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WSOP 2022: Yuliyan Kolev Becomes First Bulgarian to Win Two WSOP Bracelets, Champions Event #37: MILLIONAIRE MAKER For $1,125,141

Yuliyan Kolev
  • Naman Sharma June 23, 2022
  • 4 Minutes Read

After five days of grueling play, the 2022 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Event #37: $1,500 Millionaire Maker No-Limit Hold’em finally has a winner in Bulgaria’s Yuliyan Kolev (cover image)!

Kolev battled through a massive field of 7,961 entries to claim the lion’s share of the $10,627,935 prize pool worth $1,125,141. This was his career-second bracelet, with his first bracelet coming in Event #9: $777 Lucky 7’s No-Limit Hold’em last November for $146,163.

Kolev was the fifth Bulgarian WSOP bracelet winner of the six winners, but he is now the first to break through and win a second WSOP bracelet. With this win, Kolev has moved to third overall on the Bulgarian All-Time Money List with over $2.80 Million in tournament earnings. He is also the seventh player to win over $1 Million in first-place prize money in this year`s WSOP.

Speaking of his miraculous turnaround in the event, Kolev, in the post-match interview, said, “It was quite funny because I knew I’m not out of the tournament, but I can’t do anything with that stack (less than one big blind). I was thinking, let’s observe what’s going on at the other table, so I folded two hands before the big blind hit me. Then I went all in from under the gun and won and then won the hand in the big blind, then everything started from there.”

When asked about winning his second WSOP bracelet and the first in a live event, Kolev said, “The feeling is much stronger because all of your friends are here. The pressure is much more.”

When asked whether the strong rail presence helped his performance, Kolev said, “It makes me feel really really calm. It’s really important for my friends to be around me when I got really far (in the tournament).”

Kolev confirmed he’ll be playing more events at the 2022 WSOP, looking for a third bracelet.

This year’s MILLIONAIRE MAKER registered the third-largest field in the tournament’s history, behind 8,773 entries in 2006 and 7,977 entries in 2014. Out of the massive field of over 7,000 entries registered in the event, 1,196 runners finished in the money.

While no Indian player went as far as Day 3, 11 players posted ITM finishes on Day 2. These include Aditya Sushant (316th for $5,816 ~ ₹4.54 Lakhs), Paawan Bansal (359th for $5,165 ~ ₹4.04 Lakhs), Young Gun Neel Joshi (494th for $4,172 ~₹3.26 Lakhs), Nipun Java (528th for $4,172 ~ ₹3.26 Lakhs), Ankit Ahuja (536th for $4,172 ~ ₹3.26 Lakhs), PokerGuru Ambassador Kartik Ved (592nd for $3,795 ~ ₹2.97 Lakhs), Kunal Patni (717th for $3,218 ~ ₹2.51 Lakhs), Kunal Punjwani (752nd for $3,218 ~ ₹2.51 Lakhs), Meherzad Munsaf (1,002nd for $2,400 ~ ₹1.88 Lakhs), Muskan Sethi (1,083rd for $2,400 ~ ₹1.88 Lakhs), and Dilip Ravindran (1,182nd for $2,400 ~ ₹1.88 Lakhs).

Other notables who also scored in the event include Michael Mizrachi (27th for $35,573), Ryan Leng (40th for $29,070), Elio Fox (112th for $8,701), Scott Davies (140th for $8,701), and Qui Nguyen (247th for $6,600).


Final Table Chip Counts

  1. Tyler Gaston – 53,500,000
  2. Nick Marchington – 21,800,000
  3. Bastien Joy – 20,000,000
  4. Yuliyan Kolev – 19,000,000
  5. Raul Martinez – 18,000,000
  6. Dominic Brazier – 16,000,000
  7. Stanley Weng – 14,700,000
  8. Oren Rosen – 9,500,000
  9. Yita Choong – 8,000,000
  10. Alen Tenorio – 7,200,000


Final Table Recap

Moments after reaching the final table, Yita Choong shoved all in for 5.8 Million on the button with . Raul Martinez looked him up from the big blind with , putting Choong at risk. The community cards were no help to Martinez, resulting in Choong’s revival as he doubled up.

Soon after that, Raul Martinez became the first final table casualty when his went up against Tyler Gaston’s . Gaston’s pocket nines improved to a full house on the runout , ending Martinez’s tournament run in tenth place.

Right after the dinner break, Nick Marchington with the called off Stanley Weng’s all-in shove for 15.5 Million after the flop was dealt. The cards were turned face up, and after seeing Weng’s , Marchington knew he was drawing dead. The on the turn and the on the river made the obvious known, and Weng raked in a massive pot off Marchington.

Soon after this tragedy, Marchington saw a glimmer of hope when Dominic Brazier and Oren Rosen helped him triple up with a pair of fours.

However, Nick Marchington`s luck ran out when he opened for 3 Million from early position with . The chip leader Tyler Gaston had other plans as he made a 3-bet of 10 Million from the cut-off with his . Short on options, Marchington called off his tournament life. The flop gave Gaston a commanding lead, with the on the turn improving his hand to two-pair, but it also gave Marchington outs for a runner-runner flush. The on the river sealed Marchington’s fate as he fell out in ninth place.

Soon after Marchington’s exit, Bastien Joly followed him out in eighth place. Joly open-shoved preflop with , and Stanley Weng did not waste any time re-shoving with , putting Joly at risk. Seeing Weng’s cards face up, Joly knew his chances were meek. And the community cards affirmed Weng’s victory and Joly’s eight place exit.

The spree of eliminations didn’t end, and next up was Alen Tenorio, who moved all-in from early position for 5,100,000 with . The action folded to Gaston in the big blind, who called off with . Gaston flopped top pair on the runout , eliminating Tenorio in seventh place.

An hour later, Stanley Weng`s elimination ended the day`s play. The hand in question had Yuliyan Kolev open-raising UTG for 2,500,000 from UTG. The action folded to Weng, who wasted little time before announcing all in for 26 Million, to which Kolev snap-called.

Yuliyan Kolev

Stanley Weng

When the cards were turned face up, a calamity befell upon Weng, who needed a lot of luck to survive! However, his prayers went unanswered as the board kept Kolev`s pocket rockets ahead, and Weng had to walk out to the cashier’s desk to collect his sixth place payout.


Final Day Chip Counts:

  1. Tyler Gaston – 64,000,000
  2. Yuliyan Kolev – 58,300,000
  3. Oren Rosen – 43,000,000
  4. Yita Choong – 22,900,000
  5. Dominic Brazier – 10,200,000


Final Day Recap

It was a rough start to the day for Dominic Brazier, who lost one-fifth of his chips shortly after Day 5 started. Five minutes later, he was dealt and soon-to-be champion Yuliyan Kolev moved all-in with for 6,200,000 effective, which sufficiently covered Brazier, who was in the big blind. Brazier called putting his tournament life at risk. The board ran , and Kolev took down the pot with his rivered two-pair, crashing Brazier`s bracelet hopes in fifth place.

Ten minutes later, Yita Choong followed Brazier to the rail. Kolev was undoubtedly riding the momentum, as with the action folded to him, he moved all-in for 14.4 Million effective with . Choong, putting his tournament life on the line, made the call with . The flop gave Choong the lead. However, the on the turn changed the odds instantly. The river was a blank, spelling the end of Choong`s tournament run in fourth place.

The start-of-Day 5 chip leader Tyler Gaston could not carry forward his lead to the finish line. He lost several sizable pots to see his stack plummet to 23.2 Million and finally got it in with , pitting them against Oren Rosen’s but to no avail. The dealer fanned out the on the board. Rosen paired his queen, eliminating the last American standing in third place, leaving himself and Yuliyan Kolev to battle it out heads-up for the WSOP gold bracelet and the massive $1,125,141 up top.

Oren Rosen
Oren Rosen


Just 15 minutes into the heads-up battle, the final hand was dealt. Oren Rosen raised to 4 Million with his and Kolev three-bet to 14 Million with . The flop ran , giving Rosen the top pair. Kolev fired a bet of 10 Million, and Rosen called to see the turn card open . With the board paired, Kolev jammed, putting Rosen at risk. After some thought, Rosen called and got the bad news. The on the river changed nothing, and just like that, Kolev bagged his second WSOP gold bracelet and $1,125,141 in prize money, much to the joy of his big rail, all of them donning KFC buckets as hats!

Yuliyan Kolev with his rail
Yuliyan Kolev with his rail


Final Table Results (USD)

  1. Yuliyan Kolev – $1,125,141
  2. Oren Rosen – $695,390
  3. Tyler Gaston – $522,705
  4. Yita Choong – $395,545
  5. Dominic Brazier – $301,346
  6. Stanley Weng – $231,145
  7. Alen Tenorio – $178,515
  8. Bastien Joly – $138,821
  9. Nick Marchington – $108,704
  10. Raul Martinez – $85,718


Content & Images Courtesy: PokerGO, PokerNews & WSOP

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