When looking ahead at the schedule for 888poker’s online poker winter series, XL Blizzard, players likely made a point to circle January 21 on their calendar. Five events took place on Sunday, the most schedules on any day over the entire 11-day schedule, and the $580,000 worth of guarantees that came with them was second only to that of the final day, which includes the $1,000,000 Main Event.
With a variety of buy-ins, players packed the lobbies and helped crush just about every guarantee, promising some of the largest paydays thus far in the young series.
Event #9 – $120,000 Mega Deep
The day got off to a solid start with 565 players registering for the $120,000 Mega Deep. With 209 rebuys, the prize pool grew to $154,800, ensuring multiple five-figure payouts for those who made it all the way to the end.
’23NoraB’ was that player who made it to the end. The Austrian collected $29,257.20 for first place after besting ‘Raise_Once’ from Greece who was forced to settle for $21,439.80 for taking second.
Brazil’s #1-ranked player (#16 in the world) Joao ‘Ineedmassari’ Simao finished in fifth place for $7,740. Fellow PocketFivers Rodrigo ‘seijistar’ Seiji (fourth place for $11,610) and ‘merfinis’ (seventh place for $3,870) also took their fair share of cash from the final table.
Event #10 – $200,000 Tune Up
Bigger still was the $200,000 Tune Up. This was the largest tournament of the day with 1,027 players buying in for $160 and 352 of them firing a second bullet. The result was $206,850 in the prize pool making it the largest XL Blizzard tournament to date.
This event took longer than any other tournament of the day, lasting nearly 13 hours before heads-up play began. Once Sweden’s ‘tutten7’ bowed out in third for $19,857.60, the two remaining German players put a deal in place and quickly wrapped up the marathon session.‘RKOoutofNWHR’, won the XL Blizzard title and took first place for $35,590.88 while countryman ‘Stiffler29’ also banked a monster score of $28,181.38.
The win for ‘RKOoutofNWHR’ puts him in second overall place on the XL Blizzard leaderboard. The top 50 on the leaderboard will gain entry into the Champion of Champions tournament, a freeroll that features a first place prize of a $12,000 World Series of Poker Main Event package.
Five of the top nine spots earned five-figure scores in this one and while he didn’t climb that high, PocketFiver Gabriel ‘gtavares10’ Tavares did make the final table, finishing in ninth for $2,482.20.
Event #11 – $40,000 Mini Tune Up
For those who were unable to buy or win their way into the larger events of the day, the $40,000 Mini Tune Up carried only a $12 buy-in. That was a very appealing entry point for many players as 3,539 of them took a shot at grabbing a piece of what ended up to be a $52,647 prize pool.
With so much money at stake for such a reasonable buy-in, it makes perfect sense that a deal was made in this one. ‘geniuspoker’ from Germany and ‘dolaBET’ from Lithuania opted to chop it up. ‘geniuspoker’ nabbed the lion share, earning $6,775,36 for first while ‘dolaBET’ would take slightly less at $6,127.10 – still, the score essentially 510x’d his initial investment.
Right behind the pair was PocketFiver Felipe ‘FmoraesP’ Pereira who ended up finishing in third for $4,053.81, helping him push closer to the $500,000 lifetime earnings milestone. Joining him on the final table was James ‘BL1NDRAZOR’ Walsh who busted out in ninth for $400.11.
Event #12 – $200,000 Whale
There was a slight overlay in the $200,000 Whale. So, even though the 139 player field (with 58 rebuys) in the $1,050 buy-in would likely be the toughest of the day, there was a small $3,000 overlay. Nevertheless, even though the prize pool was nearly that of Event #10, the smaller field meant that whoever was to win the Whale, would be taking home not only the largest cash of the day but the largest payday of the entire XL Blizzard series thus far.
That player would be the UK’s ‘CrystalMad’ who topped the stacked final table to take home the first place prize of $46,000. He did it by defeating the #3-ranked player in the world, ‘tutten7’ (aka ‘lena900’). ‘tutten7’ won $32,000 for his efforts and likely some valuable PLB points in his attempt to climb back to the Worldwide #1 spot. This was his second major cash of the day, having taken third in the aforementioned $200,000 Tune Up.
Six players overall received five-figure payouts including brand new 888poker ambassador Martin Jacobson who finished in fourth for $18,000.
In addition to ‘tutten7’, PocketFivers represented on the final table with Sweden’s ‘Madeon1994’ (aka former #2-ranked grinder ’Ariados’) earning $6,000 for eighth place and Argentina’s Rodrigo ‘sonmonedas’ Perez finishing in ninth for $5,000.
Event #13 — $20,000 Late Tune Up
The action didn’t slow down for the $20,000 Late Tune Up as 516 players (and their 163 rebuys) once again crushed the posted guarantee, exceeding it by $13,950. Despite starting later than the other four, the “Late” Tune Up was in the books before any of the previous contests.
Ukraine’s ‘Avgustys’ topped the payouts after defeating ‘GoFighTer’ heads up. ‘Avgustys’ took in $6416.55 for first as well as his first XL Championship of the series. For his runner-up finish, Belarus’ #3-ranked grinder, ’GoFighTer’, banked $4,702.07. It’s his sixth four-figure score of the month as he is currently enjoying a career-high ranking of #319 in the world.
Three other PocketFivers made their way to the final table including two grinders from Russia – ’gruzin_vova’ who finished in fifth for $1,833.30 and former top 10 crusher ‘MAMOHT_T’ who adds to his over $6 million in earnings with his sixth place cash of $1,442.87. ‘HellChiKKen’ from Belarus hit the rail in eighth for $763.87.
For those keeping tabs on the ‘Bubble of Bubble’ tournament tickets here’s the names of those who missed out on the massive XL Blizzard paydays, but will duke it out for the World Series of Poker Crazy 8’s package: ‘Iamtrying’, ‘Fackedelic’, ‘Agsur_Seni’, ‘_zufurduo_’ and ’DrMiKee’ (aka Fabrizio ‘SixthSenSe19’ Gonzalez, the #12 ranked player in the world.)
XL Blizzard Day 4 Winners
|9||$120,000 Mega Deep||23NoraB||$29,257.20|
|10||$200,000 Tune Up||RKOoutofNWHR||$35,590.86*|
|11||$40,000 Mini Tune Up||geniuspoker||$6,775.36*|
|13||$20,000 Late Tune Up||Avgustys||$6,416.55|
* denotes Final Table deal