The opening event of the 2020 World Series of Poker Online events had a little bit everything that makes the WSOP so special. A huge field, a deep run by none other than Mr. WSOP himself, Phil Hellmuth, and a final table that saw a new member, Jonathan Dokler, join the bracelet winner club.
Event #1 ($500 No Limit Hold’em Kickoff) drew 1,715 total entries from 1,195 unique players to create a $771,750 prize pool. Dokler’s eventual first place prize of $130,426 is the largest single prize on WSOP.com this year, beating the $130,410 score that Champie Douglas earned in the $525 Main Event of the Super Circuit Series earlier this year.
As the field dwindled down to two tables, the field included Hellmuth gunning for a 16th bracelet, former World Poker Tour champ Taylor von Kriegenberg looking to add a WSOP bracelet to his resume, and WPT commentator and WSOP bracelet winner Tony Dunst hoping for a second bracelet. Hellmuth was the only one of those three to not make the final table.
Tough last 45 minutes, I ran QQ into KK, Ad-Qd into A-K (for 8 big blinds) and Q-Q into A-K. Went from chip leader to out in 13th. I won some pots to get there though #POSITIVITY
— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) July 2, 2020
Taylor von Kriegenbergh moved all-in from the hijack for 751,580 with only to have Justin ‘MadTitan’ Turner call from the cutoff with . The board ran out to give von Kriegenbergh top pair on the flop before Turner made the nut flush on the turn to pick up the first elimination of the night.
A few minutes later, Jonathan ‘Art.Vandelay’ Dokler picked up his first victim of the final table. Action folded to Mark ‘NostraDonkus’ Liedtke on the button and he moved all-in for 1,017,824 with . Dokler called from the big blind with ]. The flop missed Liedtke and he could do nothing but watch as the turn and river gave Dokler a full house to send Liedtke out in eighth place.
The fast pace of eliminations continued as a blind versus blind battle two hands later ended one player’s tournament. Michael ‘DDSpade’ Balan opened to 390,000 from the small blind and ‘djp1006’ defended his big blind. The flop came and Balan bet 460,000. ‘djp1006’ moved all-in behind him for 1,470,536. Balan called and tabled for middle pair while while ‘djp1006’ was ahead with . The turn was the but the river was the to give Balan trip tens to bust ‘djp1006’ in seventh.
No one player was able to seize control of the final table to this point with the fourth elimination of the night coming at the hands of a fourth unique player ten minutes later. ‘ChefShap‘ moved all-in from the cutoff with with Shawn ‘SayGoodNight’ Daniels calling from the big blind with . Daniels stayed in control through the run out to send ‘ChefShap’ to the rail in sixth place.
The final five players battled for 20 minutes with Dunst holding the chip lead despite not having been responsible for a single final table elimination. Two other players who had sent players packing battled in the next bustout. From the small blind, Balan raised to 555,000 and Dokler re-raised to 1,200,000 from the big blind. Balan called and the two players saw a flop of . Balan checked, Dokler bet 680,000 and Balan called. The turn was the and Balan shoved his last 2,840,000 into the middle and Dokler called. Balan showed for second pair and the third nut flush draw only to be shown by Dokler for two pair and a better flush draw. The river offered Balan no help and he was sent packing in fifth.
Down to four players, Dunst finally found himself a victim. From the button, Dunst raised to 560,000 with . Daniels moved all-in for 1,538,586 from the small blind with and Dunst called. The flop gave Daniels all kinds of outs. The turn was not one of them and neither was the river to send him home in fourth place.
Unfortunately for Dunst, his run didn’t last much longer after an all-in preflop flip didn’t go his way. Dunst bet 560,000 from the button with and Dokler responded by three-betting to 1,800,000 with . Dunst moved all-in for 9,450,881 and Dokler called. The flop was a safe one for Dunst and the turn kept him in control. The river however gave Dokler top pair and eliminated Dunst in third place.
Heads-up play lasted just 20 minutes thanks largely to Dokler holding a better-than 3-1 lead over Turner after Dunst’s elimination. On the final hand Turner bet his last 4,765,824 with and Dokler called with . The flop gave Turner top pair but Dokler was now drawing to an open-ended straight. The turn completed that draw and all Dokler could do was watch as the meaningless river completed the hand to eliminate him and award Dokler the win and his first career WSOP bracelet.
The win comes three months after Dokler picked up a WSOP Circuit Ring in the Super Circuit Series on WSOP.com and five months after his win in the Borgata Winter Poker Open High Roller for $100,829.
Final Table Payouts
- Jonathan ‘Art.Vandelay’ Dokler – $130,426
- Justin ‘MadTitan’ Turner – $80,416
- Tony ‘Panoramic’ Dunst – $57,881
- Shawn ‘SayGoodNight’ Daniels – $42,060
- Michael ‘DDSpade’ Balan – $30,947
- ‘ChefShap’ – $22,998
- ‘djp1006’ – $17,287
- Mark ‘NostraDonkus’ Liedtke – $13,120
- Taylor ‘ZeroTo100’ Von Kriegenbergh – $10,110
Hellmuth was certainly the biggest name to make the money on opening day but not the only familiar face starting off the Series with a cash. Jonathan ‘havuuuuuc’ Turner (12th – $7,782), Ryan ‘Toosick’ Tosoc (25th – $3,935.92), Dan ‘feeltheflow’ Sindelar (29th – $3,164.17), Mike ‘mouth123’ Matusow (44th – $2,623.95), Jesse ‘MrJesseJames’ Sylvia (137th – $1,003.27), Katie ‘katelin’ Lindsay (149th – $1,003.27), Napun ‘javatini’ Java (159th – $926.10), and Daniel ‘centrfieldr’ Lupo (247th – $771.75) and managed to work their way into the money on Wednesday night.