Especially with the size of the fields, it was thought to be an impossibility – someone winning two 2020 online WSOP bracelets. That theory was trashed on Thursday night, however, as Alek ‘astazz’ Stasiak earned his second WSOP bracelet of 2020 in taking down the $1000 No Limit Hold’em tournament on GGPoker.
It only took roughly five hours for the players to decide who would be the 278 recipients of the more than $1 million prize pool. Such notables as Mohsin Charania, former World Champion Ryan Riess, David Peters and Chris Moorman would not be a part of those who received any money for their efforts. Galen Hall, Nick Grippo, Alex Foxen, Kenny Hallaert, Luke Schwartz and Jake Schindler were, however, picking up some money as the final table was determined.
As the final table began, Dejan ‘627265’ Kaladjurdjevic was the master of the table, holding 13.41 million in chips as Kunal ‘Alex_52’ Bhatia pursued him closely with 10.467 million in chips. For his part, Stasiak wasn’t thought to be a contender, coming to the final table with only 1.26 million in chips, but he would make his presence known quickly to his opponents.
Bhatia quickly seized the chip lead from Kaladjurdjevic, knocking Federico ‘elputoamo!’ Molina from the tournament in ninth, but Stasiak was slowly working his way up the ladder. He was able to get up to 4.5 million in chips by the time Jimmy ‘KOBE_BRYANT8’ Guerrero was dispatched by Vincas ‘seimininkas’ Tamasauskas in eighth place. By the time there were six players left, Bhatia was still in the lead but Stasiak had worked his way into the second place slot on the leaderboard.
The turning point in the tournament came with four players remaining. Stasiak and Denis ‘FXOpen’ Peganov had clashed at several points at the final table and it was inevitable that they would get it in against each other. With Peganov at risk and holding a powerful pair of pocket Queens, Stasiak looked to take him down with only an A♥ 5♥. It proved to be enough as the flop came 3-6-A to push Stasiak into the lead. An eight on the turn helped nobody and Peganov, looking for one of the two remaining ladies in the deck, instead saw a four on the river to end his tournament in fourth place and shoot Stasiak into the lead.
From this point, Stasiak seized control of the tournament. He knocked out Kaladjurdjevic in third, going to heads up against Bhatia with more than a 2:1 lead, but it would prove to be more of a fight than Stasiak thought. Soon after the start of heads up action, Bhatia would double up with a miraculous turned two pair of sixes and fours (and a rivered boat) against Stasiak’s flopped pair of Kings. But Stasiak slowly ground his way back into the tournament, coming within five million chips as the next level up came about.
Soon after that level up, Stasiak struck. Stasiak was able to bet Bhatia out of a 17 million chip pot on the river that completely flipped the script in the match, giving Stasiak more than a 4:1 chip lead. It was over with soon afterwards as, with all the chips in the center, Bhatia had a slight lead with his A-4 off suit against Stasiak’s K-Q off suit. All was good for Bhatia on the 3-8-7-3 flop and turn, but the King on the river ended all the discussion, giving Stasiak the hand and the championship.
1. Alek ‘astazz’ Stasiak, $273,505*
2. Kunal ‘Alex_52’ Bhatia, $207,190
3. Dejan ‘627265’ Kaladjurdjevic, $150,358
4. Denis ‘FXOpen’ Peganov, $109,114
5. Vincas ‘seimininkas’ Tamasauskas, $79,184
6. Thomas ‘IplayYpay’ Hueber, $57,464
7. Jesse ‘AAGenius88’ Mercado, $41,701
8. Jimmy ‘KOBE_BRYANT8’ Guerrero, $30,263
9. Federico ‘elputoamo!’ Molina, $21,962
(* – receives a WSOP Europe package valued at $12,000)
With the victory on Thursday night, Stasiak becomes the first two-time winner of the 2020 online WSOP. Both of those wins have come on the GGPoker virtual felt, with Stasiak winning two weeks ago during the eventful Event #33. That tournament, the “Every 1 For COVID Relief (Caesars Cares)” raised money in the ongoing battle against the COVID-19 virus, and Stasiak was able to win that delayed tournament, the bracelet and a $343,204 payday.