The inaugural running of the unique Stairway To Millions series kicked off Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas this week. The newest stop on the PokerGO Tour features eight events, each with a progressively higher buy-in. Players who make the money in each event will automatically be entered in the next event of the series, up until the grand finale: a $1.2 million guaranteed $100,000 buy-in tournament that kicks off on Jan. 19.
The kickoff event was a $1,100 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournament. A total of 190 entries were made by the time that registration was closed, creating a prize pool of $190,000. The top 28 finishers earned their way into event #2, a $2,150 buy-in no-limit hold’em event. After two full days of action, Daniel Sepiol emerged victorious with the title and $28,500.
Sepiol is fresh off of his best year ever on the line tournament circuit, having earned four of his top five biggest scores in 2021. The Bloomington, Indiana native won two titles and made six final tables last year, accruing more than $350,000 across those scores. His largest win came when he took down the Mid-States Poker Tour Riverside $1,100 main event for $162,781 last March. He now has more than $860,000 in career earnings to his name.
This latest victory saw Sepiol earn 336 Card Player Player of the Year points, enough to move him inside the top 20 in the 2022 POY race for the time being.
Sepiol entered the second and final day of this event in fourth chip position. He knocked out Mehdi Anooshahr in sixth place ($7,600), with Sepiol’s A-9 besting the 10-8 suited of Anooshahr.
2021 World Poker Tour Venenetian main event winner Qing Liu was the next to fall. Last year’s POY race runner-up finisher moved all-in with Q-J and was at risk facing the A-8 of bracelet winner Joseph Cheong. Liu was unable to find any help from the board and was sent packing in fifth place ($9,500).
Bracelet winner Justin Saliba’s run in this event came to an end when his A10 clashed with the JJ of Sepiol. Saliba earned $11,400 as the fourth-place finisher.
Sepiol took the lead into three-handed action, but slipped into second place before a massive hand saw him truly pull away from the field. Sepiol’s AJ won an all-in confrontation against the QQ of start-of-day chip leader Rich Dixon, making aces full of kings by the river to take down the 14,750,000 pot. Dixon was left with just a couple big blinds after the hand. He earned a few double-ups to get out of the danger zone and was ultimately able to outlast Cheong, who lost a battle of the blinds with K9 facing Sepiol’s A10.
Sepiol made top two pair to take down that pot and send Cheong home with $15,200. Heads-up play lasted just two hands. In the final confrontation, Sepiol shoved with K7 and Dixon called for his last six or so big blinds with J8. The board came down A9935 to lock up the pot and the title for Sepiol. Dixon earned $19,000 as the runner-up finisher.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:
|Place||Player||Earnings (USD)||POY Points|
Winner photo provided by PokerGO.