The richest single tournament in online poker, partypoker's MILLIONS Online, costs $10,300 to enter, but for this extremely lucky Canadian player, it is absolutely free.
Hailing from Toronto, Canada, "iceberg32" won their $10,300 seat for free thanks to the MILLIONforMILLIONS promotion, and is in the running towards a slice of the $20M GTD prize pool plus the additional $1M cash prize for finishing Day 1A as the chip leader and going on to win the entire event.
When away from the poker tables, iceberg32 is an accountant and analyst. He likes to play online poker at night at partypoker. The Canadian player discovered poker back in 2004 when a friend co-worker introduced him to the game. He said, "I come from a chess background and being an accountant, I was always good with math. So, poker was a very interesting and fun game that was also very challenging to be successful at. I came across online poker and started playing for small dollars."
The Canadian has previous good records in satellites, having won a $1,500 seat at the 2006 WSOP in Las Vegas.
partypoker's MILLIONforMILLIONS promotion proved extremely popular thanks to giving away so many MILLIONS Online satellite tickets that the site was awash with them. Iceberg32 got their hands on a freeroll ticket, used that to progress to the $109 Phase 1 before winning their $10,300 seat in this massive event.
From Zero to Hero
"Initially, I received a free first ticket that I believe every player also received. It seemed like quite a good promotion to be able to progress past the first round directly into a $109 level round. So I tried it and almost made it to the second round. Then after a couple of days, I received another ticket to the M4M satellite based on meeting the challenge requirements while playing."
It was a tough first round but I managed to make it through finishing 47th where the top 50 advanced. In the $109 round, there were 19 players and we were down to two of us that made Sunday's final round. I barely made it with only 277k chips where the top player in the final round was near 2 million in starting chips. In the final round I just played tight and focused on maintaining my position. I had a key hand where I was all-in with AQ up against 88. I spiked an ace on the turn to double up to approx. 1.2m chips.
The other huge hand was later when I held KQ suited diamonds. I hit a king on the flop with one diamond. The turn was also a diamond and then the ace of diamonds river gave me the nut flush. The other player then bet 1 million, I went all-in and the player folded. This pot put me up to approx. 5 million chips and 5th place overall with top 15 getting the MILLIONS Online entry. At this point there were only about 22 left so the strategy was to not play many hands and let other shorter stacks knock each other out. This is exactly what happened and soon we were done and I finished in seventh spot to secure the seat."
Hoping to emulate last year's MILLIONS Online winners
Winning your way into the MILLIONS Online for free is a remarkable achievement and iceberg32 is obviously delighted about it. They have drawn inspiration from last year's event where the third-place finisher won over $1.3 million from just a $22 satellite. iceberg32 is hoping for a similar result.
"It feels really amazing to make it this far and actually secure a MILLIONS Online seat. I still can't believe it given my buy-in was quite small at zero dollars! I have seen that the player coming 3rd place last year turned a $22 ticket into $1.36m score. So, that gives me a better appreciation of the possibilities for going deep in the tournament."
iceberg32 is under no illusion that MILLIONS Online is going to be a tough tournament, especially as they consider themselves to be a recreational player. Thanks to the satellites and Mega Sats running around the clock, the MILLIONS Online player field will be packed with recreational players like himself with a sprinkling of elite pros, including members of Team partypoker.
Having fun is the key to success
"I have not done much special to prepare. Key was to continue playing tournaments to stay focused. I have watched many live streams of $10K events so I have a good idea how the play goes. I'm just going to enjoy the tournament."
Winning MILLIONS Online should come with a prize in excess of $2 million plus an additional $1 million if the champion finished Day 1A as the chip leader. It is a life-changing sum of money, but iceberg32 is not getting too far ahead of themselves when it comes to planning on what to do with a monster-sized haul.
"I haven't given that any serious consideration since I haven't actually won any money and I also don't want to jinx myself. All I can say now is that if I won, I would definitely play some large live buy-in tournaments like the MILLIONS Live events."
partypoker asked iceberg32 for any tips they have when it comes to playing online poker satellites, particularly the ones for MILLIONS Online.
"As I mentioned earlier, the key tip that worked for me is to be patient and wait for opportunities. Watch how others are playing given their table position and chip size at different times. A little help from the poker gods also doesn't hurt!
The key for me has been to have fun and I have played with a lot of great and fun people. I know that it is also possible to play well and have a combination of some luck that can lead to a big score. We have seen it happen to many recreational players over the years."