Natural8-GGSF pays out a record US$ 176.5M; “KingKongJoel” wins GGSF Main Event NLHE for US$ 1.1M, Joachim Haraldstad ships US$ 249.9K; Duy Thanh Dang among final winners

Three thrilling weeks of GG Spring Festival 2021 madness came to a close earlier today with a record US$ 176,560,597 paid out across 336 tournaments. This final tally more than exceeded last year’s WSOP 2020 Online Series [International] that paid out over US$ 147.7 million on the network. The games took place from April 4 to 25 at online platform Natural8. We’ve listed down some of the most interesting festival trivia plus highlights of the final three days.

gg spring fest

Festival facts and numbers

Festival prize pool: US$ 176,560,597
Total entries: 585,574
Largest event prize pool: GGSF Super MILLION$ ME-H – US$ 10,890,000
Largest score: JOAKIM ANDERSSON – US$ 1,537,605.12
Largest score by Asian player: ZHUANG RUANJapan – US$ 952,194.60
Seven figure prize pools: 38 events = US$ 76,580,550
Eight figure prize pool: 2 events = US$ 20,890,000
Overlay: 18 events – US$ 579,711.40
Largest overlay: GGSF Main Event-H: $1,500 NLHE – US$ 305,725

Biggest days

Day 14 – April 18 – US$ 30,154,252 paid out
Day 21 – April 25 – US$ 30,359,257 paid out

Featured Events entries and prize pools

GGSF Opening Act-L: $80 NLHE – 20,516 entries – US$ 1,509,977.60
GGSF Opening Act-L: $80 PLO-NL – 5,679 entries – US$ 500,000
GGSF Headliner-M: $400 NLHE – 9,051 entries – US$ 3,403,176
GGSF Headliner-M: $400 PLO-NL – 2,671 entries – US$ 1,004,296
GGSF Super MILLION$ ME-H $10,300 – 1,089 entries – US$ 10,890,000
GGSF Main Event-H: $1,500 NLHE – 6,803 entries – US$ 10,000,000
GGSF Main Event-H: $1,500 PLO-NL – 1,412 entries – US$ 2,102,100

Join Natural8 – $100 in Free tickets with your 1st Deposit

Seven figure payouts

H-06: $25,500 Sunday Five MillionGUILLAUME NOLET – US$ 1,085,891.90
H-41: $25,500 Sunday Five MillionNIKLAS ASTEDT – US$ 1,095,740.82
H-75: $25,500 Sunday Five MillionMIKITA BADZIAKOUSKI – US$ 1,105,678.72
GGSF Super MILLION$ ME-H $10,300JOAKIM ANDERSSON – US$ 1,537,605.12
GGSF Super MILLION$ ME-H $10,300 JULIAN STUER – US$ 1,185,655.13
GGSF Main Event-H: $1,500 NLHEKINGKONGJOEL – US$ 1,133,634.47

Most entries per tier (single day entry event)

High: H-107: $1,050 GGMasters High Rollers – 1,184 entries – US$ 1,184,000
Medium: M-107: $150 GGMasters – 5,097 entries – US$ 703,386
Low: L-105: $30 Sunday Marathon – 7,000 entries – US$ 193,200
Low: L-106: $52.50 Bounty Hunters Main Event – 7,000 entries – US$ 350,000


Five wins each for Canada’s Niklas Astedt and Finland’s Lev “LevMeAlone” Gottlieb. Listed below are their victory achievements.

Niklas Astedt: US$ 1,432,201.51
H-14: $1,050 PLO-NL Bounty – US$ 39,974.81
H-19: $2,100 Bounty [ 6 Max ] – US$ 98,807.81
H-25: $5,250 PLO-NL Bounty – US$ 140,464.75
H-41: $25,500 Sunday Five Million – US$ 1,095,740.82
H-95: $2,100 Bounty – US$ 57,213.32

Lev “LevMeAlone” Gottlieb: US$ 1,575,803.64
H-05: $10,300 Super MILLION$ – US$ 586,075.23
H-15: $10,300 Super Tuesday – US$ 320,728.78
H-35: $10,300 PLO-NL High Roller – US$ 199,770.92
H-72: $5,250 Bounty Hunters Main Event – US$ 316,691.68
H-100: $5,250 Festival Closer [Bounty Turbo] – US$ 152,531.03

Four wins

Tim “BeardOilGuy” RutherfordCanada – US$ 88,160.48
Sami KelopuroFinland – US$ 1,417,190.60
Chris RudophAustria – US$ 249,412.60

Most entries by a player in a single tournament: 20 times

China player WEI ZHAO bought in a shocking 20 times for a total of US$ 105,000 at the H-91: $5,250 PLO-NL Bounty however he still failed to reach the money. This event drew 117 entries for a prize pool of US$ 585,000.

Largest prize pool per tier (single day entry event)

H-75: $25,500 Sunday Five Million – US$ 5,200,000
M-38: $525 Bounty Hunters Main Event – US$ 1,372,500
L-108: $250 Sunday Main Event – US$ 726,110

Largest score per tier (single day entry event)

H-75 $25,500 Sunday Five Million MIKITA BADZIAKOUSKI – US$ 1,105,678.72
M-40: $1,050 High Roller Main Event JAMIL WAKIL – US$ 170,809.64
L-108: $250 Sunday Main EventFISHANDCHIPS88 – US$ 84,926.21

Special Events


GG Legends Bounty feat. DJ Deadmau5 – 5000 entries – US$ 25,000
GGSF FLIP Breakthrough Event feat. Daiva – 2575 entries – US$ 23,690
*(prize pools not included in grand prize pool amount)

Top Stories: Day 19 to Day 21

GGSF Main Event-H: $1,500 NLHE: KINGKONGJOEL – US$ 1,133,634.47

The GGSF Main Event-H: $1,500 NLHE advertised one of the largest event guarantees of US$ 10,000,000. 6,803 entered across multiple entry days for a massive overlay of US$ 305,725. This was the biggest event overlay of the festival. The final day opened with 1,177 players. After ten hours of play, Austria’s “KingKongJoel” defeated Japan’s Zhuang Ruan to claim a first festival win and an enormous US$ 1,133,634.47 payout.

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GGSF Main Event-H: $1,500 NLHE

Buy in: US$ 1,500
Guarantee: US$ 10,000,000
Entries: 6,803
Prize pool: US$ 10,000,000
Overlay: US$ 305,725
ITM: 700 places

Within minutes into the final day, notables Ryan Riess, George Wolff, Justin Bonomo, Sami Kelopuro, Daniel Dvoress, Mike Leah, Ho Bao “Yummers19” Qiang, and Kevin Martin were eliminated. By the end of the first hour, more dried up leaving 716 players. After the first break, the bubble quickly burst on Costa Rica’s “10kTony” and first to the money was Austria’s Thomas Hueber. Midway through the fourth hour, Thomas Cazayous fell in 100th place, he was later joined by Joshua McCully (87th), Justin Park (82nd), Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier (68th), Rui Ferreira (67th), Sriharsha “Upswinger” Doddapaneni (52nd), Dawid Smolka (31st), and Alex Foxen (29th).

By the end of the seventh hour only 15 remained with Germany’s Shui1994 in the lead and Russia’s Anatoly Filatov in second rank. The next hour was brutal for the top two leaders. Both players crashed out in 13th and 12th respectively. Kicking off the ninth hour, Helio “Teucu” Neves (11th) and David Peters (10th) busted to form the final table led by Benjamin Chalot.

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Final table payouts

1st KingKongJoel – Austria – US$ 1,133,634.47*
2nd Zhuang Ruan – Japan – US$ 952,194.60*
3rd Lucky-Lucky – Ukraine – US$ 670,295.68
4th Mats “lockdownmode” Ullereng – Norway – US$ 502,651.11
5th Benjamin Chalot – France – US$ 376,934.85
6th seefaceng – China – US$ 282,661.59
7th Chris Puetz – Germany – US$ 211,965.84
8th gipotenuza – Mexico – US$ 158,952.24
9th Samuel Vousden – Finland – US$ 119,197.02
*Heads up deal

Final table recap

The final table got underway with everyone seeking their first festival win and the hefty seven figure first prize. Chip leader Chalot got off to a great start by railing short stacked Samuel Vousden (9th) to amass a monster lead of 105 bb. His closest challenger was KingKongJoel with 55 bb. Zhuang Ruan was next to get called all in, resulting in a double up off Chris Puetz. KingKongJoel got very lucky when his 10h10s improved to a set against gipotenuza’s QdQh to double up and soar to the top (pictured above), well overtaking Chalot while gipotenuza was out in 8th place.

Seven-handed ran for forty minutes before Puetz (7th) was bumped out by Mats “lockdownmode” Ullereng. Ruan booted the next two – seefaceng (6th) and Chalot (5th) – then Ukraine’s Lucky-Lucky claimed his first victim, sending Ullereng (4th) out with 9c9d over Ad7h that missed. Down to the final three, Lucky-Lucky was hoping for a deal but the big stacks weren’t interested. Lucky-Lucky was eliminated in 3rd place with Ruan shipping it for his third knockout. For Lucky-Lucky, it was a truly lucky day having qualified during one of the day’s last chance flights with a very short 6 bb stack which he turned into a US$ 670,295.68 payday. Lucky-Lucky also sold 40% action for 7 happy stakers.

At heads up Ruan was ahead, within the first two hands, KingKongJoel evened up then began to pull away. After 25 minutes of play, the players reached a deal and flipped for ranking. KingKongJoel won it on the first flip.

GGSF Main Event-H: $1,500 PLO-NL: JOCHEE – US$ 249,926.29

Norwegian player nicknamed “jochee” seized a second festival win after knocking out five players at the GGSF Main Event-H: $1,500 PLO-NL final table. This awarded jochee a much larger festival score of US$ 249,926.29, well exceeding the first win at the M-91: $525 PLO-NL Bounty for US$ 23,164.66. The GGSF Main Event-H: $1,500 PLO-NL drew 1,412 entries across multiple entry days with only 233 advancing to the final day. After seven hours and forty minutes of play, jochee won it on a heads-up flip.

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GGSF Main Event-H: $1,500 PLO-NL

Buy in: US$ 1,500
Guarantee: US$ 2,000,000
Entries: 1,412
Prize pool: US$ 2,012,000
ITM: 150 places

The final day opened with 233 players led by Chinese player nicknamed “BIG HAI”. Shortly after the first hour, the money flowed at the fall of Canada’s “imslowrollin” on the bubble. Among the early busts were Daniel Dvoress (149th), Natural8 Team NLG Fedor Holz (127th), and Belgium’s Kristof “ultrafish” Segers (126th). They were later followed by Joao Vieira (91st), Chris Rudolph (88th), George Wolff (79th), Andras Nemeth (72nd), Simon Lofberg (51st) Pulkit Goyal (41st), Eelis Parssinen (29th), Patrick Leonard (28th), Niklas Astedt (21st), Fabrizio Gonzalez (18th), and Rui Ferreira (17th). Falling just before the final table were China’s Xuming “scplayer” Qi (12th), Canada’s Connor Drinan (9th), and USA’s Jason Koon (8th).

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GGSF Main Event-H: $1,500 PLO-NL

Final table payouts

1st jochee – Norway – US$ 249,926.29
2nd Majki365 – Slovenia – US$ 201,693.27
3rd Bernard Larabi – Hungary – US$ 147,781.94
4th Markus “Lenbert1” Schottes – Germany – US$ 110,705.77
5th Arvi Vainionkulma – Finland – US$ 82,931.48
6th Suhepx – Austria – US$ 62,125.28
7th Gianluca “Tankanza” Speranza – Italy – US$ 46,539

Kicking off the final table, jochee was at the helm, a post jochee had a tight hold on since midway through the second hour. Ten minutes in, the lead was stolen by Markus “Lenbert1” Schottes after railing Gianluca “Tankanza” Speranza in 7th place. On the next showdown, Schottes hoped to eliminate short stacked Majki365, instead paid a double up. A flurry of good pots followed, all claimed by jochee to regain the lead. From there, jochee held command to the end while eliminating the last five players in the process. Heads-up ran for ten minutes before jochee and Majki365 opted to check the numbers. A deal was reached then they flipped to end the game. Jochee won it for his second festival victory.

Seth Davies wins Sunday Millions for US$ 956.4K

seth davies poker
Seth Davies. Credit:

It was a lucky fourth bullet that made all the difference for USA’s Seth Davies at the Sunday Millions event. Davies denied Niklas Astedt a sixth win and Sami Kelopuro a fifth to claim his first victory along with the huge US$ 956,439.98 first prize. Davies also cashed at four other events which we’ve listed just below:

M-15: $1,050 Super Tuesday – 8th place – US$ 19,251.64
H-16: $25,500 Super High Roller – 7th place – US$ 111,523.13
M-40: $1,050 High Rollers Main Event – 71st place – US$ 3,359.28
H-75: $25,500 Sunday Five Million – 23rd place – US$ 46,448.03

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GGSF Sunday Millions

Like all other events that carried a hefty buy-in of US$ 25,500, it drew a powerful lineup of well known pros. With a guaranteed pot of US$ 3,000,000, it was no surprise to see several players enter more than once. For Matthew “Nator” Hyman, he spent a whopping 8 bullets without getting any return, Justin Bonomo fired 9 bullets and min-cashed US$ 48,981.55 to still walk away in the red, Mikita Badziakouski was the same, he also min cashed but lost with five buy-ins coughed up, and like Bonomo, Kelopuro fired an incredible nine bullets, however he did cash out in 2nd place to turn a profit of US$ 487,728.48.

Buy in: US$ 25,500
Guarantee: US$ 3,000,000
Entries: 172
Prize pool: US$ 4,300,000
ITM: 23 places

Final table payouts

1st Seth Davies – USA – US$ 956,439.98
2nd Sami Kelopuro – Finland – US$ 717,228.48
3rd Elio Fox – USA – US$ 537,845.52
4th Niklas Astedt – Norway – US$ 403,327.34
5th Andras Nemeth – Hungary – US$ 302,452.72
6th Joni Jouhkimainen – Finland – US$ 226,807.56
7th Joao Vieira – Luxembourg – US$ 170,081.92
8th Isaac Haxton – USA – US$ 127,543.36
9th Artur Martirosyan – Russia – US$ 95,644.15

Niklas Astedt and Lev “LevMeAlone Gottlieb win their fifth events

While players struggled to land just one win at the series, Canada’s Niklas Astedt and USA’s Lev “LevMeAlone Gottlieb made it look easy peasy with five festival wins each. This was the most anyone won at the series. Astedt’s latest victory was on Day 19 where he triumphed over the 109 entry field of tournament H-95: $2,100 Bounty for a score of US$ 57,213.32. For Gottlieb, he clinched his fifth on the final day, winning the H-100: $5,250 Festival Closer [Bounty Turbo] for US$ 152,531.03.

First time winners – Isaac Haxton, Joshua McCully, Markus Leikkonen

Day 20 was especially kind to USA’s Isaac Haxton, reaching two final tables and turning one into a first festival victory. Riding on his fifth bullet at the H-101: $10,300 PLO-NL High Roller, Haxton defeated Eelis Parssinen at heads-up to claim the US$ 230,885.58 first prize. This event guaranteed US$ 500,000, and with 83 entries collected, the top 11 places earned a piece of the US$ 830,00 prize pool. Running simultaneously was the M-101: $1,050 PLO-NL event with 234 entries for a prize pool of US$ 234,000. Haxton reached the final table, eventually bowing out in 3rd place for US$ 27,832.19.

Isaac Haxton

The last event to complete was the H-108: $10,300 Super MILLION$ event with the final table taking place on the evening of April 27. The event drew 347 entries, exceeding the US$ 3,000,000 guarantee by US$ 470,000. After four hours of play, Finland’s Markus Leikkonen shipped it for his first festival win and a very handsome payout of US$ 651,820.84. Leikkonen overcame a deficit at heads-up against David Coleman, rising as high as 8:1 in chips to close it out. The final hand was AsAd over KhJd on a board 7d6s6hKd9c. For runner up Coleman, his performance was equally impressive having entered with the shortest stack at the start of the final table.

Australia’s Joshua McCully racked up a long list of deep runs throughout the series without a win to boast of. That all changed at the L-103: $52.50 PLO-NL Bounty event where he defeated a pool of 589 punters to claim a combined US$ 4,681.77 in winnings and bounty rewards. To date, his largest payout at the series was for US$ 120,781.75 at the H-39: $ 1,050 GGMasters High Rollers freezeout for 2nd place. Another big cash was at event H-59: $5,250 PLO-NL finishing 3rd for US$ 77,984.18.

Asia results

Duy Thanh “endlesslove” Dang became the third player from Vietnam to win an event. On his second bullet, Dang turned his US$ 600 investment to a whopping US$ 57,785.69 after defeating Matias “Pisco Sour” Gabrenja at heads-up of the M-105: $300 Sunday Marathon. This was Dang’s 9th festival cash and largest career payout beating all his previous live and online scores. His largest live tournament cash was for US$ 30,373 at the Vietnam Series of Poker Super Star Challenge in November 2020 where he finished in 2nd place.

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Dang Duy Thanh

Another winner was WSOP bracelet holder Wei Guo “SPARK1207” Liang from China who shipped the M-95: $210 Bounty tournament for US$ 16,334.52. The event drew 846 entries for a prize pool of US$ 169,200. Out of his seven festival cashes, this one was the largest.

China player nicknamed “judd trump” claimed a win on Day 20 to add to the other two earned back in Day 9. “judd trump” shipped the H-103: $5,250 PLO-NL Bounty High Roller, collecting a sizable US$ 114,373.05 payout. This ranked second to the H-43: $5,250 Bounty Hunters SHR win for US$ 151,617.21. The other win was for US$ 95,783.54 at the H-44: $1,050 High Rollers Main Event. Player “judd trump” has earned a combined US$ 361,773.80 in first place payouts.

Multiple Wins

H-102: $1,050 High Rollers Main Event

Guarantee: US$ 350,000
Entries: 401
Prize pool: US$ 401,000
ITM: 55 places
Winner: CHRISTIAN RUDOLPHAustria – US$ 77,421.68

Picking up a win on Day 20 moved Christian Rudolph in the exclusive group of champions with four wins each. Rudolph had back to back wins on Day 5 at the H-27 $2,100 Bounty and M-27: $210 Bounty for a combined US$ 78,115.96. His third win was on Day 17 at the M-83: $1,050 Super Tuesday event for US$ 93,834.96.

H-100: $1,500 Asia Superstack Classic

Guarantee: US$ 250,000
Entries: 256
Prize pool: US$ 364,800
ITM: 35 places
Winner: ILLYWILLY97Canada – US$ 76,135.82

Prior to this takedown, on Day 15, illywilly97 landed a first win at the H-76: $2,100 Sunday Heater [Bounty Turbo], overcoming 204 runners to pocket US$ 85,260.16.

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GGSF H-100: $1,500 Asia Superstack Classic

H-106: $5,250 Bounty Hunters Main Event

Guarantee: US$ 1,500,000
Entries: 341
Prize pool: US$ 1,705,000
ITM: 47 places
Winner: DAVID PETERS USA – US$ 296,561.39

After numerous final table visits, which included a second place finish at the H-95: $2,100 Bounty, David Peters secured his second festival win. His first one was at M-57: $2,625 High Roller event for US$ 119,960.85 where he flipped for the win against Elio Fox and took it on the third hand.

H-110: $5,250 Festival Closer [Bounty Turbo]

Guarantee: US$ 500,000
Entries: 124
Prize pool: US$ 620,000
ITM: 17 places
Winner: EELIS PARSSINENFinland – US$ 152,531.03

Finland’s Eelis Parssinen closed out the series by picking up a third win. His other two wins were in Day 7 at the H-33: $5,250 PLO-NL Bounty for US$ 180,439.06 and in Day 11 at the H-52: $1,050 PLO-NL for US$ 41,825.78.

M-109: $525 Sunday 500

Guarantee: US$ 500,000
Entries: 1246
Prize pool: US$ 623,000
ITM: 170 places
Winner: ANDRII NOVAKUkraine – US$ 89,953.56

On the final day, Ukraine’s Andrii Novak landed himself a last minute victory at the M-109: $525 Sunday 500 to bump up his victories to two. His first one was in Day 5 at the H-24: $10,300 Thursday Thriller Bounty tournament where he pocketed a hefty US$ 352,068.09.

L-97: $25 Deep Turbo

Guarantee: US$ 15,000
Entries: 1,165
Prize pool: US$ 26,795
ITM: 197 places
Winner: PEROLA NEGRABrazil – US$ 3,649.35

This was a second win for Perola Negra with a first takedown at the L-88: $21 Bounty event, defeating a big field of 3,864 entries for a larger US$ 5,593.66 payout.

Join Natural8 – $100 in Free tickets with your 1st Deposit

That concludes the GGSF 2021 series at online platform Natural8. Next up is the WSOP Super Circuit Online Series running from May 1 to May 30, 2021. It will be another exciting festival with 18 WSOP rings up for grabs and US$ 100 Million in guarantees. Highlighting the series is the US$ 5 Million guaranteed Main Event with buy-in at only US$ 525.

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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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