Six players returned to the felt at the PokerGO Studio at ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas on Thursday, all vying for the title in Stairway To Millions Event #1: $1,100 NL Hold’em. After a brisk two hours of play, Daniel Sepiol emerged victorious to take home $28,500. Included in Sepiol’s first-place prize was a ticket to Stairway To Millions Event #2: $2,150 NL Hold’em, and he promptly jumped into that tournament to see if he could continue to run it up.

Sepiol entered the final day fourth in chips. He maneuvered his way to three-handed play against Joseph Cheong and Rich Dixon. Dixon had started the day as the chip leader. Sepiol first knocked out Cheong in third place, and then he made quick work of Dixon to seal the deal. Dixon won $19,000 and Cheong won $15,200, with both of those payouts also including entry to Stairway To Millions Event #2: $2,150 NL Hold’em.

Earlier at the final table, Sepiol busted Justin Saliba in fourth place and Mehdi Anooshahr in sixth place. Qing Liu was eliminated in fifth place in between Saliba and Anooshahr, and he was eliminated by Cheong.

Stairway To Millions Event #1 Results

Place Player Country Prize
1 Daniel Sepiol United States $28,500
2 Rich Dixon United States $19,000
3 Joseph Cheong United States $15,200
4 Justin Saliba United States $11,400
5 Qing Liu United States $9,500
6 Mehdi Anooshahr United States $7,600

Stairway To Millions Event #1: $1,100 NL Hold’em attracted a field of 190 entries to ARIA Resort & Casino, with the top 28 finishers all placing in the money. An in-the-money result not only earned players a cash prize, but it also earned them an entry into Stairway To Millions Event #2: $2,150 NL Hold’em. Some of the players to cash earlier in the event were David Levi (14th – $3,800), Chance Kornuth (16th – $3,800), Shannon Shorr (24 – $3,800), and Brad Owen (28th – $3,800).

Sepiol’s Road To Victory

Sepiol finished Day 1 fourth in chips with six players remaining. Back in Level 10 with the blinds at 6,000-12,000 with a 12,000 big blind ante, Sepiol found a big double up through Eliran Yamin when the two clashed holding pocket aces and pocket kings. Sepiol was the one with the aces and those aces held to give him the important double up.

Shortly after the field got into the money, Sepiol busted Ryan Awwad in 27th place. He then went on to score another big double up, this time through Daniel Colpoys. When he doubled through Colpoys, Sepiol had to come from behind with the ace-ten of clubs against Colpoys’ pocket jacks. Sepiol flopped a flush and straight draw, turned a pair of tens, and rivered aces up to win the pot.

Although Sepiol lost a chunk of chips when Lee Alejandro doubled through him with 12 players remaining, he reached the final nine-handed table. At the time, Sepiol was the shortest stack remaining with fewer than 20 big blinds. Rich Dixon fell shorter than Sepiol over the first few hands at the single table and then Dixon doubled through Sepiol to leave Sepiol with just four big blinds. Sepiol was able to double back, though, holding with ace-ten against the queen-jack of Joseph Cheong. After that, Sepiol busted a short-stacked Jeremy Mintz in ninth place.

More obstacles were thrown in Sepiol’s way during eight-handed play. First, Josh Willard doubled up through him. Second, Justin Saliba doubled through him. The Saliba double up left Sepiol with fewer than two big blinds, but he quickly doubled when his jack-two beat Mehdi Anooshahr’s jack-ten. Then he knocked out both Willard and Alejandro on the same hand to force the end of play for the day.

On Day 2, Sepiol got the eliminations started by busting Anooshahr in sixth place. Sepiol had opened with a raise to 300,000 from the cutoff seat with the blinds at 75,000-150,000 with a 150,000 big blind ante. Anooshahr moved all in from the small blind for 350,000 and Qing Liu called from the big blind. Sepiol also called to take the three players to an all-diamond ten-six-three flop. Liu and Sepiol checked to see an ace on the turn. Liu checked, Sepiol bet, and Liu folded. Sepiol had turned a pair of aces with ace-nine and Anooshahr had ten-eight. The river was a three to bust Anooshahr.

Sepiol’s next victim was Saliba. Saliba put the last of his money in on a king-four-two flop with ace-ten. Sepiol had pocket jacks. The turn was a queen and the river was a two to eliminate Saliba.

Ace-ten would later be used by Sepiol to eliminate Cheong. Cheong moved all in with king-nine of diamonds only to get called by Sepiol holding ace-ten. Both players flopped a pair, but it was Sepiol’s pair of aces in the lead. Cheong did turn a flush draw to go with his pair of kings but the river was a blank to score another knockout for Sepiol.

Sepiol began heads-up play against Dixon with a sizable lead, holding about 17,000,000 in chips to Dixon’s roughly 2,000,000. On the second hand of heads-up play, Sepiol raised all in from the button with king-seven and Dixon called all in for 1,875,000 with jack-eight. At the time, the blinds were 150,000-300,000 with a 300,000 big blind ante. The board ran out clean for Sepiol and he was crowned champion of Stairway To Millions Event #1: $1,100 NL Hold’em.

2022 Stairway To Millions Schedule

Date Event Buy-In Fee (On-Time) Fee (Late/Reentry) Starting Stack Guarantee
Jan. 12 Stairway To Millions #1 $1,000 $100 $100 100,000 $100,000
Jan. 13 Stairway To Millions #2 $2,000 $150 $150 100,000 $100,000
Jan. 14 Stairway To Millions #3 $4,000 $100 $200 100,000 $100,000
Jan. 15 Stairway To Millions #4 $8,000 $200 $400 100,000 $200,000
Jan. 16 Stairway To Millions #5 $15,000 $400 $800 125,000 $300,000
Jan. 17 Stairway To Millions #6 $25,000 $500 $1,000 125,000 $500,000
Jan. 18 Stairway To Millions #7 $50,000 $1,000 $2,000 150,000 $500,000
Jan. 19 Stairway To Millions #8 $100,000 $2,000 $2,000 200,000 $1,200,000

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Joseph Cheong, Justin Saliba, Daniel Sepiol, Mehdi Anooshahr, Qing Liu, Rich Dixon