Helping kick off the 2020 World Championship of Online Poker was one of many marquee events that will play out this series, the two-day $10,300 buy-in Sunday Slam.
As a progressive knockout tournament, finding ways to stack as many opponents as possible was crucial. In the end 2013 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure champion Dimitar “KuuL” Danchev punched out the most of them to earn the title and just over $400,000 including bounties.
When speaking on the PokerStars WCOOP 2020 live stream about his win, Danchev acknowledged how important collecting those knockouts really was.
“My tournament went pretty good with winning a lot of bounties,” he says. “But it’s very important actually if you win a lot of bounties in such format to win the heads-up, so you keep all the bounties for yourself!”
So true. In fact, there was a ton on the line once the 136-entry field had been reduced to just two players. As it happened, nearly $250K of Danchev’s $400K win would come from bounties (!).
On top of that, Danchev’s last knockout wasn’t going to be easy. He needed to take out a fellow PCA Main Event champion, 2016 winner Mike “SirWatts” Watson. Did he realize that?
“Actually, I did realize,” said Danchev. “He’s a great opponent. He’s a very tough player and I wasn’t really happy to play against him, because I knew it would be kind of hard to win. But I tried my best and I was fortunate to win.”
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When Danchev won the PCA seven years ago, there were smiles and high fives, but also the same collected poise he often demonstrates at the tables that reminds us of his “KuuL” nickname.
But what about when winning a tournament like this online — Danchev’s first WCOOP title — in the privacy of his own home? Any celebrating?
“I actually I jumped from my bed,” grins Danchev. “I was quite happy.”
As it happened, Danchev encountered computer trouble on Sunday’s Day 1, forcing him to move to his laptop and thus play from his bed.
“My girlfriend was there for me and she was also happy,” he says. Danchev’s post-final hand excitement startled her at first. “”She didn’t realize actually what happened, because I usually don’t tell her until the end,” Danchev explains.
Continuing the category of pleasant surprises, Danchev didn’t find out until after the tournament that besides winning the $400K, he’d also won a 2021 Slam Package that includes full buy-ins into the Main Event’s for next year’s SCOOP, WCOOP, and Stadium Series.
The 15 specially-designated “Sunday Slam” tournaments on this year’s WCOOP schedule all feature this winner’s bonus.
“I was definitely not aware of that and I’m really excited about that,” says Danchev. “It’s a great promotion.”
Danchev hopes to continue his WCOOP run going forward, and we’ll certainly be watching his progress as he goes. His opponents will be watching out for him, too, we suspect, hoping to avoid becoming themselves another KuuL KO.