2022 WSOP halfway mark: Yuliyan Kolev ships Millionaire Maker; Daniel Zack becomes first two time series champion; Aleksejs Ponakovs denies Phil Ivey


Nonstop poker in Las Vegas as players worldwide converge for the 53rd Annual World Series of Poker. Into its fourth week at its new home in Ballys and Paris Las Vegas Casino, half of the bracelets have now been clasped. The next batch of winners covered by this recap include Daniel Zack who became the first player to claim two bracelets in this series, MILLIONAIRE MAKER champion Yuliyan Kolev, Aleksejs Ponakovs who denied 10x bracelet champion Phil Ivey the win, and Online Bracelet Event #4 winner Matt Szymaszek “PmpknHead”. Among the players flying Asian flags, Thailand’s Punnat Punsri posted another spectacular deep run and Japan’s Masashi Oya earned his first cash and first final table at the $100K High Roller NLH, Read up on the highlights down below. 

Screen Shot 2022 06 26 at 2.44.37 AM
2022 WSOP – Photo credit WSOP / PokerNews – Katerina Lukina

The series kicked off on May 31 and will run through July 20. A total of 44 bracelets out of 88 have been claimed on the live stage and four at online platform WSOP.com. To date, over US$ 105.4 Million has been paid and US$ 3.3M+ online.

The tournament everyone has been waiting for is creeping up fast, the US$ 10K Main Event No Limit Hold’em World Championship which gets underway on July 3rd. There are four starting days to join the action. Last year’s champion Koray Aldemir has been attacking the felt since the series started and will be returning to defend his title.

Full 2022 WSOP bracelet schedule

Festival update

Event 1 –  44 prize pool: US$ 105,453,093
Entries: 74,168
Two time series champion: Daniel Zack (Event 15 & 40)
Asia winners: Tong Li (Event 19), Chan Lok Ming (Event 35)
Most final tables:  Yuval Bronshtein (3), David Peters (3), Scott Seiver (3), Alex Livingston (3), Daniel Zack (3), Chad Eveslage (3),  Phil Ivey (3)
Online Event 1 – 4 prize pool: US$ 3,359,520
Online entries: 3,542

Multi bracelet winners

Career 6th bracelet: Brian Hastings
Career 5th bracelet: Adam Friedman
Career 4th bracelet: David Peters, Scott Seiver, Brad Ruben, Jeremy Ausmus
Career 3rd bracelet: Norbert Szecsi, Daniel Zack
Career 2nd bracelet: Manig Loeser, Daniel Zack, Robert Cowen, Steven Albini, Justin Pechie, Yuliyan Kolev, Aleksejs Ponakovs


Ever since its inception in 2013, the MILLIONAIRE MAKER has been one of the most sought after events with the US$ 1M minimum guaranteed top prize ringing loudly in everyone’s minds. This year’s turnout was the third largest seen with 7,961 entries (Day 1A – 3,546 and Day 1B – 4,429) to build a prize pool of US$ 10,627,935. To emphasize the enormity of this year’s top prize, the gap between first and second was a jaw dropping US$ 429,799.

Screen Shot 2022 06 26 at 2.45.44 AM
Yuliyan Kolev – Photo credit WSOP / PokerNews – Alec Rome

After six days, Bulgaria’s Yuliyan Kolev tamed the swings to capture the coveted win. At one point, the gold dropped from sight when Kolev plunged to 10 BB with 14 players remaining, however, he quickly recovered to enter the last day as the second biggest stack of the final 5. Just 4 BB behind the leader, it didn’t take long for Kolev to jump out front where he stayed to rein in the US$ 1,125,189 payout and his career second gold bracelet. The win came just seven months after Kolev locked up his first bracelet at the 2021 WSOP Online Series – GG Network Event 9: US$ 777 No Limit Hold’em. 

Among the players that reached the final table was UK’s Nick Marchington who placed 9th. Marchington is well remembered for his appearance at the 2019 WSOP Main Event where he pocketed over US$ 1.5 Million for 7th place. Thailand’s Punnat Punsri also delivered a top notch performance finishing in 14th place. Unlike Punsri’s impressive 3rd place cash at Event 12: $50K High Roller that saw 101 entries, this event displayed his ability to run deep not just in small fields but massive ones as well. He earned US$ 54,438. 

Buy in: US$ 1,500
Entries: 7,961
Prize pool: US$ 10,627,935
ITM: 1,196 places

Final table payouts in USD

1st Yuliyan Kolev Bulgaria 1,125,189
2nd Oren Rosen Israel 695,390
3rd Tyler Gaston USA 522,705
4th Yita Choong Australia 395,545
5th Dominic Brazier USA 301,346
6th Stanley Weng USA 231,145
7th Alen Tenorio Brazil 178,515
8th Bastien Joly France 138,821
9th Nick Marchington UK 108,704
10th Raul Martinez Spain 85,718

Event 38: NL 2-7 Lowball Draw Championship – PEDRO BROMFMAN – US$ 294,616

Screen Shot 2022 06 26 at 3.23.42 AM
Pedro Bromfman – Photo credit WSOP / PokerNews – Hayley Hochstetler

The US$ 10,000 buy in No Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw Championship was littered with some of the most decorated poker players in the world. Among them of course was 16x bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth who placed 8th at the Limit version of this event just one week prior. However, Hellmuth’s attempts at a second final table and first series gold were unsuccessful, falling in 9th place. Pulling through were 4x champions Eli Elezra and Farzad Bonyadi, the latter hoping to fulfill a back to back having won this event last year. Not so fortunate this time as Bonyadi exited in 6th place. Also in the lineup were other WSOP champions Yuri Dzivielevski and Andrew Kelsall, both of them on their second final table. Finishing 4th was Canada’s Alex Livingston who has been on an incredible rush having won his first ever bracelet at opening week’s Event 9: $1,500 Seven Card Stud. He went on to reach two more final tables including this one. 

Despite the heavily minted roster, it was Brazil’s Pedro Bromfman who persevered, outlasting the 111 entry field and denying 4x bracelet winner Scott Seiver at heads up. This was Bromfman’s first ever WSOP title and it came on just his third ever WSOP cash. For this milestone victory, the new champion earned a career high US$ 294,616. As for runner up Seiver, he is also on a heater having won his career fourth bracelet during opening week at Event 3: $2,500 Freezeout No Limit Hold’em. He has since reached two other final tables which includes this event. 

Buy in: US$ 10,000
Entries: 111
Prize pool: US$ 1,128,325
ITM: 19 places

Final table payouts in USD

1st Pedro Bromfman Brazil 294,616
2nd Scott Seiver USA 182,086
3rd Cary Katz USA 131,362
4th Alex Livingston Canada 96,104
5th Yuri Dzivielevski Brazil 71,315
6th Farzad Bonyadi USA 53,687
7th Eli Elezra Israel 41,011
8th Andrew Kelsall USA 31,796

Event 39: $6K 6-Handed Pot Limit Omaha – FABIAN BRANDES – US$ 371,358

Screen Shot 2022 06 26 at 2.47.15 AM
Fabian Brandes – Photo credit WSOP / PokerNews – Danny Maxwell

USA’s Fabian Brandes finished what he couldn’t at the $25K High Roller PLO where he fell one spot short of the title. At the $6K 6-Handed Pot Limit Omaha, Brandes outlasted the 719 entry field to clasp the dream first bracelet and the US$ 371,358 first prize. Combined with his previous series score, the champion has now earned a whopping US$ 1,278,490 over these two events. 

The battle for the title was mainly between Brandes and Israel’s Leonid Yanovski. Brandes entered the final table as chip leader but after Yanovski eliminated Amirhossein Shayesteh, he dropped to second rank. As Yanovski widened his lead, Brandes put up a successful fight, landing two big pots to tighten the gap between them, then eventually reclaimed the top spot after winning with a higher straight. Brandes went on to rail Grzegorz Derkowski in 6th place. Yanovski also claimed one, cleaning out Thomas Morrison in 4th place to even up with Brandes.

Screen Shot 2022 06 26 at 3.29.22 AM
Leonid Yanovski – Photo credit WSOP / PokerNews – Danny Maxwell

At three-handed, the hot running Sean Winter was behind the big stacks yet still posed a huge threat. Early in the series, Winter placed 5th at the Shootout, 9th at the $50K High Roller NLH, and now had gone even deeper. However, Winter’s hunt was cut short after a swingy three-handed match led to his straight cracked by Brandes’ full house. Back on top, Brandes went pound for pound against Yanovski until they switched up again leading to a crucial double up that sent Brandes soaring. Yanovski staged an impressive comeback, coming very close to par, but in the end he was dusted in 2nd place with a straight that beat two pair. This was Yanovski’s career fifth bracelet event final table. 

Buy in: US$ 6,000
Entries: 719
Prize pool: US$ 1,919,730
ITM: 108 places

Final table payouts in USD

1st Fabian Brandes USA 371,358
2nd Leonid Yanovski Israel 229,529
3rd Sean Winter USA 156,401
4th Thomas Morrison USA 108,604
5th Ferenc Deak Hungary 76,880
6th Grzegorz Derkowski Germany 55,501
7th Amirhossein Shayesteh USA 40,878

Event 40: Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship – DANIEL ZACK – US$ 324,174

Screen Shot 2022 06 26 at 2.48.56 AM
Daniel Zack -Photo credit WSOP / PokerNews – Spenser Sembrat

Daniel Zack became the first player in this series to lock up not one but two of the coveted gold bracelets. Zack’s first win was at the $10K Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship then two weeks later, a second victory at the $10K Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship. The two series wins along with four other cashes have placed him atop the Player of the Year leaderboard. In cash, Zack has now accrued US$ 905,740 in winnings at the ongoing series. 

To bag his second win, Zack once again overcame decorated fellow pros at the final table. Among them was series champion Brian Hastings who won this event last year. Hastings finished in a respectable 7th place. Also riding on the high of his first ever bracelet win was series champion Chad Eveslage who raced up to 6th place. This was quite impressive considering it was his first cash under this variant. For 5x bracelet holder Shaun Deeb, the hunt for his first title under this variant ended in 5th place. As for champion Zack, it was his deepest run under this variant beating his 10th place finish at last year’s $10K Seven Card Stud Championship.

Buy in: US$ 10,000
Entries: 137
Prize pool: US$ 1,277,525
ITM: 21 places

Final table payouts in USD

1st Daniel Zack USA 324,174
2nd David Funkhouser USA 200,356
3rd Ziya Rahim USA 147,800
4th Eric Kurtzman USA 110,379
5th Shaun Deeb USA 83,465
6th Chad Eveslage USA 63,914
7th Brian Hastings USA 49,571
8th Steven Loube USA 38,947
9th Long Tran USA 31,003

Event 41: Super Turbo Bounty NL Hold’em Freezeout – RAMSEY STOVALL – US$ 191,223

Screen Shot 2022 06 26 at 2.49.55 AM
Ramsey Stovall – Photo credit WSOP / PokerNews – Hayley Hochstetler

2,227 players saddled up for the $1K Super Turbo Bounty No Limit Hold’em Freezeout to build a prize pool of US$ 1,982,030. After 15 hours of play, the dust cleared, and left in disbelief was Ramsey Stovall after knocking out Timothy Heng in a quick heads up match. This was Stovall’s first ever WSOP triumph and first ever WSOP cash which he immediately celebrated with his booming rail. Along with the coveted maiden bracelet, Stovall pocketed a cool US$ 191,223. Also running deep in this event were 2x bracelet champion Rafael Lebron in 6th place and 4x bracelet champion / 2021 WSOP Player of the Year winner Josh Arieh in 11th place. 

Buy in: US$ 1,000
Entries: 2,227
Prize pool: US$ 1,982,030
ITM: 335 places

Final table payouts in USD

1st Ramsey Stovall USA 191,223
2nd Timothy Heng USA 118,213
3rd Steve Frakes USA 87,047
4th Wing Yam USA 64,702
5th Larry Carillo USA 48,551
6th Rafael Lebron USA 36,782
7th Ed Chang USA 28,136
8th Louise Francoeur Canada 21,733
9th Wen Ni USA 16,953

Event 42: $100K High Roller NL Hold’em – ALEKSEJS PONAKOVS – US$ 1,897,363

Screen Shot 2022 06 26 at 2.51.33 AM
Aleksejs Ponakovs – Photo credit WSOP / PokerNews – Danny Maxwell

The $100K High Roller No Limit Hold’em was the second six figure buy-in of the series. It attracted 62 of the world’s best for a hefty prize pool of US$ 5,998,500. Out of the top ten in the money, the top two banked a whopping seven figures. Latvia’s Aleksejs Ponakovs scored the larger after denying 10x bracelet champion Phil Ivey at heads up. This was Ponakovs career second bracelet with the first one won last year at Online Event #8 $7,777 Lucky 7’s No Limit Hold’em High Roller. 

On the road to the top, Ponakovs entered the final table with a commanding lead and kept a tight grip until Ben Heath emptied out Gregory Jensen in 4th place. Heath’s rise though was short lived. Ivey gambled his entire stack on a flush draw then landed it to crack Heath’s aces and skyrocket to the top. Ivey eventually finished off Heath and was just one step away from lifting his career 11th bracelet.

Screen Shot 2022 06 26 at 2.50.33 AM
Phil Ivey – Photo credit WSOP / PokerNews – Hayley Hochstetler

Entering heads up behind Ponakovs, it didn’t take long for Ivey to overtake but to maintain it and build a big gap proved difficult. Ponakovs won a series of pots that eventually flipped the counts back to his favor. The final hand saw Ivey push on a straight draw, Ponakovs called with second pair which held. 

Screen Shot 2022 06 26 at 2.55.39 AM
Masashi Oya – Photo credit WSOP / PokerNews – Danny Maxwell

The Latvian pro shipped the US$ 1,897,363 first prize. As for Ivey, the eight-year bracelet drought continues, however with the series just halfway through, he still has plenty of chances to make it shine. For now, he had to settle for US$ 1,172,659. Among the players that reached the final table was Japan’s Masashi Oya who finished 8th for US$ 210,485. This was also Oya’s first ever WSOP cash. 

Buy in: US$ 10,000
Entries: 62
Prize pool: US$ 5,998,500
ITM: 10 places

Payouts in USD

1st Aleksejs Ponakovs Latvia 1,897,363
2nd Phil Ivey USA 1,172,659
3rd Ben Heath UK 805,024
4th Gregory Jensen USA 571,896
5th Michael Moncek USA 420,944
6th Talal Shakerchi UK 321,437
7th Mikita Badziakouski Belarus 255,001
8th Masashi Oya Japan 210,485
9th Nick Petrangelo USA 181,068
10th Eric Worre USA 162,623

Event 43: Freezeout No Limit Hold’em – DAVID PERRY – US$ 241,729

Screen Shot 2022 06 26 at 2.54.02 AM
David Perry – Photo credit WSOP / PokerNews – Rachel Kay Miller

Another first time series cash turning into a first time champion. At the $500 Freezeout No Limit Hold’em, David Perry outlasted 4,785 players including the highly accomplished UK pro / 2x bracelet champion Chris Moorman at heads up. For most of the final table, Moorman led the race, knocking out five players to carry the advantage into the final stage. Perry was the opposite, he hadn’t eliminated anyone at the final table. Yet despite the pro’s experience and momentum, it was Perry applying the pressure, resulting in big pots going his way. Once Perry took the lead, he ran away with it then closed it out with bottom pair over a missed straight. Perry shipped the handsome US$ 241,729 first prize and the event’s coveted gold bracelet. For Moorman, this was his third ever runner up finish. He pocketed US$ 149,405 to bring his WSOP career earnings to over US$ 3.8 Million. 

Buy in: US$ 500
Entries: 4,786
Prize pool: US$ 2,010,120
ITM: 718 places

Final table payouts in USD

1st David Perry USA 241,729
2nd Chris Moorman UK 149,405
3rd Daniel Eichhorn USA 111,341
4th Josh Prager USA 83,623
5th Sebastien Guidez France 63,302
6th Phong Than Nguyen USA 48,299
7th Elven Espinar USA 37,148
8th Henry Reyes USA 28,802
9th Daniel Marcus USA 22,512
10th Robert Pettit USA 17,741

Event 44: $10K H.O.R.S.E. Championship – ANDREW YEH – US$ 487,129

Screen Shot 2022 06 26 at 2.55.00 AM
Andrew Yeh – Photo credit WSOP / PokerNews

One of the most prestigious tournaments to have under one’s belt is the $10K H.O.R.S.E. Championship. This year, the turnout was one of the highest with 209 giving it a go for a prize pool of US$ 1,948,925. Out of the 32 that reached the money round, five WSOP decorated mixed game players  found their way into the final table, among them were Bryce Yockey who finished 4th at this same event last year, John Racener who shipped the 2017 $10K Dealers Choice 6-Handed, and Mike Gorodinsky who won the most reputable WSOP tournament in 2015, the $50K Poker Players Championship. 

Of the four non minted players was Paul Sokoloff who had yet to win a bracelet to go with his collection of three circuit rings. Sokoloff was a strong contender for his first gold here having placed 3rd in this event back in 2012. However, in the end, after a long and swingy heads up match, it was Andrew Yeh who overcame the ebbs and flows to capture his first ever title, gold bracelet, and a personal high score US$ 487,129. Yeh defeated Craig Chait at heads up, finishing with Omaha Hi-Lo. 

Impressively, this was just Yeh’s second ever final table appearance. Last year, he placed 3rd at the $10K buy in Omaha Hi-Lo 8 of Better Championship. Unlike many high ranking pros that enter this five figure buy in level, Yeh has only started cashing at this level in 2018 and has turned up fairly decent results. To date, he has accumulated over US$ 767K in series earnings. 

Buy in: US$ 10,000
Entries: 209
Prize pool: US$ 1,948,925
ITM: 32 places

Final table payouts in USD

1st Andrew Yeh USA 487,129
2nd Craig Chait USA 301,068
3rd Philip Long UK 209,424
4th Bryce Yockey USA 148,896
5th John Racener USA 108,253
6th Paul Sokoloff UK 80,523
7th Mike Gorodinsky USA 61,314
8th Eric Wasserson USA 47,819
9th Ismael Bojang Austria 38,220

Online Event 4: $1,000 PLO 6-Max – MATT SZYMASZEK – US$ 141,705

Screen Shot 2022 06 26 at 2.52.55 AM
Matt Szymaszek – Photo credit WSOP / PokerNews – Hayley Hochstetler

The fourth WSOP.com online bracelet was offered at the $1K Pot Limit Omaha 6-Max with 470 looking to snatch it up. In the end, Matt Szymaszek nicknamed “PmpknHead” claimed it for his first ever WSOP title and gold bracelet. He also pocketed a cool US$ 141,705 first prize. Prior to the win, Szymaszek reached three final tables which included a runner up finish at the 2018 $10K Limit Hold’em Championship. To date, he has accumulated over US$ 421K in earnings with this event being his first on the virtual stage. 

Buy in: US$ 1,000
Entries: 470
Prize pool: US$ 712,800
ITM: 126 places

Final table payouts in USD

1st Matt Szymaszek “PmpknHead” USA 141,705
2nd Greg Koutelidakis “shpadoones” USA 87,603
3rd Blake Barousse “brat337” USA 61,301
4th Thomas Pohnke “Pohnkemon” Australia 43,552
5th Christopher Gallagher “Goforbrok3” USA 31,363
6th Jeff Brown “Jbrownski” USA 22,952

More 2022 WSOP recaps to follow here at Somuchpoker.

2022 WSOP underway: first four bracelet winners
2022 WSOP: Bracelet winners Event 5 – 9
2022 WSOP: Bracelet winners Event 10 – 14
2022 WSOP: Bracelet winners Event 15 – 25
2022 WSOP: Bracelet winners Event 26 – 36


Triccia David

Triccia David has long experience as a recreational poker player and has been covering poker events since 2010 for numerous outfits. She spent a year working part time with Poker Portal Asia and later became the editor and 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 blogger for several other major events in the Philippines. Currently, she is in charge of events reporting for Somuchpoker.

More Posts

Follow Me:
Special EmailTwitterFacebookFlickrYouTube