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The headline event at the 2018 European Poker Tour (EPT) Prague, i.e. the €5,300 Main Event crowned a new champion yesterday in Germany’s Paul Michaelis (cover image). Michaelis struck a three-way deal with the other two finalists to claim the trophy and €840,000 in prize money. He has also pocketed a Platinum Pass for the upcoming PokerStars Players NLHE Championship (PSPC), Bahamas.
Prior to the win, Michaelis had $800,000 in live tournament winnings, which have now more than doubled. “It feels pretty unreal. It’s an unreal amount of money. Obviously due to swaps and backing, I only get to take a portion of this but it’s still an unreal amount of money,” Michaelis said, after the event was over.
Michaelis had to wade through a fairly tough field of 1,174 entries (includes 281 re-entries) that entered via two starting flights. Once the field was narrowed down to three players, a deal was made based on the stacks where Artem Kobylynskyi finished runner-up for €571,910 and Alexandr Merzhvinskii, who had more chips than Kobylynskyi, settled for a third place finish for €631,500.
Representing Team India at the series was PokerStarsTeam pro Muskan Sethi who got in on the second starting flight i.e. Day 1B. Sethi took a short stack of 27,500 to Day 2 but fell out before the bubble after she shoved her ace-queen into Evangelos Bechrakis’ ten-nine. Sethi got unlucky as Bechrakis flopped two pair and won the pot.
Sethi was among the 439 survivors from the two starting flights who came back for Day 2 play. With only the top 175 players set to take home a piece of the €5,693,900 prize pool, over half the field would go home empty-handed.
Among the big names to be eliminated before the money bubble were Team PokerStars pro Fatima Moreira De Melo, 2013 WSOP Main Event Champion Ryan Riess, Kenny Hallaert, Ari Engel, Joao Barbosa, Max Silver, Daniel Dvoress, Antoine Labat, and Michael Addamo, among others.
The bubble round lasted for 40 minutes and the unfortunate tag of bubble boy fell upon Pavel Veksler who busted after his two pair failed to stand up to Mateusz Wozniak’s rivered flush.
A total of 38 players posted a score on Day 2 with the remaining 137 players bagging their stacks for Day 3. On Day 3, the field was trimmed down further to 44 survivors and only 16 among them made it through to Day 5. The final table was reached midway through the play on Day 5.
High stakes regular Patrik Antonius (52nd for €17,540), who recently visited India to celebrate the 10th anniversary celebrations of Delta Corp, was among the many poker super stars in attendance at the series. He was eliminated on Day 3 after a savage cooler saw him clash with Bechrakis where both players rivered a flush in a 3-bet pot. Antonius had also flopped top pair of queens and decided to raise on the river but got called by Bechrakis who held a superior king-high flush.
Fionn Mac Namara (13th for €56,310), Day 3 chip leader Konstantin Farber (15th for€50,610), Tobias Peters (19th for €39,230), Henrik Hecklen (23rd for €33,540), Natalie the (26th for €28,130), Joris Ruijs (30th for €23,740), Anton Wigg (35th for €20,610), Juha Helppi (58th for €14,520),Timothy Adams (68th for €14,520), Jason Wheeler (96th for €10,980) and Sylvain Loosli (92nd for €12,180) were among the big names who returned to the rail with something to show for their efforts.
Ugo Faggioli (10th for €62,690) bubbled the nine-handed unofficial final table and his deep run was ended by Michaelis, who caught Faggioli attempting to bluff in one hand and then ran him down in the next, with his pocket sevens reigning over the latter’s ace-queen.
Former EPT champion Andrey Pateychuk had masterfully survived with a short stack through the latter stages of the event but then found himself in a nasty spot after turning top two pair with queen-nine and moved all in against Merzhvinskii’s pocket fives,only to discover that the latter had flopped a set.
Action on the eight-handed final table saw Diego Zeiter taking a major hit after running his pocket tens into the pocket aces of Artem Kobylynskyi. Despite doubling up once through Michaelis, Zeiter went out to Alexandr Merzhvinskii, who held pocket aces against his pocket nines.
High-stakes cash regular Liviu Ignat had taken an earlylead on Day 5 but lost his momentum on the final table. Ignat was eventually eliminated by Laurynas Levinskas.
After the two accomplished players hit the rail, the remaining six final table contenders bagged up for the final day.
Michaelis was the clear frontrunner coming into the final day with a massive 10,60,000 in chips, with Alexandr Merzhvinskii (7,545,000) and Artem Kobylynskiy (6,075,000) a distant second and third in chips.
Final Day Chip Counts
Canadian Twitch star Parker “tonkaaaap” Talbot had come into the final day with a stack of 3,690,000 and much to the disappointment of his fans was also the first elimination when play began. The hand in question saw him moving all in from the cutoff and action folded to Laurynas Levinskas who called from the big blind after asking the dealer for a count. The cards were on their backs and Talbot tabled against Levinskas’ . Talbot declared his cards to his rail but the flop was catastrophic for him as Levinskas hit a set of aces. The turn and the on the river were blanks for Talbot who was bounced out in sixth place.
Carlos Branco then saw his run down by Artem Kobylynskyi’s . Having moved all his chips in preflop, Branco saw the runout brick his chances, and he left to collect the fifth place payout.
Next up, Laurynas Levinskas saw Michaelis making a raise of 425,000 from the button and Levinskas defended. Action checked through the flop of . On the turn, Levinskas checked again and Michaelis put in 400,000. Levinskas moved all in for 1.8 Million and Michaelis snap-called. He held versus Levinskas’ . Michaelis’ turned set won him the pot and Levinskas was eliminated in fourth place.
After agreeing to a deal, the remaining three players continued to play. Alexandr Merzhvinskii was shown the door in third place after he moved all in from the button for 3,575,000 and Kobylynski quickly folded from the small blind. Michaelis meanwhile, quickly called from the big blind. Merzhvinskii tabled while Michaelis turned over . The flop ran and both players caught a pair but Michaelis still had the edge with a better pair, which held through the turn and the river.
Michaelis took down the first big pot in the heads-up play against Artem Kobylynskyi but the latter climbed back into action after picking up the two subsequent pots. The heads-up finale didn’t last long since a monster pot then saw Kobylynskyi get short stacked and soon the final hand played out. Michaelis limped in on the button and Kobylynskyi jammed for 6 Million. Michaelis snap-called.
Kobylynskyi needed to catch lightning in a bottle to win the hand and as expected the on the board followed by the on the river sealed the win for Michaelis. “Ja!” exclaimed Michaelis, as he shook hands with Kobylynskyi who settled for a runner-up finish.
Final Table Results (EURO)
Content & Images courtesy PokerStars Blog
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