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After an eventful run through two starting flights and a 1,527-strong field, the 2018 European Poker Tour (EPT) €2,200 National High Roller is done and dusted, with Finland’s Tuomo Niskanen (cover image) winning the tournament and banking a payday of €368,925, along with the event trophy. Towards the finale, Niskanen entered a heads-up deal with Brian Kaufman where Kaufman settled for a runner-up finish and a payday of €432,135.
Indian runner Mayank Saxena featured prominently in the tournament. Saxena entered the event through the Day 1B flight and carried a stack of 124,000 to Day 2. Weathering stiff challenge from top pros, Saxena climbed up the leaderboard, but his tournament run eventually ended in 100th place and he banked €5,560 (â‚¹4.54 Lakhs) for his efforts.
Meanwhile, Niskanen whose prior earnings amounted to a modest $21,569 has taken a big leap with a six-figure bankroll after this win.
“I wasn’t even going to play this event, because I was sick all week. A friend told me yesterday that I should play and I signed up,” Niskanen said, after the event.
During a conversation with his friends on the final day, Niskanen had discovered Kaufman’s online nickname, and realized that he had played a lot of hands with him on the online tables already. Kaufman was a formidable opponent. In 2017 he scored an eighth place finish in the €1,100 National Championship for €66,370 and then finished fourth in the €5,300 Main Event for €402,000.
Day 2 Recap
Eliminations were fast paced on Day 2 where 228 players, including 158 runners from Day 1A and 71 from Day 1B returned for a shot at the title. While Huesnue Salman took the Day 1A chip lead with a stack of 632,000, Marc MacDonnell (620,000) and Jack Salter (589,000) were close on his heels.
Amid the players who advanced from Day 1B flight, Chinese player Nan Hong held the largest stack of 678,000 that made him the overall chip leader, followed by Maurice Hawkins (526,000). The bubble burst in each respective flight, when 15% of the flight field remained in action.
Team India’s Mayank Saxena carried a stack of 124,000 from Day 1B flight. He lost an early pot to Anton Wigg where Wigg moved all in from the small blind for 85,000 and Saxena snap-called from the big blind. Wigg tabled against Saxen`s . With his pocket tens, Saxena looked in good to shape to win the pot and flopped a set on the rundown . However, Wigg who had picked up additional outs, hit his straight on the turn and with the river blanking out, Wigg secured a full double up in the hand.
Over the next few hours, Saxena kept chipping up with caution. However, as the field whittled down to the last 101, Saxena faced risk to his tournament life and lost out. He was eventually eliminated in 100th place and pocketed €5,560 (â‚¹4,54,975).
Other notables who made it in the money included Maurice Hawkins (28th for €10,500), PokerStars Team Pro Maria Konnikova (34th for €9,200), Benny Glaser (58th for €7,100), Shaun Deeb (85th for €6,280), PokerStars Team Pro Andre Akkari (92nd for €6,280), Ludovic Geilich (190th for €3,760) and Pokerstars Team Pro Celina Lin (194th for €3,760).
With representation from nine different countries, the unofficial final table was action-filled and Jack Salter’s (9th for €36,840) exit set the final table play in motion.
Final Table Recap
The first player to leave the final table was Bernando Dias who came up against Maron Czuczor in a hand where he moved all in for 1.65 Million. Dias tabled against Czuczor’s . Amid a boisterously loud rail, the flop fell . Dias was trailing Czuczor’s pair of jacks and got up to leave to collect his eighth place pay cheque as the appeared on the turn followed by the on the river.
Several hands later, short-stacked Leonardo Patacconi put himself at risk by moving all in after Ignacio Barcenas raised to 425,000. Small blind Niskanen asked for a count and it came to 2.65 Million. Niskanen moved all in over the top and Barcenas instantly folded. Patacconi and Niskanen tabled their cards.
With both players tabling suited aces, Niskanen’s queen kicker sent the pot in his favor as Patacconi got not help on the rundown and exited in seventh place.
Oleh Okhotskyi exited next, in sixth place. He moved all in for his last 1.675 Million and was called by Czuczor from the small blind. Oghabian decided to fold and Okhotskyi turned over against Czuczor’s . Till then Okhotskyi was leading but the flop gave Czuczor a pair of tens and kept him in the lead through the turn and the river.
One of the poker bigwigs to reach the final table, Milad Oghabian then faced elimination when he moved all in for the second hand in a row, and this time for 2,625 Million in the cutoff, prompting Niskanen to call from the button. Oghabian tabled while Niskanen turned over . The board came and Niskanen paired his ace on the turn to eliminate Oghabian in fifth place.
Next up, two of the shortest stacks, Marton Czuczor and Ignacio Barcenas clashed in a hand where the latter moved all in and was called by Czuczor from the button who moved in with his last 2.4 Million. Czuczor held :212h and Barcenas tabled . The was a blank for both the players and Barcenas`s king-high kicker eliminated Czuczor in fourth place.
Winning off Czuczor obviously didn’t bail Ignacio Barcenas out of his short stack woes and he bowed out next, in third place. The action saw Brian Kaufman open shove from the small blind and the big blind Barcenas instantly called. He tabled against Kaufman’s . Kaufman had two over cards and paired his king on the flop. The turn and the river brought no relief for Barcenas and he left the final table, leaving the two finalists to compete for the title.
After playing one hand heads-up, Brian Kaufman and Niskanen discussed and agreed upon an Independent Chip Model (ICM) deal, based on their chip counts. While Kaufman held the chip lead, it was Niskanen who eventually walked away with the title.
Final Table Results (Euro)
1. Tuomo Niskane – €368,925*
2. Brian Kaufman – €432,135*
3. Ignacio Barcenas – €205,040
4. Marton Czuczor – €151,880
5. Milad Oghabian – €119,560
6. Oleh Okhotskyi – €90,120
7. Leonardo Patacconi – €65,980
8. Bernardo Dias – €45,100
*denotes heads-up deal
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