'Don't worry, Isaac Haxton never wins tournaments' Steve O'Dwyer said when Haxton grabbed the chip lead with still 13 players left in the €25,500 Single-Day High Roller at the last PokerStars EPT Prague.
A quick look at Haxton's Hendon Mob profile proved that statement wasn't entirely accurate, but his two wins did look pale compared to the seven runner-up finishes he had.
Haxton would prove O'Dwyer even more wrong today, as the high-stakes online cash game player known as "Ike" won the PokerStars EPT Prague €25,000 Single-Day High Roller for €559,200!
|1||Isaac Haxton||United States||€559,200|
|5||David Yan||New Zealand||€158,610|
|8||Paul Newey||United Kingdom||€76,260|
|9||Charlie Carrel||United Kingdom||€57,950|
The €25,000 Single-Day High Roller at the PokerStars EPT Prague started off with a big field already. Before the first seconds of the first level had passed, 40 players had already signed up. With registration open for the first eight 30-minute levels, that number would only grow more rapidly.
By the time registration had closed, 69 players had entered. A total of 14 reentries made for 83 entries total and a prize pool of €2,033,500. With 83 entries, three more than last year, 11 players were to cash. By the time that was announced, a bunch of players had already departed.
Among the early casualties were a bunch of players who had played the $100,000 Super High Roller in the Bellagio, Las Vegas only a couple of days ago. The champion there, Jan-Eric Schwippert from Germany who had won over $1.4 million just three days ago, wouldn't be so lucky here in the Czech capital. His countryman, EPT Prague Single-Day High Roller title defender Rainer Kempe, would also hit the rail early on.
Familiar faces like Sam Greenwood, Igor Kurganov, Mustapha Kanit and Justin Bonomo all had already left by the time bubble was looming. Thomas Muehloecker got closer, but departed in 13th place and initiated hand-for-hand play.
With 12 players remaining, only one more player would go empty-handed. The others would be guaranteed a min-cash of €57,950. After just a couple of hands, action folded to PokerStars EPT Vienna champion Oleksii Khoroshenin. He pushed all in and big blind O'Dwyer only needed a short glance at his cards to make the call. It was a classic setup as short stack Khoroshenin had queens while big stack O'Dwyer had ace-king. An ace on the flop and river made Khoroshenin an unhappy man, but the 12 others were celebrating (silently).
As these things go, players busted rather quickly after the money stage of the tournament had been reached. Ukrainian Igor Yaroshevskyy (ace-seven to jack-five) and German Koray Aldemir (ace-jack to king-queen) did not last long.
With nine players remaining, two tables merged to just one. 2015 EPT Prague Super High Roller champion O'Dwyer held a healthy lead with Julian Stuer and Haxton in second and third. Shortest stack coming into the final table was Paul Newey with Charlie Carrel and Pablo Fernandez just barely hanging on as well.
While Newey started out the shortest, it would be his countryman Carrel to go out first. After finishing runner-up in the €50,000 Super High Roller for €535,250 the day before, now the road ended in ninth place for Carrel. The Brit cashed for the eighth tournament in a row, with just one of them not being a final table. He got it in with sixes against the aces of Ramin Hajiyev and did not improve.
Newey, who like Carrel made the final table of the €50,000 Super High Roller the day before (fifth for €200,000), was next to go. He made the final table, the fourth in a row on his Hendon Mob, but departed soon after when his ace-king failed to outrun Stuer's pocket nines. Newey hit an ace on the flop but, like on his previous final table, a nine would spoil his party. Stuer made a set and sent Newey home in eighth place.
While the average stack was growing, the bust outs would keep coming. Fernandez was short stacked and pushed his stack and luck with queen-eight from the button. Small blind Haxton called with king-ten and sent his Spanish neighbor packing.
O'Dwyer was the one following him out the door. O'Dwyer, last year's EPT Prague Super High Roller champion, clashed in a big pot with Ramin Hajiyev. The two got their huge stacks in with ace-king (Hajiyev) against tens (O'Dwyer). An ace on the river prevented O'Dwyer from lifting another trophy in Prague.
Suffering an unavoidable second nut flush-against-nut flush situation, David Yan parted ways with 99 percent of his stack. The following hand he got it in with seven-six against king-five and would again get flushed away. Yan chopped the €25,000 Super High Roller in Barcelona and walked away with the most money there then outright won the one in Malta. Now, here at the last European Poker Tour ever in Prague, he came fifth for €158,610.
Not much later, Hajiyev got it in with eights against the ace-king of Haxton. The king on the river did him in and catapulted Haxton's stack.
Immediately talks of a deal commenced but Haxton was quick to inform his two opponents he would not agree to an ICM-chop. They did look at the numbers but couldn't find an agreement and play resumed three-handed.
After some back and forth, EPT Grand Final champion Adrian Mateos got short and pushed with king-ten. Haxton woke up with pocket tens and saw the best hand hold up to send the Spaniard packing.
With Mateos gone, play was heads up between Haxton and Stuer. Three hands later, it was all over. Haxton got it in with eights against the ace-jack of Stuer and hit an eight on the turn to lock up the third victory of his luminous career.
With that, the last EPT Single-Day High Roller was on the books. Or was it? There were talks of organizing an extra Single-Day High Roller event with plenty of players interested in firing big one more time this festival. Will it happen?
Keep your eyes on PokerNews as we'll be the first to report if it does. Other than that, the Main Event continues with Day 2 and there are two more €10,000 events: a Pot-Limit Omaha and a closing No Limit Hold'em High Roller.