In March 2018, 888poker and the World Poker Tour (WPT) went where no poker tournament series had gone before! They combined online and live Day 1s to create an event that appealed to all poker players. And. With a whopping $1,000,000 guarantee, they proved that they were serious about making this event happen.

The series took place from 23 March to the 2 April. However, 888poker hosted two special Day 1 events online on 11 March and 18 March, which saw 504 players battling to get their ticket to Day 2 on 1 April.

888poker ambassadors, Martin Jacobson and Sofia Lovgren both obtained their tickets via the online qualifiers. Chris Moorman managed to secure his seat via one of the live satellites at Aspers Casino in London.

The WPT500 Live Locations

The live satellites ran across the UK in three Aspers Casino locations. This factor gave players a unique opportunity to qualify for their seat closer to home and then travel to London for Day 2. It also afforded players the ability to play multiple Day 1s and take the largest stack into Day 2.

And, they would get paid for making Day 2, so that all surviving runners made it to Day 2 already “in-the-money”.

Day 1s:

March 11: Online Day 1 on 888poker

March 23-25: Day 1s at Aspers Westfield Stratford City

March 23-25: Day 1s at The Casino Milton Keynes

March 23-25: Day 1s at Aspers Casino Newcastle

March 29-31: Day 1s at Aspers Westfield Stratford City

April 1: Day 2 at Aspers Westfield Stratford City

April 2: Final Day at Aspers Westfield Stratford City

How Did Each Flight Work?

In each flight, play would continue until 5% of the combined number of buy-ins and re-entries remained. Those players making it to Day 2 would automatically be eligible to receive a minimum of £1,065 ($1,500).

Also, the next top 8% of the field was awarded $1,100 which was be credited to their 888poker account (within 48 hours of the tournament’s end). The next top 12% were awarded $900 – also credited to their 888poker account within 48 hours of the tournament’s end.

On Day 1 of the event, The World Poker Tour interviewed British Pro Katie Swift, and here’s what she had to say about this innovative format:

"It’s a nice format and structure; the levels have plenty of play in them. Earlier I was at a juicy with what I thought were inflated pots, but the structure means that it doesn’t have to be that way because the structure really does allow you to play.

"I also like the fact that if you make Day 2, you’re already in the money. Especially if you've played one of the regional Day 1s and you've got the expense of hotel and travel, it's nice to have already cashed. For me personally, London isn't too far away for me, but it's certainly great for people travelling from further away."

The WPT500 Day 1s LIVE

The online Day 1s occurred on 11 March and 18 March at 888poker and brought in 504 runners. The first live events happened at Aspers London, Milton Keynes and Newcastle locations from 23-25 March. A total of 324 entries were added to the online total.

The satellite qualifiers returned to Aspers London location 29-31 March to give players even more opportunities to be part of this exciting event.

Date Flight Runners Paid Advance
29/3/2018 1 142 22 9
30/3/2018 2 222 27 11
30/3/2018 3 152 21 9
31/3/2018 4 265 32 13
31/3/2018 5 117 15 6

There were some big names and recognisable faces in the London Day 1 events. Local pro and celeb, Sin Melin played the first flight and made it to Day 2 with a not-too-shabby 182,000 chip stack to play with.

888poker ambassador Chris Moorman and “Nine High Like a Boss” William Kassouf were also both fighting to make Day 2. Unfortunately, neither were successful, but Chris left us with some sage advice for recreational players:

"I've played the Aria one a few times before. I think the concept is really good: Win big money for a small buy-in! Simple as that. That's the beauty of tournaments for me, so I'm all about it. It's especially good for recreational players.”

Other big names entering the fray were Belgian, November Niner, Kenny Hallaert and the French pro superstar Kalidou Sow.

Of the total number of entrants, 1,810 a mere 91 made it to Day 2 and a chance at the £114,000 for first place.

Chris Moorman WPT500 London

WPT500 Day 2 Action

Both 888poker ambassadors, Sofia Lovgren and Martin Jacobson, were determined to take this one down. It was the Swedish contingent, and they were focused on representing!

However, the day was topsy-turvy and Sofia, who had entered Day 2 with just 20 big blinds. Sadly, they were donated to the eventual Day 2 4th place in chips, when she moved all-in in early position with Q-10. Kevin O’Donnell called with 8-7 suited and turned a gutter straight sending Sofia to the rail in 35th place. Martin didn’t fare much better going out in 29th.

It was left to 888poker qualifier Adrian Petrus to pick up the mantle, And, it looked as if it wouldn’t be too heavy for his shoulders. In a hand during Level 28, he went head-to-head with Jon Kyte.

Adrian raised under-the-gun; a second player called, and Kyte 3-bet on the button. The action folded back to Adrian who moved all-in. The second player folded and Kyte eventually folded declaring, "I think I call anyone else at the table there!"

Petrus entered Day 2 second in chips and prepared to do battle.

After 12 hours of hard-fought poker, the final 9 players were left standing – all guaranteed a minimum of £11,390 and a maximum of £114,000.

Here is the full list of payouts:

Place Payout Place Payout Place Payout
1st £114,000 9th £11,390 37-45th £2,580
2nd £79,830 10-12th £9,420 46-54th £2,285
3rd £51,470 13-15th £7,500 55-63rd £2,070
4th £38,075 16-18th £6,220 64-72nd £1,890
5th £29,000 19-21st £5,100 73-81st £1,725
6th £23,035 22-24th £4,335 82-90th £1,555
7th £19,075 25-27th £3,615 91st £1,390
8th £15,175 28-36th £2,955    

Here is the list of the 9 $1,000,000 GTD WPT500 London final-tablists:

Gary Miller: 5,805,000

Adrian Petrus: 4,590,000

Richard Hoadley: 3,800,000

Kevin O'Donnell: 3,315,000

Getnet Hailu: 2,825,000

Dwayne Bradley: 2,465,000

Charles Akadiri: 1,930,000

Sang Leung: 1,440,000

Sunil Mistri: 1,115,000

WPT500 Final Day 3 Action

WPT500 London Final 9 Day 3

With play resuming with the blinds at 60,000/120,000/20,000a, there were several shorter stacks in jeopardy. However, with the massive pay jumps between the places, no one was going to risk their chips with air. And so, it was that Sunil Mistri woke up with pocket 10s in the very first hand of the day. He moved all-in and was called by Sang Leung on the button with A♥J♠. The flop was of no help to Leung, and neither was the turn. However, the river brought relief when the A♣ fell, eliminating Sunil in 9th.

From that point on, it seemed an eternity until another player was eliminated. Everyone wanted to hang on as long as they could to ladder up – and, why not?

Final Table Payouts:

1st: £114,000

2nd: £79,830

3rd: £51,470

4th: £38,075

5th: £29,000

6th: £23,035

7th: £19,075

8th: £15,175

9th: £11,390

If it wasn’t for the over-active and aggressive play of Getnet Hailu backed up by Gary Miller, we might have seen the next elimination due to being blinded out all-in!

Luckily as the blinds crept up, the players began to see the urgency and one-by-one they began to take their leave. Through it all, Day 2 chip leader, Gary Miller, maintained a cool level-headedness that proved to be the undoing of Getnet. Yes, these two were destined to end this one heads-up. It was on the cards.

After 5 ½ hours of play, the dream came true. Hailu and Miller met heads-up, prepared to battle over the £35,000 that separated first from second – and the title, of course.

At the start of heads-up play, Miller had a slight chip advantage with the blinds at 250,000/500,000/75,000a:

Gary Miller: 15,460,000

Getnet Hailu: 11,805,000

It took Gary a little over 2 hours minutes to edge away from Getnet and finally break out on the final hand. Getnet moved all-in with K♦10♠ for his remaining 3.4 million, and Gary insta-called with 7♦7♠.

Hailu caught a 10 on the flop, but it was not to be. Miller turned a 7, and it was all over. Both players were champs as this was the best cash either of them had ever had – by far.

WPT500 London Winner - Gary Miller

Well played, lads!

Here are the full final table results:

Place Name Payout
1 Gary Miller (£114,000 / $159,600)
2 Getnet Hailu (£79,830 / $111,762)
3 Dwayne Bradley (£51,470 / $72,058
4 Charles Akadiri (£38,075 / $53,305)
5 Sang Leung (£29,000 / $40,600)
6 Richard Hoadley (£23,035 / £32,249)
7 Kevin O’Donnell (£19,075 / $26,705)
8 Adrian Petrus (£15,175 / $21,245)
9 Sunil Mistri (£11,390 / $15,946)

Next stop for 888poker LIVE is Barcelona at the end of May. See you there!

About the Author
By
Hyacinth Swanson is a part-time live and online poker player who enjoys writing and editing poker content. She currently runs marketing firm PurpleGob.com.
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