November 18, 2020 4 min read


Madanzhiev Frustrated with WSOP’s Decision to Run New Main Event

51st Annual WSOP Main Event Winner, Stoyan Madanzhiev, reacts to WSOP deciding to strip his title and introduce a new, “real” Main Event.

Madanzhiev Expresses Frustration with WSOP’s Decision

Bulgarian player Stoyan Madanzhiev rejoiced when he climbed to the top of the poker pecking order in September, clinching a victory in what was then advertised as the 51st WSOP Main Event. WSOP had to shift its format to an online poker tournament due to the severity of the covid-19 outbreak, but that cloud had its own silver lining with over $150 million won from the entire series.

To Madanzhiev, the opportunity to participate in the biggest poker showdown of the year without having to risk traveling abroad or put up with all the fuss of making his way to the United States was a dream-come-true. He faced off against the likes of Phil Hellmuth, Doyle Brunson, and defending champion Hossain Ensan, to emerge victorious in the biggest poker crucible in the world.

Now, though, it turns out that Madanzhiev may not have won the Main Event after all, but a precursor to a ‘Hybrid’ Main Event that will have two individual competitions held independently in the United States and internationally, reuniting the winners of both for one last showdown at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.

Madanzhiev was not quite happy with the news and he took to Twitter to express his frustration with the hosts who have remained silent more or less on the issue. Madanzhiev shared a picture of a certificate which congratulated him on winning the “51st Annual World Series of Poker Main Event.”

Poker Players Have Madanzhiev’s Back

If he had won the 51st Main Event, what was the one in December going to be, Madanzhiev asked rhetorically. Canadian poker pro Sam Greenwood seemed to respond similarly to the situation, arguing that traveling for such an event would be difficult for many.

Instead, he suggested the entire event ought to take place online. Speaking to Madanzhiev earlier today, he said that travel restrictions and the recent spike of covid-19 cases across his home country and Europe had made him hesitant whether he would participate in the upcoming international WSOP bout on GGPoker with a final table showdown planned at the King’s Casino in Rozvadov, the Czech Republic.

He further noted that a fortnight was hardly enough to inform players about a major event, not to mention the added frustration of him both winning and, as it is according to WSOP now, not winning the 51st Main Event.

Madanzhiev threw one more jab at WSOP in another Tweet, arguing that WSOP had pulled off the best bluff of the year – “for bluffing the whole world successfully that we were playing the 51st WSOP in the summer…”

Madanzhiev tagged @RealKidPoker, better known as Daniel Negreanu, arguing that both he and Ty Steward were aware that another Main Event was planned. He then cited Thomas Keeling who pointed out that even during the broadcast, commentators would refer to the event as the 2020 Main Event Championship.

Negreanu pitched in quickly and said that he understood Madanzhiev’s frustration, but went on to add that he himself had always been honest that the online format was not a replacement for the $10,000 WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas, the traditional battleground.

What’s Next for Madanzhiev?

When we reached out to Madanzhiev he said that WSOP and GGPoker should feel responsible to players who had entered in the competition precisely because they had a chance to play in the Main Event without having to grapple with travel restrictions or securing visas.

The entire event was advertised as the WSOP Main Event and Madanzhiev said that he should be recognized as the winner. Even if Madanzhiev was to take on the new event, he would have to figure out how to get to the United States on time, a process that would last way more than the time window he has today. He believed that such an event favors US players disproportionately.

One thing is certain though – many people would like to see him have another shot at the World Series of Poker.


Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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