With MILLIONS UK now just over three weeks away, excitement is building for poker players all around the world. A lot of players playing MILLIONS UK are likely to dream in the next few weeks about just how amazing it would feel to win such a huge, important title. One person who doesn’t have to imagine, however, is Argentinian superstar Maria Lampropulos, who took down MILLIONS UK in April 2017 to win £1,000,000.
The tournament was the inaugural event on the MILLIONS tour, and the festival saw players flock from all over the globe to Dusk Till Dawn in Nottingham to compete for their share of the stunning £6,000,000 guaranteed prize pool. The festival as a whole was a huge success for players and fans alike, with the entertaining schedule of tournaments including wins for Vojtech Ruzicka in the £10,300 High Roller and Pascal Lefrancois in the £25,000 Super High Roller, as well as victories for Tim Slater, Patricia O’Sullivan, Dimitar Yosifov, and Jonathan Abdellatif.
This year, Dusk Till Dawn will again host the £5M GTD Main Event, as well as four fabulous side events. With millions of pounds and some of the most prestigious titles in poker up for grabs, it’s sure to once again be an absolute cracker.
The undoubted highlight of MILLIONS UK 2017 was the £5,300 buy-in Main Event, which saw an emotional Lampropulos edge out the UK’s Jacob Mulhern heads-up to claim the title. The thrilled Argentine said afterwards: “It really feels like a magic moment I’m in right now. I’m a little tired after such a difficult final table, but tomorrow I’ll realize what I did.”
Lampropulos’s victory to earn her the £1,000,000 top prize came after a short heads-up battle against 24-year-old UK player Jacob Mulhern, who had qualified after running up a $22 satellite buy-in to a ticket for the Main Event. Mulhern took home £650,000 for second place, but also won the Golden Chip last longer competition for an extra £100,000 after outlasting all the other satellite qualifiers.
Mulhern was also understandably delighted after the event, saying: "My life has changed. It's a massive amount of money for anybody to win, but for a lad like me of 24, it's huge! It means a lot to my family.”
The Brit could have won even more, with his determination to take home the full prize of £1,000,000 causing him to dramatically turn down Lampropulos’s offer of a deal. Mulhern had been telling his work colleagues for months that he would be bringing back the £1,000,000 and the title to his hometown of Doncaster. The night before the final table, he and his friends had driven back home, and on driving past his workplace Mulhern shouted out of the window: “I’ll never have to work here again!”
So what did Lampropulos make of her final table experience? She had to do it the hard way, with the world-class Stephen Chidwick, second on the all-time money list for English players, sat directly to her left.
“The hardest opponent was Stevie [Chidwick] - he’s a huge player. I have no words because he’s better than so many players, I was afraid of him.”
It was a huge boost to the Argentine, then, when Chidwick was eliminated in sixth place. With so much money on the line, the final table was an emotional rollercoaster for all the players, but Lampropulos had the support of her friends and family, which proved a great help. With her boyfriend, fellow poker pro Ivan Luca, watching on, Maria was able to focus fully on the task at hand. Afterwards, she paid tribute to Luca:
“It’s important to have his support. I learned all that I know from Ivan and we play so much together. I’m next to him every day and I learned a lot.”
Lampropulos also enjoyed unwavering support from the women of Dusk Till Dawn, with loud chanting throughout the final table in support of the Argentine helping spur her on to victory. The win made her the first female player to win £1,000,000 in a single tournament outside of Super High Rollers, and Lampropulos was happy to have the support of her fellow female poker players.
“I am proud of that obviously. It’s wonderful, every woman here supported me. When everyone chanted, I felt so emotional!”
So there you have it. Both Mulhern and Lampropulos had an incredible time at the first MILLIONS UK, earning £750,000 and £1,000,000 respectively for their dream weeks at Dusk Till Dawn. There’s still time to join them and thousands of others at MILLIONS UK later this month, with satellites running now from $3.30 on partypoker.
Could it be your turn for MILLIONS UK victory in 2018?
18+. T&Cs apply. Begambleaware.org. Play responsibly.
- nataliya semenenko
- Rob Godmon