The first-ever PokerGO Stairway To Millions kicked off on Wednesday, January 12, inside the poker room at ARIA Resort & Casino. The $1,100 buy-in tournament drew a field of 190 entries. Over the course of the first day of play, the field was whittled down to the final six players, with Rich Dixon in the lead heading to Day 2.

Dixon finished Day 1 with 6,500,000 in chips, putting him a healthy amount ahead of Justin Saliba’s second-place stack of 3,900,000. The others to join these two for what will be a live-streamed final table from inside the PokerGO Studio are Qing Liu (3,250,000), Daniel Sepiol (2,400,000), Joseph Cheong (2,200,000), and Mehdi Anooshahr (725,000). They’ll be competing for the $28,500 top prize.

Stairway To Millions Event #1 Final Table

Seat Name Country Chip Count
1 Qing Liu United States 3,250,000
2 Justin Saliba United States 3,900,000
3 Joseph Cheong United States 2,200,000
4 Daniel Sepiol United States 2,400,000
5 Rich Dixon United States 6,500,000
6 Mehdi Anooshahr United States 725,000

When play resumes, there is 4:28 remaining in Level 20 and the button is in Seat 1.

Dixon moved into the chip lead late on Day 1 when he doubled through Anooshahr. Dixon had three-bet preflop and then bet all three post-flop streets. Anooshahr called him down on the queen-ten-nine-six-two board holding pocket jacks. Dixon had pocket aces to get the full double up.

Sepiol was down to just two big blinds late on Day 1, but he was able to spin his stack up to finish on a much healthier 2,400,000. Sepiol lost almost all of his chips when Saliba doubled through him, but then Sepiol quickly doubled through Anooshahr to get back in the mix. To close out Day 1, Sepiol scored a double knockout of Lee Alejandro and Josh Willard.

From the field of 190 entries, the top 28 made the money. Cashing in the event meant a cash prize and a ticket to the next tournament. Among those to finish in the money but ultimately fall short of reaching the final six were Stanley Lee (11th – $5,700), Chance Kornuth (16th – $3,800), Shannon Shorr (24th – $3,800), and popular poker vlogger Brad Owen (28th – $3,800). Fellow poker vlogger Johnnie “Vibes” Moreno also competed in the event, as did Eli Elezra, Chris Moorman, Ryan Riess, Eric Baldwin, and Ali Imsirovic, both all fell short of reaching the money.

The unique format of Stairway To Millions sees all players to cash in an event win a seat to the next event. All 28 players to cash in Event #1: $1,100 NL Hold’em won a ticket to play in Event #2: $2,150 NL Hold’em. The second event kicks off on Thursday, January 13, at 12 p.m. PT. The “stairway” element applies to all events on the schedule, leading to the $100,000 buy-in finale.

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, Stairway To Millions, Daniel Sepiol, Mehdi Anooshahr, Qing Liu, Rich Dixon