Action Rolls on in Stairway to Millions with Francis Anderson Finding Win, Runner-up; New Jersey, Pennsylvania Players Also Scoring Well

September 14, 2022
Action Rolls on in Stairway to Millions with Francis Anderson Finding Win, Runner-up; New Jersey, Pennsylvania Players Also Scoring Well

PokerGO’s Stairway to Millions continues this week at the Venetian Las Vegas and is closing in on the halfway point. Francis Anderson has shined early in the series, scoring a win and runner-up finish so far.

A few players from Pennsylvania and New Jersey have also come up big during the action. With Stairway to Millions, PokerGO has dropped the buy-in levels for most events to appeal to a larger group of players. Venetian also signed on to host the second running of the series.

Stairway features a unique structure in which all players who make it in the money receive entry into larger buy-in tournaments. In theory, a player could buy in at the lowest buy-in level and then advance to the final tournament, featuring a $52,000 buy-in. Here’s a look at some of the action so far.

Event 1: $460 NLHE

The action kicked off with two straight smaller buy-in events. Longtime poker pro Francis Anderson, of New York, found the top spot in the debut tournament for $6,702. He topped a field of 93 entries to take home the  first-place prize and also scored a $1,640 ticket for Events 5 or 6. Both of those feature that higher buy-in level. Pennsylvania’s Wu Zhou finished runner-up for $4,255

In August, Anderson (pictured in lead image) also recorded another nice score in Las Vegas. In a $400 event as part of the Wynn Signature Series, he found a nice win for $15,606. Both victories came after Anderson previously swore off such lower buy-in events. Getting back in the action has proven to be a good decision so far.

Event 2: $460 NLHE

Anderson came close to making it back-to-back titles in this one, grabbing the runner-up finish for $4,071. Instead, it was John Yelaney reaching the winner’s circle for $6,417 after topping a field of 94 entries.

The player from Arizona notched the first tournament win of his career and now has more than $94,000 in lifetime tournament winnings. Like Anderson, Yelaney also cashed in for a $1,640 tournament ticket. India’s Arsh Grover took third for $2,677.

Event 3: $900 NLHE

After a third-place finish, Grover finished a couple spots better in the next event. He recorded this win for another $12,510 after coming out ahead of an 82-entry field. 

In addition, Grover won a $2,740 ticket for Events 7 and now has $185,326 in live tournament winnings. Zhou earned his second runner-up finish of the series for $7,898.

Event 4: $900 NLHE

The second buy-in level continued with this No Limit Hold’em event and saw Samy Dighlawi rise to the top. He outlasted a field of 74 to win $11,330 plus a $2,740 ticket to Event 7.

The title comes after several smaller buy-in tournament wins in recent months for the player from California. He now has $537,467 in live tournament winnings.

Kevin Thomas finished runner-up for $11,330. Anderson continued running deep in the Stairway to Millions, finding a fifth-place finish for $2,231.

Michael Wang shows off his new Stairway To Millions trophy. (photos courtesy PokerGO)

Event 5: $1,640 NLHE

The buy-in level advanced a step on the Stairway to Millions in the fifth event. With $4.5 million in live tournament winnings, Michael Wang is no stranger to success on the felt. That continued in this event and the New Jersey grinder landed the win for $22,986.

Wang bested a field of 73 entries and also scored a $5,350 tournament ticket. This is Wang’s second Stairway victory after winning a $15,000 NLHE in January for $219,300. He’s one of three players with multiple Stairway to Millions titles, along with Nick Petrangelo and Chance Kornuth.

Mikael Andersen finished second for $14,355 with Ryan Laplante scoring third for $9,340. Author and poker player  Maria Konnikova took eighth for $2,152.

Looking ahead

More Stairway to Millions action continues this week with the final table of Event 6: $1,640 NLHE set for Wednesday. Fred Tada leads the final six players with Stephen Song and Wang also in the mix.

The buy-in level then advances to $2,740 with that rising in every remaining event until the $52,000 final tournament. Here’s a look at the complete schedule with all remaining events.

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