PartyPoker promised a prize pool of $20 million for its $5,300 buy-in MILLIONS Main Event tournament, and after 4,367 entrants took part in the festivities, that guarantee was easily met. As well, a PartyPoker satellite qualifier walked away with a huge payday.
Five starting flights were held between November 25 and December 4, with the combined turnout generating a total prize pool of $21,385,000. That made the 2018 PartyPoker MILLIONS the largest online poker tournament in history by nearly double, in the event’s second year on the circuit.
The eventual winner was slated to receive $2,729,376, while a seat at the eight-handed final table was worth at least $327,525.
Following five days of starting flight play, 687 survivors reconvened for Day 2, but only the final 500 players would secure a minimum cash of $10,918.
Among the Team PartyPoker pros to make the money were Fedor “Fedor_Holz” Holz (31st place for $65,505), Philipp “Phil_Gruissem” Gruissem (37th – $54,588), Joni “JJouhki” Jouhkimainen (63rd – $43,070), and Kristen “Krissyb24” Bicknell (399th – $12,282),
Well-known pros not affiliated with PartyPoker to take a run at the title included Sam “bestindabiz51” Panzica (46th – $49,129) and all-time online tournament money leader Chris “Therealmoorm” Moorman (61st – $43,670).
Back on November 15 – only 10 days before Day 1A of the PartyPoker MILLIONS Online Main Event kicked off – Blaž Žerjav posted a cryptic message reading simply “1.830.000 :)” to Twitter
The 21-year old professional soccer player from Serbia was replying to a PartyPoker promotion, hoping to correctly guess the value of a chip stack in exchange for a $22 PartyPoker satellite qualifier entry. He didn’t score that particular satellite seat, but after winning a $5.50 PartyPoker satellite qualifier under the screenname “Scarmak3r,” Žerjav began climbing the PartyPoker MILLIONS satellite ladder.
That quest required winning additional satellites at the $22, $109, and $530 levels, a journey culminating with a $5,300 entry into the big show.
From there, Žerjav weaved his way through the Day 1 starting flight and into Day 2, before he and 28 others began the final day of play. After securing a seat at the final table, Žerjav picked his spots and let others go bust before finally bowing out in third place – good for a $1,364,688 payout and an astounding 248,125x return on his investment.
Following the end of Žerjav’s magical run, only two players remained in contention for the title – Manuel “Sheparentao” Ruivo of Portugal and Pim “ForMatherRussia” de Goede of the Netherlands.
Interestingly enough, Ruivo – a pro who has won over $530,000 in live tournaments – was playing under an account registered in the Netherlands, while de Goede’s geolocation placed him in Malta.
When heads-up play began, Ruivo held a slight chip lead over de Goede – a former European Poker Tour (EPT) champion with over $800,000 in live earnings to his credit – prompting the pair to discuss a deal after just a single hand.
In the end, Ruivo and de Goede agreed to chop the remaining prize pool based on their current chip count. Ruivo pocketed $2,329,944 to de Goede’s $2,309,995, and the cashes instantly became the top-two largest payouts in online poker history.
See the table below for a full rundown of final table results:
PartyPoker MILLIONS Online $5,300 Main Event Final Table Results
|1st||Manuel “Sheparentao” Ruivo||Netherlands||$2,329,944*|
|2nd||Pim “ForMatherRussia” de Goede||Malta||$2,309,995*|
|3rd||Blaž “Scarmak3r” Žerjav||Slovenia||$1,364,688|
|4th||Pedro “Maddonaa” Marques||Netherlands||$1,091,750|
*Denotes heads-up deal