Poker news | Oct 06, 2023
Bert ‘girafganger7’ Stevens wins largest ever WSOP Online Main Event - taking home $2.7 million
By Rtr Lucy
Crammed into a small attic for 27 hours, surrounded by snacks and fizzy drinks, and watched closely by his 23,100 followers, this popular Twitch streamer, Bert ‘girafganger7’ Stevens made history. Beating out a field of 6,023 entries, Stevens took home the trophy at the largest WSOP online main event ever, winning himself a life-changing $ 2.7 million and a WSOP Maiden bracelet.
The 2023 WSOP Online Main Event certainly finished off with a bang this year, as this Belgian poker player, and now globally recognised poker star, set a new world record as he took home a mind-blowing $2,783,433. The WSOP Online International series, running from August 20 to October 2 on GGPoker, featured 33 events with buy-ins from $108. Players worldwide, excluding the United States, had multiple chances to win a WSOP bracelet and substantial cash prizes. The final $5,000 buy-in bracelet event garnered widespread attention this year as it broke a $25M guarantee at the beginning of this week, and then surpassed it.
With a prize pool of $28,609,252, this year’s World Series of Poker Online Main Event on GGPoker, just about beating out their $5K main event held three years ago, the previous largest online poker tournament ever held with a prize pool of $27,559,500, won by Stoyan Madanzhiev.
Unfortunately for Madanzhiev, despite winning a whopping $3.9 million and expecting to be crowned the 2020 world champion due to the Covid-19 cancellation of the live WSOP that year, set to be held in Las Vegas, his dreams were soon crushed when a separate online-live hybrid tournament took place later that year. Damian Salas took the title instead and became 2020’s recognised world champion.
Now, sadly for Madanzhiev, Stevens has also stolen his claim of winning the largest ever online poker tournament. The London-based streamer settled in for an exhausting 27 hours, ready to take the throne. After having already spent a full day playing, he made his way to the final table to face off against his final eight competitors.
Stevens began the final table as chip leader, with only a slight edge over Dutch ace Erik Bakker but slowly extended his lead throughout the game to a point where he was way out ahead. There was some back and forth in the early stages of the final table as Bakker then briefly took a slim lead until his failed attempt to turn bottom pair into a bluff against the twitch streamers top two pair. From that point on, for the next two hours, Stevens was the clear aggressor at this historic final table and maintained a wide lead way out in front.
With about two-thirds of his chips in play, Stevens faced the remaining five players. After Ezequiel Kleinman dropped out at third place, still securing $1,524,214, only Stevens and Chinese player Yagen Li were left sat at the table in a heads-on game for this life-changing sum.
Although both players were guaranteed to finish the tournament with at least $2 million in their pockets, there was still $750,000 at stake, and both players were prepared to battle fiercely for it. In this final heads-up play, Li struggled to last more than a few minutes but still had enough time to bring down the deficit.
Starting with the initial bet, Stevens upped the ante to 10,500,000 holding 6 ♣, 6 ♦. Things escalated further when he faced a three-bet of 30,000,000 from Li’s A ♣, Q ♦. The original raiser responded by pushing all in, putting roughly 117,000,000 into the pot. Li swiftly called, eyeing a potential 2-1 chip advantage if fortune favoured him in the impending clash. Unfortunately, his hopes were dashed, as the community cards—K ♠, 3 ♦, K ♦, 4 ♠, 5 ♥—, forced Li to settle for a consolation prize of $2,059,058.
Stevens largest win up till then had been $655k secured through his second-place spot in GGPoker’s Super Million$ event back in 2021.But now from his cramped, windowless attic, ‘girafganger7’ celebrated $2.7 million victory with thousands of his cheering fans on live-stream as he attempted to rip his shirt off in the excitement of the moment, creating one of the best recorded moments in poker history to date. Stevens' own raw emotion was matched by that of his well-wishers who poured congratulations and stunned swear words into the live chat.
One user wrote "This man is the real goat of poker, @GGPoker just offer him as sponsorship and create his avatar and his emoji he deserves it,". Another commented "Bert is so easy to root for. Get this dude a sponsorship immediately!". Even famous poker pro Scott Seiver took to twitter to express his congratulations.