The biggest guaranteed prize pool ever offered for a U.S.-facing online poker tournament kicks off this week on the Winning Poker Network.
The $8 Million Venom kicks off Friday, Jan. 22, with the first of four Day 1 flights starting at 1 pm EST. On the line is an $8 million guaranteed prize pool, with at least $1 million going to the winner.
Past editions of The Venom indicate that the prize money could go well over those advertised marks. Americas Cardroom Team Pro Drew Gonzalez told Poker.org that he plans on playing in the Day 1B flight on Sunday, Jan. 23.
The $2,650 buy-in tournament takes online tournament poker to new heights in the U.S. Poker.org conducted an email interview Gonzalez Thursday as the man known as “BetOnDrew” prepares to take on the field in the $8 Million Venom:
Interview with Americas Cardroom Team Pro Drew Gonzalez
Poker.org: Congratulations on the new position as an ACR Team Pro! How does it feel to join the team?
Drew Gonzalez: Thanks! It feels pretty amazing to join the ACR team. The majority of my online poker volume has come on the Winning Poker Network, so it feels like home to me. It’s a bit surreal honestly.
Poker.org: This is the third time in the last six months that Winning Poker Network has offered a Venom event. What makes WPN the fan-favorite site for big-money tournaments in the U.S.?
DG: I believe that WPN is the go-to site for big money tournaments because they continue to run these big series and events, AND more importantly they take risks to grow the site. I remember when WPN first offered their million guaranteed tournaments and it kept overlaying BIG – that didn’t stop them.
They knew it would work and that it would take time. Now as a result, it’s normal to be able to have a 5 figure score multiple times during a regular week.
Poker.org: Did you play in the $7 million guaranteed Venom (August 2020) and Venom PKO $5 million guaranteed (Oct./Nov. 2020)?
DG: Yes I did play in both of these events. Busting out of them for me felt similar to busting out of the WSOP $10k main event. These big events draw players from all around the world so the level of competition and desire to win is really elevated for me.
Poker.org: Does playing a tournament like the Venom, with seven-figure paydays up top, give you a different feeling versus a “normal” tournament? Are you more tense as the tournament hits the late stages, or do you just relax and play as normal?
DG: Yeah I think for sure you are a bit more in touch with your emotions in big events like this. I do try to put myself in a state of mind to treat these events like a “normal” tournament so that I can play my best, but there is no holding back the excitement when you win a big pot deep in these things!
Poker.org: What are your personal goals for the upcoming Venom $8 Million Guaranteed?
DG: My goal for the upcoming Venom is just to get some good rest on Saturday night, get up early on Sunday and be fully prepared to play my best poker. I want to do well with the things I can control so when the results happen, I’ll know I put my best foot forward and it is what it is 🙂
Poker.org: What would you tell other players who haven’t played a previous Venom event about what to expect from the latest chapter of the series?
DG: I tell people all the time who ask me this to just enjoy the ride. There really isn’t much you can change to make a massive difference for this one tournament, BUT I do believe it’s easy for newer players in this elevated buy-in to get in your own head and that’s not good. So play your game, have fun, and enjoy the experience.
Poker.org: Does it surprise you that a U.S.-facing poker site can offer an $8 million guarantee on a multi-table tournament?
DG: It doesn’t surprise me at this point seeing what WPN has been able to do with GTDs, but if you asked me if I thought this was possible for a US facing site to do a few years ago I mighta laughed at you haha.
Poker.org: Anything else you want to say about poker, life in general, or where you’re at in your poker career right now?
DG: I’d like to remind anyone reading this that playing poker is supposed to be fun. If you aren’t having fun playing poker, take a break.
Don’t play with money you can’t afford to lose. Finally, I’d like to say thanks to everyone who has been supporting me on my poker journey. I’ll continue to do my best to remain a positive representation of the game so many of us love!
Gonzalez plays at Amercias Cardroom under the ‘AlongCameMolly’ screen name. You can watch Gonzalez live stream his play at his BetOnDrew Twitch Channel.