The Stairway to millions debuted in the first weeks of 2022 as part of the GO Poker Tour. The series features a unique format that allows players who earn money in each event to earn a seat for the next event on the schedule that features a bigger buy-in.
This first festival saw Nick Petrangelo emerge victorious from the last two events, claiming the trophy and a total of $1.8 million over four final table appearances.
The second iteration recently took place at The Venetian® Resort Las Vegas. This time around, a new ride was added that allowed the top three finishers in each event to qualify to completely skip a level.
The series was originally scheduled to have 12 events, but the last two tournaments were eventually canceled. Before the series ended, however, several big names managed to put on impressive runs, including two players who each won their third S2M securities. Below is an overview of the results of events 1-10.
The series kicked off with a pair of $460 buy-in no-limit hold’em events. Event #1 a field of 93 entries, making up a prize pool of $37,200.
Most of that was ultimately won by Francis Anderson, who finished third this year World Series of Poker ‘Monster Stack’ for $449,912. He added an additional $6,702 to his career totals with the win, while also securing a spot in his pick of event no. 5 or 6, both of which featured buy-ins of $1,640.
Anderson nearly went back-to-back, but ultimately finished second in event #. 2, which sported the same buy-in. He added an additional $4,071 and an additional future seat, while eventual champion John Yelaney took home $6,417 after beating 94 entries. It was his first recorded victory in a live tournament.
Arsh Grover finished third in event no. 2, and quickly turned around and landed the next tournament on the agenda: event no. 3. Grover was one of 82 participants in the $900 buy-in event. He won $12,510 and a $2,740 seat in event no. 7 as champion. It was the third highest score of his career.
The calendar’s second $900 buy-in drew 74 entries, with 2021 WSOP Sami Dighlawi, winner of the tag team event, takes home the title and top payout of $11,330 to go along with his future entry. Francis Anderson earned his third place at the series final table by placing fifth for $2,231 and a future seat.
Michael Wang became the first player to win a Stairway to millions title at two different places when he won event no. 5, a buy-in of $1,640. The two-time bracelet winner previously won a $15,000 event at the inaugural event, held in ARIA Resort and casino. Wang won $22,986 and a $5,350 seat in event no. 8 as champion.
The very next day, Wang again found himself with all the chips in the second $1,640 event on the schedule, adding another $22,458 and becoming the third player in the series’ young history to win back-to-back events.
Three-time bracelet winner and world poker tour champion Chance Kornuth and the previously mentioned Nick Petrangelo achieved the feat in the premiere Stairway to millions. The pair of victories saw him increase his career earnings to over $4.6 million, while also making him the only three-time winner in the series. However, it only lasted a day.
Event #7 saw 92 entries made at a price of $2,740. In the end, it was none other than Chance Kornuth who won the title. He won $45,373 and a seat in the $10,400 buy-in event. He also joined Wang as the second player with three wins in Stairway to millions tournaments.
It was his fourth overall title of the year, with seven final table finishes and nearly $2 million to date. POY earnings. As a result, Kornuth moved up to 16th place in 2022 POY race classification.
Kornuth now has over $12.1 million in revenue registered to his name. Joining him at the final table were the likes of WPT Venetian champion Qing Liu (8th), frequent high-stakes tournament competitor Bill Klein (7th), Venetian high roller event winner Victoria Livschitz (5th), and recent winner Sami Dighlawi (4th).
The $5,350 buy-in event attracted 42 participants. Andre Butler came out on top in the end, surviving a stacked final table to secure the title, the $60,945 top prize and entry to event no. ten.
It was the second-highest score on his tournament resume, behind only the $176,000 the Evanston, Illinois resident earned as the third-highest finisher in a 2021. DeepStack II Venetian Championship $1,100 buy-in event. Butler now has over $400,000 in recorded earnings after passing Francis Anderson (5th), Adam Hendrix (4th), Michael Wang (3rd) and bracelet winner Stephen Song (2nd).
The $10,400 buy-in event drew 18 entrants, resulting in only the top three earning money. Francis Anderson was eliminated on the effective bubble of $50,700, narrowly missing out on his fifth cash of the series.
Michael Rocco was the last player to participate in this event, winning $87,750 in total payouts taking into account that the $26,000 seat he won was converted to cash after this event was canceled . Rocco now has over $3.1 million in total tournament earnings. Adam Hendrix took home $63,050 in total as runner-up, while Cary Katz finished third.
The last event to play in this series was the $15,800 buy-in. The final trio of contenders cashed in again this time around, courtesy of the second consecutive field of 18 entries. Paul Zappulla took home the trophy and a record $124,500 salary as champion. He outlasted four-time bracelet winner Adrian Mateos (3rd – $80,400) and Stephen Song (2nd – $95,100).
The Visit PokerGO now return to Aria for the poker masterswhich will offer buy-ins between $10,000 and $50,000.
Below is an overview of the results for the entire series.
Stairway to Millions #1 – $460 NLH
Stairway to Millions #2 – $460 NLH
Stairway to Millions #3 – $900 NLH
Stairway to Millions #4 – $900 NLH
Stairway to Millions #5 – $1,640 NLH
Stairway to Millions #6 – $1,640 NLH
Stairway to Millions #7 – $2,740 NLH
Stairway to Millions #8 – $5,350 NLH
Stairway to Millions #9 – $10,400 NLH
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Stairway to Millions #10 – $15,800 NLH
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All photos provided by PokerGO / Antonio Abrego.