XL Blizzard: Jans ‘Graftekkel’ Arends Victorious In Opening Event

Day four of 888poker's XL Blizzard was the biggest day on the schedule to date.

The third in 888poker’s trilogy of XL Championships got underway on Thursday as the opening slate of tournaments on the XL Blizzard schedule took place. XL Blizzard promises 11 days of non-stop action and over $2.9 million in guarantees over the course of 34 events.

In addition, 888poker is offering the opportunity for extra bonuses to players who rack up victories and in-the-money finishes. The top 50 of the XL Blizzard Leaderboard will gain entry into the Champion of Champions freeroll where, among other gifts, the top prize is a $12,000 package to the World Series of Poker.

With so much ready to be won, the three events that took place on Day 1 drew large fields and each surpassed their guarantees.

Event #1 – $80,000 Opening Event

The excitement of the XL Blizzard series drew 667 entries to the $80,000 Opening Event, all hoping to be the first to punch their ticket to the XL Blizzard Champion of Champions event. The players pushed the prize pool to $94,600 which promised at least two players five-figure paydays in the process.

PocketFives.com Triple Crown winner ‘Graftekkel’ turned himself into the first big winner of the series after ending up on top of a three-way battle that lasted late into the night. The grinder from the Netherlands adds $17,737.50 to his bankroll and the title of XL Blizzard Champion to his accolades. Finishing in second place was Ireland’s ‘123magmag123’ who took home $12,771 – good for the second highest XL Blizzard cash of the day.

Event #2 – $15,000 Mini Opening Event

The Mini Opening Event offered up the most affordable buy-in of the day at only $12, but the large field of 1508 entries turned it a large value tournament, promising the winner a high multiplier on their investment.

In the end,  ‘bygavuga’, ‘VyachesLove’ and ‘APCEBAT’, all who Russia their home, made a three-way deal. For the record, ‘bygavuga’ took home the win and $3,393.54 while runner-up ‘VyachesLove’ bagged $2,963.48. However, the third wheel in the deal, ‘APCEBAT’ ended up taking home only roughly $30 less than first-place money for his third-place finish.

The fourth Russian at the final table was PocketFiver ‘Ao1ing’, currently the #25-ranked Russian player in the world. ‘Ao1ing’ finished his run in sixth place, and although he missed out on the all Russian chop, he did turn his $12 into a very respectable $969.22.

Event #3 – $20,000 Late Opening Event

The third event of the day, the $55 buy-in $20,000 Late Opening Event, drew 441 entries and pushed the prize pool to $30,800. In the end Malta’s ‘scellone94’ claimed the XL Championship when he defeated Germany’s ‘Charlymogo’ for the win and the top prize of $5,852.

A pair of PocketFivers found their way to the final table as well. Anton ‘toshapiter’ Vinokurov finished up in eighth place for $693 and Brazil’s Muller ‘Matuks’ Mathias was the first to bust the final table, hitting the rail in ninth for $511.28.

Bubble Of Bubbles

Certainly ‘BtM4Ever’, ‘_FALCON_’ and ‘R.nahtanoJ’ were all disappointed today, as the three were the last players to finish without making the money in their respective tournaments. But all three “bubble boys” will all get a free entry into the “Bubble of Bubbles” tournament. The tournament offered as redemption for those who get oh-so-close to the cash only to fall short offers prizes such as free tournament tickets and even a $3,000 Crazy 8 World Series of Poker package.

XL Blizzard Day 1 Winners

# Event Winner Payout
1 $80,000 Opening Event Graftekkel $17,737.50
2 $15,000 Mini Opening Event bygavuga $3,393.54*
3 $20,000 Late Opening Event scellone94 $5852.00

* denotes Final Table deal