The 888poker XL Winter Series kicked off on Thursday, December 10 and after the weekend, 13 tournaments from the 34-event schedule were in the books. Throughout the completed events, 11,452 entrants competed, and $329,400 in prize money was awarded.

One of the early storylines to emerge is the dominance of players from Belarus. Thus far, they have captured nearly a third of the titles with four victories. Interestingly, those wins were split into a pair of back-to-back wins.

First, “Undervit” took down Event #4: $30,000 PKO for $5,235.23, and “MarshallMatt” followed that up by taking down Event #5: $15,000 Mini PKO for $2,787.62.

Then, 888poker regular “RakDoll” won Event #9: $15,000 Late 8-Max for $3,037.50, while fellow countryman “pereleman” emerged victorious in Event #10: $50,000 Tune Up for $9,819.41, the largest first-place prize awarded thus far. More on that below.

888poker XL Winter Kicks Off with a Bang

The 888poker series began with a trio of Opening Events including the $109 buy-in Event #1: $50,000 Opening Event. This tournament attracted 408 players who rebought 103 times. The 511-entry field resulted in a $51,100 prize pool that was paid out to the top 54 finishers.

Among those to cash but fall short of the final table were “IlovePickles” (42nd - $281.05), Dara “Doked” O’Kearney (38th - $281.05), “Rampage” (29th - $306.60), “NL_Banff” (20th - $357.70), “Nev3rBluff5” (15th - $562.10), and final table bubble boy “cherrywine” (10th - $664.30).

There were a couple of well-known poker pros at the final table, including Chile’s Nicolas “PKaiser” Fierro, who bowed out in Level 36 (30,000/60,000/7,500). According to PokerNews, who offered live updates from the tournament, action folded to “arucia” on the button, and they raised to 150,000.

Fierro then three-bet jammed for 1.2 million from the small blind and “barrybarry15” called from the big. “arucia” got out of the way and the hands were turned up.

Nicolas “PKaiser” Fierro: Q♣J♣

“barrybarry15”: 7♣7♥

It was a flip, but not after the flop came down 7♠6♥2♥ to give “barrybarry15” a set. Fierro was drawing dead and watched helplessly as the meaningless 5♠ and 10♦ were run out on the turn and river respectively. Fierro was eliminated in fourth place for $4,088.

In Level 39 (50,000/100,000/12,500), “barrybarry15” raised to 200,000 and called when Johannes “TrollKonst8” Korsar three-bet all in for 1,170,836.

Johannes “TrollKonst8” Korsar: K♠J♠

“barrybarry15”: A♦4♠

Korsar was looking to improve, but that proved easier said than done as the board ran out A♠9♥6♣10♥10♣. Korsar exited in third place for $5,366 and the final two struck a deal before playing it out for the title.

XL Winter Series $109 buy-in Event #1: $50,000 Opening Event.

 

In what would be the final hand of the tournament, which took place in Level 40 (60,000/120,000/15,000), “arucia” jammed the button holding the A♦7♦ and “barrybarry15” called off for 1.3 million with the inferior A♣4♣.

The 8♠7♠2♥ flop gave “arucia” a commanding lead, while the K♣ turn left “barrybarry15” drawing dead. The meaningless 7♥ river improved “arucia” to trip sevens to make them the official winner of the first XL Winter event.

Event #1 Final Table Results

1st – “arucia” (Ireland) $9,039*

2nd – “barrybarry15” (UK) $8,049*

3rd – Johannes “TrollKonst8” Korsar (Sweden) $5,366

4th – Nicolas “PKaiser” Fierro (Chile) $4,088

5th – “Unknownplay3r” (Morocco) $2,862

6th – “G00RG3” (Sweden) $2,172

7th – “Repsej51” (N/A) $1,661

8th – “Dendaa” (Serbia) $1,150

9th – “Ripleyy1” (Canada) $848

*Denotes heads-up deal

In other Opening Event news, the $16.50 buy-in Event #2: $15,000 Mini Opening Event saw Romania’s “costi.irim25” top a 1,245-entry field to win the title for $3,362. The UK’s “sumpfin” navigated a 309-entry field to victory in the $55 buy-in Event #3: $15,000 Late Opening Event, good for a $3,159.63 payday.

“pereleman” Victorious in Tune Up

Another big tournament took place on Sunday night in the $55 buy-in Event #10: $50,000 Tune Up, a tournament that drew 857 players who rebought 228 times. That surpassed the guarantee by generating a $54,250 prize pool, which was paid out to the top 108 finishers.

Among those to cash were “D1scoPanda” (37th - $200.72), “Dallmad” (30th - $227.85), “diego_1901” (19th - $260.40), “Avskedad” (16th - $368.90), “liquidpoker1” (12th - $585.90), and final table bubble boy “iknewiwould7” (10th - $585.90).

With five players remaining, Belarus’ “pereleman” was the short stack. But before long they had worked up their stack and would go on to eliminate the final three players. First, “Perelman’s” pocket queens held against the nines of “iaric_” to send the latter out the door in fourth place. Then ace-seven held against king-ten all in preflop to dispatch “FlushJeZus” in third place.

The final two players then worked a deal and played it out from there. It didn’t take long for “Thundy100” to get their last 9 big blinds all in preflop holding the K♥7♦, which was ahead of “pereleman’s” Q♠10♠.

However, the Q♥10♣3♦ flop was gin for “Pereleman”, who flopped two pair. The A♣ turn gave “Thundy100” a gutshot Broadway draw, but it didn’t come in as the 2♠ bricked on the river.

Event #10 Tune Up Final Table Results

1st – “pereleman” (Belarus) $9,819.41*

2nd – “Thundy100” (Russia) $7,052.50*

3rd – “FlushJeZus” (N/A) $5,289.37

4th – “iaric_” (Moldova) $3,960.25

5th – “BellaFicha” (Brazil) $2,793.87

6th – “chazcombes” (UK) $2,251.37

7th – “CaioCapT” (Brazil) $1,708.87

8th – “IT5PAYDAY” (UK) $1,198.92

9th – “x90x60x90x” (Russia) $694.40

*Denotes heads-up deal

What’s Coming Up

Remember, the series is set to culminate with the $250 buy-in, $500,000 GTD Main Event on the last day – Sunday, December 20 at 17:00 GMT. The tournament will feature a Progressive Knockout (PKO) format – a first for an XL Series Main Event!

That tournament will also be live-streamed on 888poker’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Speaking of which, players will be able to follow the XL Winter Series action LIVE from our social media channels. They can also get in on giveaway action by entering special contests on our Facebook channel during the live stream.

We’ll be giving away three $109 and five $33 tournament tickets during the stream.

Some other tournaments to keep an eye on during the series are:

  • December 15 at 18:00 GMT - XL Winter #17 - $50,000 High Roller $320 buy-in
  • December 18 at 17:00 GMT - XL Winter #26 - $25,000 DeepStack $55 buy-in

2020 XL Winter Winners Thus Far

Date   Tournament  ...  Buy-in  ...  Total Entries  ...  Prize Pool  ...  Winner  ...  Prize

December 10 Event #1: $50,000 Opening Event … $109 … 511 … $51,100 … arucia (Ireland) for $9,039.21

December 10 Event #2: $15,000 Mini Opening Event … $16.50 … 1,245 … $18,675 costi.irim25 (Romania) for $3,362

December 10 Event #3: $15,000 Late Opening Event … $55 … 309 … $15,450 … sumpfin (UK) for $3,159.63

Friday, December 11 Event #4: $30,000 PKO … $55 … 660 … $33,000 … Undervit (Belarus) for $5,235.23

December 11 Event #5: $15,000 Mini PKO … $22 … 1,031 … $20,620 … MarshallMatt (Belarus) for $2,787.62

December 11 Event #6: $10,000 Late PKO … $33 … 525 … $15,750 … Ivanov259 (UK) for $2,744.47

December 12 Event #7: $30,000 8-Max … $109 … 340 … $34,000 … maestro1908 for $6,630

December 12 Event #8: $10,000 Mini 8-Max … $12 … 899 … $10,000 … Djolex91 (Serbia) for 1,870

December 12 Event #9: $15,000 Late 8-Max … $55 … 274 … $15,000 … RakDoll (Belarus) for $3,037.50

December 13 Event #10: $50,000 Tune Up … $55 … 1,085 … $54,250 … pereleman (Belarus) for $9,819.41

December 13 Event #11: $30,000 Mini Tune Up … $16.50 … 1,943 … $30,000 … SirHennie for $5,100

December 13 Event #12: $10,000 Micro Tune Up … $5.50 … 2221 … $11,105 … Comical_Life (Russia) for $1,876.72

December 13 Event #13: $20,000 Late Tune Up … $55 … 409 … $20,450 … 888recall for $3,957.19

About the Author
By
Chad Holloway is a 2013 WSOP Bracelet winner who has previously worked for PokerNews as a managing editor and live reporter
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