Weekly Poker Update: August 10, 2020

August 10, 2020 Text On a Black Poker Chip

For casual fans who don’t know much about it, the fact that the World Series of Poker is being held online this year might insinuate that it is somehow a lesser event. But aside from the oddity of not being in the same room with their counterparts, the game or its strategy really hasn’t changed for the pros. More importantly, as a big winner proved this past week, the massive money at stake hasn’t changed.

On Saturday, the biggest purse yet in the online World Series of Poker was at stake, as nine players took to the final table for the Millionaire Maker Hold’em event. The original prize pool, which was boosted by a $1,500 buy-in, was guaranteed for $5 million. That amount skyrocketed to nearly $9 million when over 6,200 entrants took part.

The end result was a winner’s purse of $1,489,289. Those at the final table had to wait a week, as the first part of the tournaments was held back on Monday. And when the dust cleared and there was only one left standing, it was Daniel Dvoress who walked away with the win and the bracelet, his first ever.

Lest anyone think that it was a case of Dvoress backing into the title after coming into the day with the chip lead, he aggressively took care of most of his foes. As a matter of fact, he knocked out the last five players at the table, finishing by putting the kibosh on Caio De Almeida just two hands into head-to-head play.

WSOP 2020 Online Text and Gold Bracelet

Even though it was his first bracelet victory, Dvoress is no stranger to high-stakes action. He has earned over $17 million in his career in tournament play. As a matter of fact, the WSOP earnings from this one look like small potatoes compared to the $4 million he scored in an event in the Bahamas last November.

There will be even bigger purses on the line going forward, as the World Series of Poker online event continues through the next month or so. Still, no word has been given on the possibility of a live WSOP event taking place due to the uncertainty of current evenets. As Dvoress’ win proves, however, there is plenty to gain from taking part in the online event.

Doubling Up

When you consider that there are thousands of entrants in most World Series of Poker events and that there are only a finite number of those events, it’s always a bit surprising to see someone win twice in the same year. Obviously, it’s a skill-based game, but there is a lot of luck involved in coming out on top of a huge tournament as well.

Yet it seems like, every year, there is at least one or maybe even a few jack-of-all-trades who double their WSOP pleasure with multiple bracelets. It happened again this year, but the source of this achievement was a bit of a surprise. In fact, if you were guessing that Alek Stasiak would be the guy, you must be descended from Nostradamus.

Coming into 2020, the Canadian possessed career tournament earnings that barely scraped past $10,000. As a matter of fact, it had been two years since he had last cashed in any tournament.

That’s not to say he isn’t a quality player, as he could have been focusing on cash games for all we know. But it did kind of leave him off the radar when it came to this year’s World Series of Poker.

WSOP 2020 Online Poker Game Table

On July 27th, Stasiak forced himself onto that radar by coming from behind in head-to-head action to capture the Every 1 For COVID Relief Hold’em event. It was his biggest payday in tournament action by far, as he secured $343,204.

A one-time win like that could obviously be written off by some as a fluke. But Stasiak put all of that to rest when he scored another big WSOP victory this past week. This one came in a $1,000 buy-in no-limit Hold’em event.

Think about the math involved here. The first event featured 2,323 players. On Friday, Stasiak topped a field of 2,006 to win it all. His winning purse this time around was $273,505.

What was amazing about this score was that he came into the final table with the least amount of chips of anybody there. It looked like he might have had to settle for a minor award this time around, which still would have been a bigger chunk of change than anything he managed heading into this year.

But Stasiak got to nibble small pots here and there to stay afloat, while others picked themselves off. He managed to keep his head down as five players were knocked off, albeit with a chips disadvantage still. And with only four players left, it was time for him to start mixing it up.

That’s where he got a bit of luck to go his way, going all-in on a hand despite being at a disadvantage based on the first two cards. But the flop went his way and he was hurting for chips no more. At that point, he could start to bully instead of being the bullied.

Luck continued to go Stasiak’s way when he called an all-in and, again, benefitted from an advantageous flop. He then knocked out the third-place finisher. Finally, it was head-to-head time as he faced off against Kunal Bhatia. The back-and-forth continued for a while until Bhatia was on his last legs. As befitting his seat-of-the-pants run up to that point, Stasiak only captured the final hand when the river card gave him the advantage after he had trailed the hand all the way until then.

Is there such a thing as a poker hot streak? You’ll get differing opinions on that. After all, the luck of the draw is so much a part of the game and is extremely fickle.

Maybe Stasiak just prefers the online format. His wins make it seem like he’s more than comfortable at top gambling websites.

One thing is for sure, Alex Stasiak must be feeling confident right about now, which can go a long way to having the psychological fortitude to win high-stakes event. We’ll be watching closely to see if he can make it a three-bagger before the World Series of Poker Online event is through.