Winne winner, chicken… bucket? Yuliyan Kolev defeated a field of 7,961 entries in the 2022 World Series of Poker $1,500 buy-in no-limit hold’em ‘Millionaire Maker’ event, earning his second WSOP gold bracelet and the top prize of $1,125,141. The Bulgarian closed out the victory to secure the seven-figure payday while wearing an upside-down KFC bucket on his head. Kolev’s supporters on the rail also donned the unique headware, reportedly in homage to a popular Bulgarian musician.

Kolev had won his first WSOP title less than a year earlier, taking down the $ 777 buy-in ‘Lucky 7’s’ event online last fall for the gold and $146,163. With this latest win, he became the first player from his home country to win multiple bracelets. This latest win came with a bit more excitement, given that it took place under the bright lights on the main final table and was broadcast on PokerGO.

“The feeling is so much stronger because all of your friends are here and they watch you play,” Kolev said. “And the pressure is much more.”

Kolev now has more than $2.8 million in lifetime tournament earnings from 89 recorded cashes. He had four prior six-figure scores to his name, but this was his first seven-figure payout.

In addition to the title and the money, Kolev also earned 1,320 Card Player Player of the Year points for the win. This was his first POY-qualified score of the year, but it alone was sufficient to see him climb within reach of the top 100 in the 2022 POY race standings, which are sponsored by Global Poker.

The huge turnout for this tournament resulted in a prize pool of more than $10.6 million. That money was paid out among the top 1,196 finishers. Plenty of big names made deep runs, including three-time bracelet winner Ryan Leng (40th – $29,070), five-time bracelet winner and two-time World Poker Tour champion Michael Mizrachi (27th – $35,573), and WSOP and WPT champion James Calderaro (26th – $43,849).

This event ran over the course of six days, with two starting flights and then four more days of action. The final […]

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