A Mega Freeroll ran a couple of weeks ago on PokerStars as part of the 200 billion hands celebration. You might have even picked up a ticket for it yourself.

If you decided against playing it, though, you might not want to read on. Three guys used that very same freeroll ticket and turned it into multiple thousands of dollars after a super hyper-turbo structure saw an enormous field of 200,000 people whittled down to just three.

They made a deal and played it out to a winner. The Netherlands’ Bart “Sepiver” de Jonge took it down for $7,781, while runner-up finisher “galalauzinho” of Brazil banked $8,284, and Mexico’s Fernando “unsen1” Sánchez came third for $6,636.

We caught up with de Jonge and Sánchez a week after their huge victories to find out more about them, and their plans for the future.


1st place: Bart “Sepiver” de Jonge ($7,781)

PokerStars Blog: Congratulations Bart. How did you hear about the freeroll?

Bart de Jonge: I first read about the 200B hands celebration in the client. At the time I was just excited about this as it promised a lot of giveaways, but I didn’t read up on the specific events. When I was awarded the ticket for the mega freeroll, that was actually the first time I noticed it.

Were you always planning to play it, or did you just decide at the time?

When I got the ticket I was, of course, excited for the freeroll and planned to play it, but I only registered for it the afternoon of the freeroll when I was reminded by a friend.

Were there any tough spots for you in the tournament?

I don’t remember any particular tough river spots from this tournament. However, with two or three tables left I reshoved pocket eights from the big blind over a button open from the table chipleader and he called off with Ace-Queen off. This was a huge pot for me in the tournament, and after that, I could apply some ICM pressure and get to the final three relatively easy.

What tournaments do you usually play?

I usually play some micro stakes MTT’s, but mostly 6-max hyper Sit & Gos (SNGs) lately. I think this also helped me in the late stages of the freeroll as everyone was super short and I am quite comfortable at that stack depth due to the SNGs.

What do you like about poker?

One of the main things I love about poker is on the surface it’s quite a simple game, you can learn the rules in 15 minutes. However, when you dive into it there is actually so much strategy and statistics going on, and you are never done learning new techniques. I like playing online poker as playing for real money just gets me more involved in the game and gives more motivation to become better, and playing online makes playing for real money accessible. It’s also nice that you can play a very high volume at the same time. I tried various different sites, but I like PokerStars because of a number of reasons. First of all, its the only site left with reasonable traffic on hyper SNGs, secondly the field sizes, in general, are very good and a lot of different micro stakes MTT’s are offered. The client software feels really smooth and you get used to this very rapidly.

How did it feel when you won the money?

It felt unreal, my previous highest cash was about 10% of this, so coming into the FT I already matched this. After this the pay jumps were huge and everything went pretty quickly. This also meant quite a bit of stress as I had never played for this amount of money before. After dealing three-way I could relax and hang out with the observer chat (shoutout to them, this was the first time anyone was rooting for me in an online tournament) while playing it out. I took until the next morning to fully realize what crazy event happened the last night before (infinite ROI btw).

Do you have any plans on how you’ll spend the money?

A part of it will remain in my account and be used to play in the future. To celebrate I bought a new watch and some sunglasses, but the rest will be set aside to help me get started on buying a house in a couple of months after I graduate.

What’s your life like outside of poker?

I’m still in university, and currently graduating on cybersecurity for the computer science masters on the TU Delft. Because of that, I’m living in a student dorm near my campus. I have a side job as a software engineer, and my other free time is usually spent playing poker, gaming, drinking some beers with my friends (while playing poker) and hanging out with my girlfriend.


3rd place: Fernando “unsen1” Sánchez ($6,636)

Fernando "unsen1" Sánchez

Fernando Sánchez wins again. (Nice hoodie, Fernando!)

PokerStars Blog: Congratulations Fernando. Were you looking forward to playing the freeroll?

Fernando Sánchez: Yes, I had planned to play it and I registered two days beforehand, but that day I forgot completely until my friends told me that I was sitting out. I logged in almost an hour late with just four big blinds!

What tournaments do you usually play?

Sit&Go Hyper Turbo 6-Max $7.00.

What draws you to poker?

I like that there is always something to learn. You have to study and upgrade yourself if you want to be a winner. I like playing on PokerStars because they have the best software, security and plenty of options to play.

How did it feel when you made the deal?

Very happy. I couldn’t believe that I’d finished third in a tournament of more than 200,000 people.

Any plans for the money?

I’ll use it to move up stakes, play MTTs, and I’ll buy an effects pedal for my guitar.

What’s your life like outside of poker?

Poker is my full-time job. I live in Mexico City. My hobbies include playing the guitar and listening to rock music. I used to stream on Twitch, but I left to focus more on my game. Although this time I streamed the final table.

If it’s possible, I would like to send thanks to PokerStarsSchool in Spanish, Donk School, Ezequiel, Xago, ArSergio, El Cogui, EllocoBee and all the people who were supporting me that day.


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