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Jul 29, 2016

2 WSOP ME Finalists Turn 888 Qualifiers into $1m+ Payouts

By RTR Dennis

Ever since Chris Moneymaker won the 2003 WSOP Main Event after qualifying through a $40 PokerStars satellite, online satellites and qualifiers have become popular ways to attain WSOP glory. This year, Griffin Benger and Fernando Pons found out what satellites can lead to as they’re both guaranteed to win at least $1 million on the 2016 WSOP Main Event final table. Let’s discuss how these two players qualified and why they’re vastly different from each other.

Pons and Benger Used 888 Qualifiers to Win ME Seats

Fernando Pons, an account executive in Palma, Spain, used a €30 satellite at 888poker to win his $10,000 Main Event seat. This was only a Step 5 satellite, so Pons had to win his way into bigger satellites before he finally earned his ME seat.

Benger had an easier route since he registered for a $160 qualifier and eventually won a $13,500 Main Event prize package. Benger’s method is definitely the best if you have the bankroll to continue playing larger qualifiers. But Pons showed that for a small-to-moderate amount, anybody can qualify for the WSOP.

As mentioned before, both players are guaranteed a $1 million payout since this is what 9th place receives. For Pons, who’s ninth in chips (6.15m), this seems like his fate.

Benger has a better shot at succeeding because he’s in seventh place with 26.175m chips. With some luck, these two will be eyeing larger payouts worth $8 million (1st), $4.66m (2nd), $3.45m (3rd), and $2.57m (4th).

These Players Are Polar Opposites in Terms of Poker

It almost seems strange that Benger used a qualifier to win his Main Event seat because he’s a former top-20 player on the Global Poker Index, he won the 2014 Shark Cage event ($1m), and he had $2.4 million in live tournament winnings before the WSOP.

Add in the fact that the Toronto-based pro has won close to $6 million in online poker tournaments, and he’s a complete opposite from Pons.

Prior to the ME, Pons had only earned $10,589 in live tourneys. His largest cash, worth $4,059, came when he finished 56th in a 2016 Wynn Summer Classic event. Now, the married father of two is set for a $1 million payout when the Main Event final table begins play on October 30th.

“I don’t know what to say, I have no words,” he said.

Pons added that he feels like “an example for working parents and fathers.”

Qualify for the 2017 WSOP Main Event

If you missed out on your chance at WSOP glory this year, keep in mind that 888poker will be running more satellites and qualifiers for the 2017 Main Event.

As an official sponsor of the WSOP, they’ll not only be offering Main Event prize packages, but also seats to other 2017 WSOP events.

One example from this past summer is the $888 Crazy Eights NL Hold’em event, which Hung Le, an Ohio nail salon worker, won along with $888,888.

All you need to do is sign up and deposit at 888poker to get started.