A total of 64 players came to play the €10,300 Single-Day High Roller at the PokerStars.com EPT Malta. Twenty of them did not succeed on their first try and bought back in to have another go at winning the trophy and accompanying €224,100 first-place prize.
In the end, WCOOP finalist and ISPT champion Jakub "Olorionek" Michalak from Poland succeeded in that goal, though it must be said he struck a deal three-handed to eventually walk away with €188,229.
|3||Charlie Carrel||United Kingdom||€170,754|
|5||Scott Seiver||United States||€63,550|
|7||Pratyush Buddiga||United States||€39,100|
The Day started with four tables in action, quickly followed by more tables starting as players dropped by. Some of them left rather quickly, as the structure dictated fast play early on. The first player to bust was Marcin Chmielewski who made his departure before the first time the level went up. First to burn through two bullets was Max Silver, running kings into aces on his first go and pocket sevens into an ace-queen that made a flush on his second try.
As the last player to enter before late registration closed, Pratyush Buddiga got 12.5 big blinds to work with. He doubled early on and cruised to the money.
As the bubble approached, the Iranian businessman (living in Dubai) Behzad Ahadpour went on a rampage. He was the life of the party, laughing constantly and making sure the entire table was having a good table at all times. Scott Seiver seemed to enjoy the antics as he nearly choked laughing from time to time.
While there was big money on the line, the table of Ahadpour was the complete opposite of the boring game people make poker out to be sometimes. Big bets, great speeches, good jokes and some interesting reversed psychology made for a game that attracted somewhat of a rail in an otherwise poker-focused tournament room.
Over on the other table, Pasquale Grimaldi was leading the tournament overall. The player close to him was British wunderkind Charlie Carrel who had just 14,000 fewer in chips. Things went sour real quick for Grimaldi though, as he clashed with the only player that could really hurt him: Carrel.
What started as a simple, small pot with a single raise preflop and the flop checked through, spun out of control on the turn as a third heart hit. Grimaldi lead, Carrel raised and Grimaldi shoved. Carrel called with the second nut flush. Grimaldi was drawing dead with his lower five hearts. Grimaldi made his exit the next hand and the remaining 11 players were in the money.
As Diego Zeiter made his departure in 11th place (€20,400) and defending champion Steve O'Dwyer lost jacks to ace-queen to go out in 10th place (€20,400), a final table was formed. The remaining nine players moved on to the final table in the tournament room upstairs. The Behzad Ahadpour show moved, but would be as entertaining as before. The talking only increased and so did the laughter.
Danish pro Morten Mortensen started the final table as the shortest-stacked player in the field and departed first. He made his move with pocket sixes and ran into the pocket nines of Seiver.
Spanish EPT Grand Final and WSOP Europe champion Adrian Mateos, who started the final table as one of the shorter stacks as well, would find his head on the chopping block next. He open shoved with ace-queen and saw Ahadpour shoving over the top with pocket tens. Pratyush Buddiga slammed his queens and calling chips on the table from the big blind to try his hand at a double knockout. The ten on the river spoiled that party for Buddiga as Ahadpour tripled and Mateos made his exit.
Buddiga would not recover from that hit as he made his departure minutes later. Again, the flamboyant Ahadpour was the one doing the dirty work. Buddiga wagered it all with sixes, Ahadpour called with king-queen and hit a queen on the turn.
While Ahadpour by now had gathered so many chips he had a fair shot at the title, he would be the next to go nonetheless. He lost several big pots, doubling Jakub Michalak and Rocco Palumbo in the process, to get into dangerously short territory. On top of that, he was getting tired, he said, so he forced things by shoving all in. His friend Seiver was the one calling with ace-ten and the American was in excellent shape to knock out Ahadpour as the Iranian showed ten-eight. The eight on the flop changed things drastically for Seiver and Ahadpour. The latter spent the next minute apologizing.
While Ahadpour had found new life with his double up and Seiver was on life support, it was still Ahadpour who went next. He limped in with eight-five and flopped two pair in a three-way pot. Unfortunately for Ahadpour and the rail that enjoyed his antics, it was big blind Michalak with a flopped set of fives that set the trap by checking. Ahadpour open-shoved the flop in position for a couple times pot and all Michalak had to do was call. No eight on the turn or river and the gigantic cooler took out the most entertaining player of the tournament.
Seiver followed him out the door after getting it in with jacks to Michalak's ace-six. An ace on the turn was all she wrote for Seiver who departed in fifth place for €63,550. Orpen Kisacikoglu hit the rail five minutes later, failing to get lucky with nine-six to Charlie Carrel's king-queen.
With just three players left, they agreed on a deal. Chipleader Carrel got the most money with €170,754, Michalak settled for €160,658 and Palumbo guaranteed himself a €138,763 payday. With still €17,475 and the trophy to play for, the action was back underway soon enough.
Carrel lost a couple of big hands to eventually go out in third place. "Bad read," he said with a smile after calling it off with ace-seven to Palumbo's ace-queen. The board brought no help to either and Palumbo was in pole position heads up while Carrel was heading to the rail. Cate Hall and Ben Heath had been standing there most of the evening cheering their friend on.
Palumbo started the heads-up battle with the lead, but a two-pair versus a higher two-pair situation shifted the chip lead and momentum to his Polish opponent. After a hand where Michalak once again made two pair and got three streets of value, Palumbo all of the sudden was the extreme short stack.
Palumbo managed to double up once more but the crucial last coin flip would go to Michalak as Palumbo pushed his stack and luck with king-nine into Michalak's pocket deuces. Palumbo turned a ton of outs but hit none of them on the river and he had to leave the biggest prize, trophy and honours to Michalak.
Jakub "Olorionek" Michalak a 29 year old from Gdynia, Poland, made the final table of the WCOOP Main Event just last month (sixth for $305,439.66). Tonight's victory in the €10,300 Single-Day High Roller at the PokerStars EPT Malta is his second biggest live score to date, as he won the ISPT back in 2013 for €436,000 as well.