Damian Salas Claims 2020 WSOP Int’l Main Event Title

The international half of the 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event has a champion!

GGPoker hosted the action that started on November 29. Over the next week, three starting days set the field, and they played to a final table last week. Eight of the nine players at that final table traveled to Rozvadov, Czech Republic to play it out on December 15.

South American players made it to the final two, and the Argentine player, Damian Salas, claimed victory. He also claimed the $1.5M top prize.

Seating the Players

Players had three starting days from which to choose, as is usually the case in Las Vegas during the summer. That Main Event also offers several flights. The GGPoker Main Event also required the standard $10K buy-in with no reentries, sticking with tradition.

On November 29, Day 1A delivered the first flight and 246 players. Many of them departed as the hours passed, so only 62 of them had chip stacks when the tournament stopped. Julian “VWgunther” Menhardt of Austria held the chip lead.

December 5 brought Day 1B, another opportunity for players to participate in the Main Event. Only 171 players joined that day, and the end of play showed just 42 left. Blaz Zerjav of Slovenia led the day but also took the overall chip lead.

Finally, Day 1C on December 6 presented the final opening for players, and it was the largest yet. The screen showed 257 players registered that day, and the action reduced that number to 75. And of those 75 players, Senthuran “Prodigal Sen” Vijayaratnam of Canada had the most chips. In fact, the Canadian had far more chips than the other days’ leaders.

Thinning the Herd

By the end of the starting flights, only 181 players remained in action. The WSOP also had the totals for the tournament:

  • 674 players
  • $6,470,400 prize pool

Day 2 needed to lose 100 players to get close to the payouts, as only 80 spots were payable. When that bubble burst, everyone was guaranteed at least $15,277 to play on.

As players exited, several Canadian players were among them:

  • Camille “Cam Godin” Godin = 72nd place for $15,277
  • Jordan “saskprinter” Knackstedt = 71st place for $15,277
  • Helio “TeuCu” Neves = 69th place for $15,277
  • “NowWeAreFree” = 65th place for $16,928
  • Alex Difelice = 39th place for $22,876
  • Carter Swidler = 12th place for $44,914
  • Senthuran “Prodigal Sen” Vijayaratnam = 11th place for $50,131

With Vijayaratnam’s exit, Canada was out of the running for a final table spot. And so was Thomas “ggmbn” Macdonald, who bubbled the final table but took home $50,131 for his tenth-place finish.

The final nine and their chip counts were:

  • Brunno Botteon (Brazil) 10,317,743 chips
  • Manuel “robocup” Ruivo (Portugal) 6,213,759 chips
  • Damian Salas (Argentina) 5,653,528 chips
  • Marco “fullbabyfull” Streda (Switzerland) 4,232,560 chips
  • Hannes “Black Fortuna” Speiser (Austria) 3,515,744
  • Dominykas “MickeyMouse” Mikolaitis (Lithuania) 3,165,440 chips
  • Ramon “Ritza” Miquel Munoz (Spain) 3,035,940 chips
  • Peiyuan “fish3098” Sun (China) 2,185,676 chips
  • Stoyan “UncleToni” Obreshkov (Bulgaria) 2,119,610 chips

Playing For the Win

Nine players made the final table, but only eight showed up to play. Peiyuan Sun chose not to fly from China to the Czech Republic and play live poker, so he accepted the ninth-place payout. He was also one of the short stacks with only 11 big blinds.

The final eight took their seats. The short stacks stayed alive as play began, but Speiser had troubles. Salas busted Speiser in eighth place and sent Obreshkov out in seventh place a bit later. Botteon maintained the chip lead, but Salas was inching closer.

Mikolaitis chipped up nicely at the start of play but lost ground on the losing end of a double-up for Streda. Ruivo then stepped in to bust Mikolaitis in sixth place. Not long after that, Salas took a substantial pot from Botteon to jump into the chip lead and soar far ahead of all of his competitors.

Ruivo send Streda to the rail in fifth place. By the dinner break, Ruivo was the shortest stack, though, with Miquel Munoz not far behind. Salas held 23.55 million chips with Botteon and his 8-million-chip stack trailing.

Upon their return, Ruivo doubled through Salas to stay alive, but Salas stayed aggressive. Botteon decided to bust Miquel Munoz in fourth place. Ruivo doubled through Salas again, but Salas finally got the best of Ruivo and sent him out in third place.

Salas started heads-up play with 24,175,000 chips to the 14.1 million of Botteon. The latter took the first couple of pots and then squeaked into the lead but Salas quickly took it back. Finally, Boetton pushed all-in with 7-3 suited on a K-4-2-6-8 board, but Salas called with K-8, and top two pair was more than enough for the win.

Collecting and Planning

With that, the final table payouts were complete.

  • 1st place: Damian Salas (Argentina) $1,550,969
  • 2nd place: Brunno Botteon (Brazil) $1,062,723
  • 3rd place: Manual Ruivo (Portugal) $728,177
  • 4th place: Ramon Miquel Munoz (Spain) $498,947
  • 5th place: Marco Streda (Switzerland) $341,879
  • 6th place: Dominykas Mikolaitis (Lithuania) $234,255
  • 7th place: Stoyan Obreshkov (Bulgaria) $160,512
  • 8th place: Hannes Speiser (Austria) $109,982
  • 9th place: Peiyuan Sun (China) $75,360

Salas, his Argentinian flag, and the picture of his family wrapped up a solid win, but it’s not over yet.

As noted when the World Series of Poker announced the 2020 Main Event, the winner – Salas – will face the winner of the US part of the WSOP Main Event. That action will play out live on December 28 at the Rio in Las Vegas. On December 30, Salas will face off against the winner of that event.

ESPN will film it for television, and GGPoker and the WSOP will put $1 million into the pot. The winner will take it all, along with the official 2020 WSOP World Championship gold bracelet.

Stay tuned!

For all of the details of the entire 2020 WSOP Main Event, PokerNews live reported it in its entirety.


Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell has been writing about poker and gambling since 2004. From her days in the WPT offices to covering summers of WSOP tournament action, she also followed gambling legislation to Washington D.C. and women-only poker to the Bahamas. Meanwhile, she lived in Los Angeles and Las Vegas for many years before moving back to her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. Now, Jen travels less, writing about poker and online gambling from her home with her two dogs watching her every move. In her spare time, she follows politics, works on her never-finished novels, and learns Italian in the hopes of retiring to Italy someday.

If you want to know more, you can follow Jen on Twitter @WriterJen


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