On April 7, the partypoker LIVE MILLIONS Season One Grand Final gets underway. Taking place near the beautiful beaches in Barcelona, Spain – at the Casino Barcelona – the Main Event boasts an ambitious €10 million guarantee where no fewer than three players will become a millionaire, practically overnight.
One of those who will be taking a seat at the table will be World Series of Poker bracelet winner, World Poker Tour champion and, as it turns out, partypoker online qualifier Mike Leah. Well-known as one of the most dedicated tournament players in the world, Leah efforts to make his way into any tournament with an enticing prize pool. For Leah, the partypoker MILLIONS Grand Final in Barcelona was a no-brainer.
“I won a package online. I would have definitely gone anyway but it’s always nice to win a package, save some money and get the hotel and stuff taken care of. It makes the trip easier to plan…and cheaper,” Leah said.
He’s not alone as partypoker has been helping players qualify for their Main Event for weeks now and will do so right up until the start of the Main Event. Of course, it’s in the online site’s best interest to pack the field with satellite winners as they need 1,000 runners just to cover the hefty guarantee.
“I really like how they have things set up with the different Phases,” Leah says, talking about his path to winning his ticket. “It makes it easy for anyone to try and qualify no matter what your bankroll is. You can start down in the pennies and the dollars or you can start higher, like in the $109’s. Or, you can direct buy into the $1,000 satellite.”
This is a good thing, for everyone. Players who may not normally get a shot to play in such a prestigious tournament can take their shots without having to break the bank.
“The Phases work great because it gets people from all different buy-ins playing the satellites, which keeps them on the softer side,” Leah said. “They’ve been filling up well, too.”
In fact, partypoker has been giving away at least ten packages every week this month. One such satellite gave away in excess of 20 seats.
“When satellites fill up that well it, of course, makes it easier for people to win packages but it also means that there are just so many players from all different feeders and different level phases which is great. I think they’ve done a really good job.”
Leah’s won at least one seat into the Main Event, but the tournament has four starting flights – allowing players who enter multiple times to carry their largest stack forward. Should things not go his way on the first day, Leah’s acknowledges that the value the tournament brings will be too good not to fire again.
“I’ll fire one, two, three more if needed. I definitely won’t be sitting and watching other people play for all the money.”
And there’s plenty of money to be won in Barcelona. While the Main Event carries that €10 million guarantee there’s a total of over 23 million guaranteed over the course of nine events, including a €1,000 €1 million guarantee and a healthy slate of high rollers. Leah’s not yet decided which of the nine events he’ll be registering for but he acknowledges that, for a player like himself, the partypoker LIVE MILLIONS in Barcelona is likely to keep him in action.
“Another great thing they do is they have buy-ins for all different levels. For someone in my exact scenario, where I can play the €25,000’s but I’m also happy playing a really big €1,000 it’s a really tough decision.”
Whatever he decides, he’s going to be extra pumped to mix it up as he’s in the middle of taking a full month off after a heavy travel schedule for the first two months of 2018. His year so far has included a trip to Rozvadov for the partypoker MILLIONS Germany and, of course, his much-publicized victory in the WPT Fallsview Main Event. But a tournament like this, he just can’t skip. While in his mind, it’s not quite the same as a WSOP bracelet just yet, the player-first changes over at partypoker have been making a distinct difference to the tournament pro.
“[partypoker LIVE MILLIONS] are definitely becoming more important. With million-dollar winners for all the Main Events that makes them about as meaningful as can be. There are not that many tournaments where you can win a million bucks. I think the Main Event fields, all of the ones I’ve been to, have been really really good. I expect this one to be just as good.”
Having only been to Barcelona once before, Leah is looking forward to getting a second shot at experiencing Spain’s capital.
“It’s a beautiful city from what I remember and I look forward to checking it out even more and maybe catching some beach time. The weather should be a lot nicer than Canada.”
Including catching some time at the beach, he’s hoping that it will be in Barcelona that he catches a cash that put him over $7 million in lifetime earnings, something he’s less than $10,000 away from achieving.
“How about I just try to get right to $8 million,” Leah joked. If he’s in the top three of MILLIONS Barcelona, he’ll do just that.
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