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Milen Stefanov Wins WPT Rock 'N' Roll Poker Open ($545,070)

Milen Stefanov is the newest WPT champion after prevailing in Florida.

Milen Stefanov became the latest player with his name adorning a plaque on the World Poker Tour Champions Cup as he took down WPT Rock 'N' Roll Poker Open $3,500 Main Event on Wednesday night. The Bulgarian conquered a field of 988 to win a career-best $545,070.

"To be a champion finally of the WPT, it feels amazing," Stefanov told tournament reporters.

Official Final Table Results

PlacePlayerHome CountryPrize
1Milen StefanovBulgaria$545,070*
2Fabian GumzGermany$353,380
3David NovoselU.S.A.$260,845
4Roman KorenevRussia$194,605
5Cesar FuentesVenezuela$146,760
6Francis AndersonU.S.A.$111,895

*includes WPT Tournament of Champions seat

The 988 entries came across two starting days and represented an event record for the RRPO. The prize pool rocketed north of $3.1 million, and plenty of notable players were among the 124 paid places. They included Scott Clements, Anthony Zinno, Julien Martini, James Calderaro, Matt Glantz and Aaron Mermelstein.

According to the live updates, Stefanov had a very fortunate situation bring him a double late on the penultimate day. He got in with {a-Hearts}{k-Clubs} against {a-Spades}{k-Hearts} and managed to find a heart four-flush on board against Francis Anderson.

Meanwhile, start-of-day leader Fabian Gumz looked set for a disappointing finish after he lost set-under-set and then got three-outed down to two big blinds. However, he tripled up, doubled up and doubled up to sneak into the final table with 26 big blinds and a pulse.

Stefanov held the lead in a shallow bunch with just 45 big blinds.

Dominant Performance to Heads Up

As expected, it didn't take long for chips to start flying as Anderson was all in twice in the first four hands. Unfortunately for him, the second of those would be his last as he lost a race to Stefanov with {k-Diamonds}{q-Diamonds} against pocket sevens.

Despite the short stacks, it took another 50-plus hands for the next domino to fall, and it was former chip leader Cesar Fuentes. Fuentes shoved a little over 16 big blinds with {q-Diamonds}{10-Clubs} blind versus blind but ran into Stefanov's {a-Clubs}{k-Clubs}. Stefanov flopped an ace and faded a backdoor straight draw to grab nearly half of the total chips.

A little after that, Stefanov did surpass 50% of the chips when he busted 2019 bracelet winner Roman Korenev. Korenev tried shoving over Stefanov's button raise with {q-Spades}{10-Spades} but ran smack into two aces to hit the rail in fourth.

Victory seemed all but assured after Stefanov got David Novosel to hero off his stack with {k-Spades}{6-Spades} on {j-Spades}{10-Hearts}{2-Clubs}{10-Spades}{6-Diamonds}. Stefanov had turned tens full of jacks and led out then shoved river. When Novosel couldn't find a fold, Stefanov had about a 6-to-1 lead against Gumz, who had stayed afloat but had just 16 big blinds.

A Scare From Gumz

Early on Stefanov was one card from victory as Gumz got in with {a-Clubs}{9-Clubs} against {q-Hearts}{q-Spades}. A club flush on the river let Gumz stay in it, though, and he'd double again with pocket queens of his own over threes.

After giving up the lead, Stefanov appeared to right the ship when he binked a gutshot on the river and got his shove called, reducing Gumz to just under 5 million at 250,000/500,000/500,000.

The German managed one double but wouldn't threaten any further. He got caught bluffing as Stefanov dug deep into the hero bag with a queen-high call on a double-paired board, and he wound up calling off his last few blinds with queen-high. He couldn't overcome Stefanov's ace-high hand that found an ace-high flop, and that was it for the RRPO.

Here's a look at some side event champions from the series:

Side Event Winners

EventEntriesPrize PoolWinnerPrize
Event #1: $400 Deep Stack NLH4,699$1,579,650Ben Boston$133,918
Event #2: $400 Limit Omaha 886$29,240Gloria LoRusso$7,566
Event #3: $400 HORSE84$28,560Barry Levy$8,425
Event #5: $400 Pot-Limit Omaha137$46,580Tommy Tran$11,705
Event #6: $400 Big O78$26,520Gavin Smith$8,125
Event #7: $400 Deep Stack NLH263$89,420Sheldon Gross$20,370
Event #8: $1,700 Purple Chip Bounty111$113,775Schahin Ghiai$34,105
Event #10: $400 Pot-Limit Omaha 8102$34,680Michael Daud$9,015
Event #11: $150 Big Stack NLH486$58,320John Gorsuch$8,000 + $3,500 Championship seat
Event #12: $400 Mixed Omaha59$20,060Renny Barrett$4,617
Event #13: $400 6-Max NLH94$31,960Anthony Barbera$7,260
Event #15: $150 Big Stack337$40,440Manny Minaya$4,605 + $3,500 Championship seat
Event #16: $250 Ladies Event70$14,700Marla Crumpler$2,676 + $1,100 RRPO seat
Event #17: $600 6-Max Turbo Double Black Chip Bounty65$21,450Mehrdad Vahabi$6,710
Event #18: $400 Big Stack Black Chip Bounty262$62,800Aylar Lie$14,323
Event #19: $1,100 Big Stack NLH163$158,110Isaiah Goldman$35,700
Event #20: $5,000 8-Handed NLH88$86,581Manig Loeser$86,581
Event #21: $150 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)1,248$149,760TBD$37,828
Event #22: $400 Omaha 8/Stud 857$19,380Sergio Braga$5,283
Event #23: $25,500 High Roller45$1,111,500Bryn Kenney$354,565
Event #24: $1,100 Big Stack PLO127$123,190Andrei Mitsiuk$35,726
Event #25: $2,200 Six-Max Turbo NLH114$228,000AJ Kelsall$60,910
Event #26: $400 Seniors 50+122$41,480Hassan Tahsildar$10,440
Event #27: $1,100 Turbo NLH119$119,000Jack Salter$35,050

Photo courtesy of WPT

  • WPT Rock 'N' Roll Poker Open crowned Milen Stefanov champ after he nearly lost a big lead heads up.

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