostinkt with AKo dominating AQo. The last player to meet Prodigal Sen’s mighty axe was Finland’s Samuel Vousden, railing him on the last level of the day with pocket Queens over pocket sevens.

This past summer, Prodigal Sen cashed at several 2020 WSOP Online events on Natural8, his largest was at the Main Event for US$ 18,098. If he continues his hot run into Day 2, he will no doubt bank his largest WSOP cash.

WSOP Main Event champions

Four WSOP Main Event champions heated up the Day 1C action, Greece’s Alexandros Kolonias (2019 WSOPE Main Event), Jack Sinclair “Claashole” (2018 WSOPE Main Event), Russia’s Stoyan Madanzhiev (2020 WSOP Online Main Event), and UK’s Martin Jacobson (2014 WSOP Main Event). Madanzhiev didn’t last long, busting out in Level 5 to fellow coutntryman Durdy with AdJh dominated by AhQd. Jacobson held on much longer, even knocking out a few players that included bracelet holder Hun Wei Lee with Ac3d straight over 8s8h set on a board 8d4d5c2sKh. His tank ran dry when AdQd top pair was not good enough against Marmak’s 10h10s flush on a board 6h9c8hAh3h. Sinclair fell in Level 8 with big slick not improving against Ruben “Sjokomelk” Gravilen’s pocket Aces. On the positive side, Kolonias navigated his way into Day 2 however he will have his work cut out with 112,553 in chips equivalent to 22.5 BB.

wsop main event 2 1

WSOP decorated players and notable pros into Day 2

It was a rough Day 1C for the 30 WSOP bracelet and ring holders that entered. In the aftermath, only 5 advanced to Day 2 namely Alex Papazian, Sung Joo Hyun “ArtePokertv”, Christopher Frank “Mangudai”, Jonas Lauck, and Gediminas Uselis “NeverGambol”. For players Mangudai and NeverGambol, they earned their seat via satellite.

wsop main event 3

A brief look into their performance, Papazian opened the day with an early lead. At midday, he railed Germany’s “secretofmana” when AsQs rivered a Queen to dust JhJd. At Level 10, Papazian got very lucky against xiwanbieshu to avoid the rail with JhJc turned quads against QhQc. Papazian caught another lucky break, this time late in Level 15 turning trips to avoid the rail (pictured above). He closed the day with 143,3477 (28.7 BB).

For ArtePokerTV, at Level 14 he doubled up with pocket Aces against Israel’s Songjoy”s pocket Kings. He finished slightly better than Papazian with 150,564 (301. BB) in chips. Mangudai was next up the rung with 172,637 (34.5 BB). Late in the day, Mangudai shipped a three-handed pot with AcAh that led a chunk taken from sharkbait777 9c8h and the fall of NAHMAN148 AsKc on a board 9d8cKh10d7d. Further up was Lauck with a healthy 299,372 in chips giving him 59.9 BB entering Day 2. At Level 15, Lauck eliminated Irish player “leufi” with pocket Nines over pocket Sevens. Topping them all was Lithuania’s NeverGambol with 433,859 in chips (86.8 BB), putting him 15th entering Day 2. NeverGambol landed a big double up on Level 14 with QdQc holding against Canadian saskprinter’s AhKs that missed the board 8s3sJc9c10s.

Aside from the WSOP decorated players, a powerhouse lineup of notable pros also advanced to Day 2. Among them were satellite winners Vincent Chauve “20100shove” and Matas Cimbolas. Other pros included Dan Smiljkovic, Chris Puetz, Antoine Saout, Ludovic Geilich “Gr4vyBo4t”, and Daniel Neilson “BaccaratKing”.

Natural8 Team Hot players miss the mark

A couple of Natural8 ambassadors also made their way to the virtual felt, Team Hot’s Kitty Kuo and Pete Chen however both players failed to advance. Kuo was eliminated in Level 10 by Hong Kong player Sang Yeon “alltimehigh” Hwang whose AdKc rivered an Ace to overtake QcQs. Hwang used those winning chips well as he advanced to Day 2 with 288,247 (57.6 BB) in chips. As for Pete Chen, his run ended in Level 11 with Hrair “sharkbait777” Yapoudjian shipping it. Chen had AdJd dominated by AhKd on a dry board. Another player under Natural8 was player “vansy1988” who won the seat via the N8 Freeroll. Vansy1988’s journey ended in Level 12.

Maybe next year

Since it was the last chance for this year’s Main Event glory, many decorated pros would have to wait another year. Four-time WSOP bracelet winner Asi Moshe JsJd was outdrawn by player CallTheClock AcQd when an Ace spiked on the river. For Chinese pro Wenling Gao “HappyDX” who  finished 2nd at this summer’s WSOP Main Event, the end came at Level 9 with QcQd dominated by Jesse “sabor_de_mar” Wigan’s KcKh. The kings even improved to set then a full house. Belarus superstar Mikita Badziakouski has over US$ 4 million in WSOP winnings however a title still eludes him. Badziakouski was in the top 10 during the first and second break of the day but by the next break others overtook. He ended his run at Level 12 with KdQd failing against Dan “oiltrader” Shak’s QcQh.

wsop main event 4 1

Other fallen pros and decorated WSOP champions were double bracelet and ring winner David Peters, triple bracelet holder Davidi Kitai, bracelet and five time ring winner Mike Leah, last registrant Kartik Ved “Mandovi”, and as the last to fall in Day 1C, double bracelet winner Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier when he ran into a cooler with KcKs against sssssAK’s AhAc.

Day 1C recap

The final starting day kicked off with 66 players across 8 tables, growing to 113 at the start of Level 2. By Level 3 it was 167 with the first bust delivered. Player ALOHADANCETV fell to Highjinx with Jd10d full house Jh6sJs4c10h bad beating AcJc trips. Several minutes after, YoHViraL knocked out two players simultaneously with AcAd staying mighty against ninou’s JcJd and thegaijin’s AsKh. This gave YoHViraL the chip lead until Bernard Larabi also won a three way pot that bump him down one spot.

wsop main event 5 1

Larabi continued to crush the competition to dominate the counts for quite some time. Along the way action saw Dan Smiljkovic rail Stefan Schillhabel, Calvin Lee bite the bullet, LSRabbit_13B deny Dietrich Fast, and Timothy Adams rise from 12 BB to 128 BB. By Level 8, YoHViraL regained the lead then surged further after outdrawing Dario Sammartino with pocket fours turned full house against pocket Kings.

Two rounds later, leadership switched with Prodigal Sen railing two players – Tiger-Lion and pipostinkt – which he then held until the end of the day. Another player that amassed a large pile was sabor_de_mar when he crushed the hopes of YoHViraL with AsKh outkicking AcQh on a board 9d8hAh2d9s. Registration closed with 257 registered and 158 remaining.

The next round, Level 12, was the knock out round with players falling at every turn; ArtePokerTV railed Manuel Saavedra, oiltrader railed Mikita Badziakouski, Omar28 booted Miguel Seoane “Freshlybaked”, and NowWeAreFree ended Bozana to mention a few. 26 players fell on that round alone.

More banged the rail as the blinds escalated. Vincent “20100shove” Chauve helped trim the field by booting Zorro11, Mangudai dusted ring winner Ahmed Karrim, and Simon Burns “Fireburns” shipped all of Stashinstacks chips. Midway through Level 14, the game slowed down with less shoves seen. Before the close of Level 15, triple bracelet champion Davidi Kitai lost his short stack to Chris Puetz with AsKc victorious over AcQd.

The final round of the day said goodbye to Michiel Van Elsacker “Easterdamnz” with Ruben Gravilen “Sjokomelk” claiming it, Melika Razavi “Melirazavii” fell to Jonathan Fhima “JA-S-N-G-T”, Samuel Vousden bit it against Prodigal Sen, and Bertrand Grospellier “ElkY” fell on a cooler with pocket Kings ousted by sssssAK’s pocket Aces. The final hand of the day awarded Daniel Neilson “BaccaratKing” a double up against Evgeny “Antrevolt” Galakhov.

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Day 1C – Top 10 in chips 

Senthuran Vijayaratnam “Prodigal Sen” – Canada – 966,714 – 193.3 BB
Jesse Wigan “sabor_de_mar” – UK – 642,276 – 128.5 BB
Vyacheslav Buldygin – Croatia – 480,671 – 96.1 BB
Ruben Gravilen “Sjokomelk” – Norway – 459,031
Gediminas Usalis “NeverGambol” – Lithuania – 433,859 – 86.8 BB
Dan Smiljkovic – Germany – 405,085 – 81 BB
Fazel Dawood “waterproo” – South Africa – 404,092 – 80.8 BB
Robin Hegele “HWXR_1” – Germany – 398,192 – 79.6 BB
Chris Puetz – Austria – 394,051 – 78.8 BB
Oleg Ustinovich “WhiteBaron” – Russia – 377,123 – 75.4 BB

Stick with us at Somuchpoker as we bring you the next results of the WSOP 2020 Main Event as it unfolds.

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Tricia David

Tricia David has long experience as a recreational poker player and has been covering poker events since 2010 for numerous outfits in Asia. She spent one year working part time with Poker Portal Asia then became editor and lead writer for all event coverage of the Philippine Poker Tour (PPT). Under the PPT, she overlooked content for their website, and produced live updates on all their events. In addition, she served as the live and online events website content writer for the Asian Poker Tour. Currently, she does live events reporting in Asia for online news site Somuchpoker and is also one of their news contributors.

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