Michael Wang — one-time bracelet winner, first-time PokerGO Tour champ — won the Stairway to Millions Event #5 for $219,300.
“It’s my first series playing here [at the PokerGO studio],” Wang explained in his post-game interview. “I can see why all of the top high-stakes players love playing here. From start to finish, it’s been a great experience. […] It’s a great series, it’s a great format — a really interesting idea. I’m really glad I ran well to start my series. I haven’t been playing too many high rollers, but I’m starting to get my feet wet a little bit and it’s good to not immediately be stuck 50 buy-ins.”
Wang also cashed in Events #2 and #3, both of which were won by Chance Kornuth.
In a live tourney career going back to 2009 at least, Wang has earned $3.3 million in cashes. Along the way, he’s picked up a WSOP bracelet and WSOPC ring.
The Stairway to Millions series combines the fun of step-style sit ‘n’ goes with high-stakes action and live TV tables. Event #1 cost $1,100 to enter. Event #8 will cost $100,000. In between, each player who cashes in one event gets part of their prize as an entry to the next event, with buy-ins roughly doubling from event to event.
At this point in the series, there are no more players climbing that staircase from an original cash in Event #1. Even so, this $15,000 event got 43 entries, making for a prize pool of $645,000. Just seven players were paid, each of them winning a ticket to Event #6.
PokerGO News tweeted a photo of the victor with the caption, “Michael Wang tops tough final table to win 2022 Stairway To Millions $15,000 buy-in event for $219,300”
The final hand
Wang finished Day 1 with the chip lead. However, he can’t have felt too secure in his position. The second biggest stack in the final six was high-stakes regular Stephen Chidwick. Even if he faded the Chidwick’s conveyor belt of teeth, there were still chum-hungry players like Bill Klein and Sean Winter to beat.
However, the sharks’ luck didn’t hold, while Wang’s did. Wang knocked out all but one of his opponents at the final table. By the time heads-up play started, Wang had 4.3 million in Chips to Larry Greenberg’s 1.0 million.
With the fast-paced blinds in this series, heads-up play lasted about 20 minutes.
With blinds at 20k/40k with a 40k ante, and Greenberg down to 820k in chips, Wang moved raised to 100k with A♦T♦. Greenberg shoved with K♥T♣ and Wang insta-called.
The dealer burned and turned a board of K♣A♠4♦Q♣Q♥, giving Wang two pair aces-over-queens to win the event.
Greenberg won $135,450 for his second-place finish. $25,400 of that went straight into the prize pool for Event # 6, which was already well underway across the room.
PokerGO Tour Stairway to Millions Event #5: $15,400 complete final table results
Featured image source: PokerGO