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Slaven Popov Crowned 888poker LIVE Bucharest Main Event Champion

Slaven Popov

Slaven Popov is on cloud nine today after becoming a live poker champion for the first time. Popov triumphed in the 888poker LIVE Bucharest Main Event and walked away with €35,000 plus a package to a future 888poker LIVE event.

According to his Hendon Mob profile, Popov has eight runner-up finishes to his name, in addition to a brace of six-figure hauls. The Bulgarian finished eighth in the 2014 EPT Barcelona Main Event for €121,300 and fifth in the 2015 EPT Prague Main Event for €226,330. While the €35,000 he won in Bucharest is a fraction of those scores, the fact he has finally won a live poker tournament more than makes up for it.

2022 888poker LIVE Bucharest Main Event Final Table Results

1Slaven Popov€35,000*
2Alexandru Arnautu€33,000*
3Patrick Bueno€19,330
4Jamie Thomson€15,680
5Valentin Piraiala€12,400
6Alexandru Stoian€9,320
7Bogdan Berinde€6,880
8Levente Pal€5,030

*reflects a heads-up deal

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The 888poker LIVE Bucharest Main Event saw 272 players buy in and create a €192,670 prize pool, of which €137,000 was dished out to the eight finalists.

Levente Pal was the first of the finalists to receive some prize money, namely a €5,030 score, the second-largest haul of the Romanian's live poker career. Pal opened to 85,000 with pocket kings, with the big blind costing 40,000, and Valentin Piraila called in the big blind with nine-trey of clubs. The flop fell four-seven-ten all clubs. Pirailia checked, Pal bet 210,000 and called when Pirailia check-raised all-in for 670,000 in total. Pal held the king of clubs, but the turn and river bricked to leave Pal nursing a ten big blind stack.

Pal committed the last of his chips with queen-seven after Alexandru Stoian opened from the hijack with king-ten. Stoian called and turned a Broadway straight to send Pal to the showers.

Berinde Busts With a Bluff

Bogdan Berinde was the next to bust, his seventh-place finish coming with €6,880. Berinde opened to 135,000 from the hijack with pocket jacks and Patrick Bueno called in the small blind with ace-ten. Both players checked the nine-ace-queen flop, before checking another nine on the turn. The river was an offsuit ten, and Bueno led for 160,000 into the 390,000 pot. Berinde paused for a few moments before jamming for 1,200,000, which Bueno snapped off.

Sixth-place and €9,320 went to Stoian. Jamie Thomson opened to 175,000 on the button with pocket nines, Stoian three-bet all-in for 600,000 from the small blind, and Bueno asked for a count before folding ace-eight of hearts in the big blind. Thomson instantly called and discovered he was flipping against king-queen. A ten-high board reduced the player count by one.

The final five became four with the elimination of Piraiala, who moments prior to busting lost all but four big blinds to Popov when the latter's nine-seven of hearts rivered a flush to beat his ace-jack. Piraiala moved all-in from under the gun with seven-five of clubs, and Thomson looked him up with queen-ten. Bueno also called with ace-six in the small blind. Both active players checked the board down, and Thomson won the pot courtesy of a turned Broadway straight.

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It Just Wasn't Thomson's Day

Thomson was the next player heading for the cashier's desk despite winning that pot. The Canadian, who has been travelling through Europe for the past year, came unstuck in a couple of key hands. First, his ace-king lost to the ace-seven of Popov. He then lost another sizable pot to Popov before a huge hand occurred. Bueno opened to 285,000 from under the gun with pocket tens, Alexandru Arnautu called in the small blind with king-queen of diamonds, only for Thomson to squeeze all-in for 3,800,000 with ace-eight of diamonds from the big blind. Only Bueno called, and the tens flopped a set before turning a full house.

That hand left Thomson nursing a 1,700,000 stack with blinds at 50,000/100,000/100,000a. Those chips went into the middle from under the gun with king-jack, only for Popov to wake up with pocket kings in the small blind. Thomson was drawing dead by the turn, and the Main Event was down to only a trio of hopefuls.

Heads-up was set when Bueno busted in third at the hands of Popov. Bueno three-bet all-in for 24 big blinds with pocket fours after Popov had opened with ace-jack. Popov called, flopped a jack, turned another, and sent Bueno home with a brick on the river.

The heads-up duo were evenly stacked so it was no surprise when they eventually struck a deal. They each agreed to take home €33,000, leaving the trophy, €2,000 and an added 888poker LIVE package to play for. Popov got his hands on the extras when Arnautu check-jammed with six-four on a seven-six-queen-deuce board and Popov snap-called with queen-eight. A nine on the river sent Arnautu home in second place, and ensured a delighted Popov finally got to enjoy his maiden victory.

Lead image courtesy of 888poker LIVE and Pokerfest Romania

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