6 Mins Read
One of poker’s most engaging and challenging fields was in attendance at the PokerStars European Poker Tour (EPT) Barcelona €10,300 High Roller that opened on August 23. Besting the field of 124 entries, Michael Soyza (cover image) took down the event, winning along with it a hefty payday of €302,500.
It wasn’t an easy ride to the top for Soyza, who was severely short-stacked on Day 1 and quickly lost a big chunk of his stack on the final day as well. However, he beat the odds and cruised through to the heads-up match where he defeated Finland’s Kai Lehto to claim the title.
“I just tried to play the hands the way they are supposed to be played and that worked out. I came in second in chips, but lost some chips pretty quick. But, I was fine with it, the way I played. Some hands you just got to lose,” Soyza said, on his run in the tournament.
While Lehto gave him a tough fight in the heads-up play, Soyza also had to dominate challenging rivals like Orpen Kisacikoglu and Luc Greenwood who kept him on the edge. PokerStars Team Pro Liv Boeree who eventually finished sixth was another tough nut to crack.
“I think she played really solid, I have not really seen any bad hands. I didn’t really adjust, because she played really well,” Soyza said for Boeree.
The Malaysian player has had a breakout year having recently won the â‚±138,000 + 12,000 NLHE High Roller Shot Clock & BB Ante at the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) Manila. “Four to six, I am not sure how many,” Soyza admitted, talking about his wins this year. Soyza’s biggest win this year was the record-breaking MSPT DeepStack Championship Poker Series Main Event where he claimed the top prize for $588,249.
The event registered 117 entries on Day 1. Seven more entries were added to the field on Day 2, creating a prize pool of €1,202,800. David Peters led the 47 survivors from Day 1 with a stack of 300,000.
At Level 4 on Day 1, a hand played between Louis Nyberg, Enrico Coppola and Kristen Bicknell created a controversial buzz on the tables when midway through a hand, the dealer dropped the deck, mixing up the folded cards. The tournament management announced that the pot would be chopped between the two players remaining in the hand – Bicknell and Coppola, evoking mixed responses on Twitter from players and tournament directors including, Christopher Kruk, Kenny Hallaert, Ari Engel and Ryan Beauregard!
The top 17 finishers were assured a minimum sum of €18,900 and with the money bubble bursting on Day 2, many prominent players were eliminated empty-handed. These included Jan-Eric Schwippert, Timothy Adams, Sergio Aido and James Romero.
Thomas Muehloecker’s pocket tens were cracked by Mustapha Kanit’s pocket kings and Patrik Antonius joined the rail shortly thereafter.
Kristen Bickell got bounced off when her pocket nines were run down by Niklas Astedt’s nut straight with ace-queen.
Sam Greenwood, Ryan Riess, Bryn Kenney, Dan Smith, Preben Stokkan, David Yan, Anthony Zinno, Stephen Chidwick and Benjamin Pollak also failed to make it in the money.
Belgian pro Gary Hasson ended up as the unfortunate bubble boy and shortly thereafter; Kenny Hallaert (17th for €18,900) was eliminated.
Joao Vieira (11th for €24,600), Ivan Luca (13th for €21,600), Adrian Mateos (€14th for €19,900), Mustapha Kanit (15th for €19,900) and Filipe Oliveira (16th for €18,900) were the other notables who managed to squeeze in a payday.
Day 2 concluded after Cary Katz’s (10th for €24,600) elimination and the remaining nine finalists bagged their stacks for the day with Iranian pro Bahram Chobineh leading the charge with 1,320,000. Following her were Soyza (1,235,000) and Lehto (965,000).
Defending champion from Croatia Goran Mandic (295,000) and Boeree (685,000) also managed to make it to the final table.
Final Day Chip Counts
1. Bahmram Chobineh – 1,320,000
2. Michael Soyza – 1,235,000
3. Kai Lehto – 965,000
4. Liv Boeree – 685,000
5. Luc Greenwood – 590,000
6. Dario Sammartino – 490,000
7. Orpen Kisacikoglu – 425,000
8. Goran Mandic – 295,000
9. Denys Shafikov – 195,000
Day 3 Recap
Denys Shafikov was the shortest stack among them all and it came as no surprise that he was the first player to bow out after he called the all in move of Kisacikoglu from the button. Shafikov looked confident enough with pocket aces, but Kisacikoglu threw him out in ninth place after flopping a set with pocket sevens. Shafikov’s elimination got play down to the official eight-handed final table.
Final Table Recap
Luc Greenwood was the first player to leave the official final table. Greenwood 3-bet shoved with pocket fives and clashed with Soyza who moved all in for slightly more with pocket kings. Soyza faded Greenwood’s straight draw and sent him out in eighth place, while improving his short stack to get back in the game.
Croatian pro Goran Mandic held the second-shortest stack now and was put at risk when he moved all in from the button with queen-deuce suited. Lehto made the call with king-nine. Both players flopped a pair but Lehto turned two pairs and Mandic didn`t get any support on the river, and hit the rail in seventh place.
Live Boeree and Dario Sammartino were then eliminated in quick succession, in sixth and fifth place respectively. Boeree’s run ended when she check-called three streets against Soyza with king-ten after flopping top pair and then check-called all in on the river where she saw Soyza turn over king-nine suited for flopped two pair. Within five minutes, Sammartino followed her. He called the button shove of Lehto with ace-king but lost out to the latter’s nine-eight suited.
Next up, Soyza raised to 70,000 and Lehto 3-bet to 225,000 in the small blind, prompting Bahram Chobineh to make the call. Soyza also came along to see the flop and the three of them checked. On the turn, Lehto checked and Chobineh bet 100,000. Soyza check-raised to 350,000 on which Lehto instantly folded and Chobineh called. Chobineh checked the on the river and Soyza moved all in. Chobineh used one of the two time banks remaining before making the call. Soyza turned over for a straight and Chobineh mucked, tabling the before heading towards the payout desk to collect the fourth place prize money.
The chips exchanged hands before Soyza established a commanding lead in three-handed play. Orpen Kisacikoglu who was by now down to his last 625,000, moved all in from the small blind and Lehto called from the big blind.
The board fell and Lehto’s kicker came into play, eliminating Kisacikoglu in third place.
Down to heads-up play, it wasn’t long before Kai Lehto was sent packing. After being cornered by Soyza who won two pots in a row, Lehto’s stack was down to 1.1 Million. On the final hand, Soyza raised to 90,000 and Lehto moved all in. “Can I get a count please?” asked Soyza and Lehto’s jam was for 1,085,000. Soyza called and both players turned their cards over. Lehto tabled against Soyza’s . The flop improved Soyza to a pair of aces, and he then hit a runner-runner flush on the turn and the river. And just like that Soyza won the title and the Spadie, while Lehto was relegated to the runner-up position.
Final Table Results (Euro)
1. Michael Soyza – €302,500
2. Kai Lehto – €204,500
3. Orpen Kisacikoglu – €133,000
4. Bahram Chobineh – €110,100
5. Dario Sammartino – €88,800
6. Liv Boeree – €70,000
7. Goran Mandic – €53,500
8. Luc Greenwood – €40,300
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