Alex Kulev wins first bracelet in World Series of Poker $50,000 High Roller


Alex Kulev has been on fire on the high-stakes live tournament circuit for the past few months. The Bulgarian poker player’s first three scores, each in seven figures, have come since the beginning of May.

Kulev’s most recent and biggest tournament success has seen him defeat a field of 176 entries in 2023 World Series of Poker $50,000 no-limit hold’em high roller event to win his first bracelet and $2,087,073.

“I’m just very grateful and excited to be here. It has always been a dream of mine to win a bracelet, and to do it in this event against this kind of field is the best it can be,” said Kulev PokerNews live reporters after coming out victorious.

This streak began on May 1, when he emerged victorious in the €100,000 buy-in super high roller at Monte Carlo European Poker Tour festivals for $1,108,827. Just under seven weeks later, he finished fourth in the $250,000 buy-in event at the WSOP for another $1,632,005. Kulev now has more than $6.9 million in total tournament earnings, including more than $5.5 million in live tournament earnings in 2023.

In addition to hardware and money, Kulev also received 1,326 Card player Player of the Year points for this last win. With two titles, nine final tables and 3,247 points, he is now the 26th-ranked player in 2023 POY extension ranking presented by Global Poker.

He also took home 800 Tour of PokerGO points for the win, moving up to fifth place in that ranking focused on high stakes.

The third and final day of this event began with Kulev leading the five remaining contenders. 2021 WSOP main event champion Koray Aldemir moved all-in with jacks up and the nut flush draw to face Gergely Kulcsar’s flop set nines. Aldemir bowed out and was eliminated in fifth place ($533,561). The German pro now has more than $22.5 million in total earnings following this latest deep run.

Kulcsar then eliminated Daniel Smiljkovic (4th – $713,413) to take the lead into the three-way. Kulev managed to get back in front in time to push an all-in pot against bracelet winner Jake Schindler. Kulev raised from the button and called with A-9 when Schindler moved all-in from the big blind with A-8 suited. Kulev flopped a nine and held on from there to bust Schindler in third place ($957,491).

Heads-up play began with Kulev holding a lead of about 2:1, but he soon extended it to more than 4:1. On the final hand, Kulev raised from the button with AClub dress9Club dress and Kulcsar moved all-in for nearly 16 big blinds with acesDiamond dress5Heart dress. Kulev called and the board ran 9Diamond dress2Diamond dress2Suit in spades3Club dress7Heart dress to secure the pot and title for Kulev.

Kulcsar earned $1,289,909 as the runner-up. This was his second runner-up finish of the summer, having also gone heads-up in the $5,300 hybrid online and live no-limit hold’em event that was part of the WSOP on line plan.

Here’s a look at the payouts and leaderboard points awarded at the final table:

Place Player Earnings POY extension Points PGT extension Points
1 Alex Kulev $2,087,073 1326 800
2 Gergely Kulcsar $1,289,909 1105 700
3 Jake Schindler $957,491 884 574
4 Daniel Smilkovic $713,413 663 428
5 Koray Aldemir $533,561 553 320
6 Johann Straver $400,562 442 240
7 Brandon Wittmeyer $301,859 332 181
8 Moshe Refaelowitz $228,347 221 137

Visit the Card Player 2023 World Series of Poker page for schedules, news, interviews, and the latest results from the event. WSOP coverage sponsored by Global Poker.

Photo copyright: WSOP / Matthew Berglund.

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