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It is possible to qualify for the $5 million guaranteed MILLIONS Online Main Event for a mere $0.01. British grinder Gareth Smirthwaite managed this feat recently, as did Vitaly Polikarpov. He made it his mission to win a $5,300 seat from the $0.01 centrolls. Not only did Polikarpov achieve his goal, he managed to progress to Day 2, which means he is already in the money places of this prestigious tournament.

We caught up with Polikarpov this week and asked him all about his poker life and his incredible journey from a $0.01 buy-in to being in the money in the MILLIONS Online Main Event.

“I’ve been playing poker since 2008 but this is the first time I played such a high buy-in tournament. Previously, $530 was the highest buy-in online poker tournament I’d played. Live, is a $2,200 event in Sochi.”

Goal Set: Turn $0.01 into a $5,300 MILLIONS Online Seat

Our centrolls are popular with players from all walks of life, especially those on a tighter budget. It was not the small buy-in that attracted Polikarpov to the MILLIONS Online centroll, but rather ready about others’ success in them.

“I decided to try and qualify for $0.01 after seeing the news that some other partypoker players had qualified for this amount, and I wanted to achieve the same goal.”

“It took for attempts to turn $0.01 into the $5,300 seat. In three of them, I got to the $109 buy-in stage but I always crashed out there. I realised that I needed to change my poker strategy, so analysed a high-stakes video with Andrey Kozlenko which helped. Winning the ticket was already considered a success for me. From there, I just played my game.”

Making Mental Preparations For The Biggest Tournament of His Life

Polikarpov won his seat before Day 1A of the Main Event, so he had plenty of time to prepare. His preparations were not in the form of studying high-stakes tournaments, but rather increasing his mental stamina.

“There was no preparation. The only thing I realised was that I would have to play for more than eight hours to reach the money, and my gaming sessions typically last three to four hours. I then started to create all kinds of games to try and make a small upgrade to my internal settings!

Day 1A came and this centroll winner spent a significant time in the top 20 chip counts after slowly building up his stack. However, with approximately 100 players remaining, things took a turn for the worse and Polikarpov was one of the shorter stacks as the bubble approached.

“Two players, who both had ace-queen, got their chips in against my ace-king. I won and thanks to that made it to Day 2. The pressure was very strong. I folded absolutely everything and did not take any risks since there were a couple of guys with short stacks than mine.”

Scraping Through, But He’s Through

Fifty-seven players progressed to Day 2 from Day 1A, and Polikorpov went through with 1,056,902 chips, enough for 56th place. He’s through to Day 2 and in the money, that is what counts.

“I experienced a whole range of emotions after the bubble burst: joy, inspiration, gratitude, and recognition.”

There are a couple of weeks before Polikarpov takes his seat on Day 2 of the MILLIONS Online Main Event. He is already guaranteed at least a min-cash, which he plans to invest.

“I will invest this money and take my wife to the Caribbean with the profits.”

Win Your Way Into the $5M Gtd MILLIONS Online Main Event

We wish Polikarpov the very best of luck on Day 2, and sincerely hope he manages to at least ladder up a few more payout spots.

You can follow in this star’s footsteps by getting involved in our MILLIONS Online satellites. As you are now definitely aware, they start at only $0.01 so are accessible to everyone. Day 1B of the Main Event runs at 19:05 GMT on December 19, and has a 30x $5,300 seat Mega Satellite taking place at 16:05 GMT on the same day.

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