Breaking Down the Action:
  • Tournament Breaks the Guarantee
  • Pushing on Towards the Money
  • The Final Nine

The final nine have been reached in GGPoker’s Sunday Five Million and the $25,000-entry event has some top players who have made it to the event finale.

Heading the way is Sweden’s Niklas Astedt, but the online phenom will have some very tough competition if he is to prevail on the final day’s play on Monday.

Let’s look back at how the tournament reached the final table stage.

Tournament Breaks the Guarantee

With 202 entries, the Sunday Five Million broke its guarantee, having been just two entries short of doing so last time out. This week, that was exceeded by the same number and some very big names were taking part from the off.

Plenty of household names in poker circles made it no further than multiple registrations, including but not limited to superstars such as Justin Bonomo, Michael Zhang, Matthias Eibinger, Mikita Badziakowski, Michael Addamo and Stephen Chidwick. One player who managed to fire an incredible nine times without cashing was Lev Gottlieb, who won last week’s Super MILLION$ on GGPoker for over half a million dollars.  Gottlieb was out $225,500 by the time late registration ended and the field was just 62 players.

Pushing on Towards the Money

Gottlieb may not have gathered enough chips to push for poker glory in this event, but others were accumulating them without any problem at all. Finnish player Sami Kelopuro was cast in the role of early chip leader, and he cut through the field like a harvesting machine.

With the carrot of a top prize worth $1,095,741 for the eventual winner dangling in front of the players, as well as a 9th-place prize of $49,063 for reaching the final table, play was intense. Only 27 players would be paid, and players such as German high roller Ole Schemion and Juan Pardo Dominguez perished on the path to that destination.

An early chip leader was Guillaume Nolet, the reigning champion of this event after his million-dollar in last week’s corresponding tournament, which meant he played with a target on his back.  Nolet eventually moved all-in with ace-three and saw Brazilian Pedro Garagnani knock him out with pocket deuces. Two big players were eliminated just before the final nine were formed with Jason Koon busting Ami Barer before American David Peters fell to his countryman Shawn Daniels.

The Final Nine

By the time that the field of 2020 had been reduced to nine finalists, one player was much shorter than the others. Even accounting for the blind levels being wound back to ensure final table play starts with an average of 40 big blinds, China’s Wei Zhao will begin with just 139,885, the equivalent of three big blinds.

Zhao may need the heater of all heaters to survive when the final table kicks off, but others are sitting pretty behind some virtual chip mountains. It will be Swedish online poker sensation Niklas Astedt who is possibly dreaming of building a Vegas bankroll in one hit when he sits down behind a chip-leading stack of 4.5 million chips. His closest challenger is the aforementioned Finn Sami Kelopuro (2.67 million) and Portugal poker pro Joao Vieira (2.47m) will not be far behind in the chasing pack.

Elsewhere, big names in the game will start with less chips but no little hope of victory. Shawn Daniels (2.29m), Jason Koon (2.18m) and David Yan (2.14m) all hover ominously just in behind, while Pedro Garagnani (2.07m) and Sam Greenwood (1.69m) have not given up any hope of being the last man standing.

GGPoker Sunday Five Million Final Table Chipcounts:

Position Player Country Chips
1st Niklas Astedt Sweden 4,519,808
2nd Sami Kelopuro Finland 2,670,495
3rd Joao Vieira Portugal 2,475,464
4th Shawn Daniels U.S.A. 2,296,836
5th Jason Koon U.S.A. 2,188,452
6th David Yan New Zealand 2,140,920
7th Pedro Garagnani Brazil 2,075,793
8th Sam Greenwood Canada 1,692,347
9th Wei Zhao China 139,885


Paul Seaton

Paul Seaton has written about poker for many years, travelling the world to report live from such poker events as the World Series of Poker, European Poker Tour and World Poker Tour. As well as reporting live from the felt, Paul was Editor of BLUFF Europe magazine and has written for major poker brands including PokerStars, 888poker and partypoker where he was Head of Media. Paul has interviewed many of the world’s greatest poker players, such as Sam Trickett, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth and Bryn Kenney, the current all-time money list leader.

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