Another international winner at the 2019 World Series of Poker Europe has been crowned! Vangelis Kaimakamis of Greece claimed his first-ever WSOP gold, the fifth bracelet in the southern European country's history. Kaimakamis defeated Israel's Shahar Levi heads-up after the two had plowed through the other finalists in rapid fashion.
The Greek received €167,056 and a WSOPE Main Event ticket worth €10,350 for his victory, Levi walked away €103,216 richer and also got a ticket. Jose Rivas of Venezuela completed the podium and cashed €72,474. With the win, Kaimakamis follows in the footsteps of Aristeidis Moschonas, who won a bracelet earlier this summer at the WSOP in Las Vegas.
Hailing from Katerini, Greece, Kaimakamis used to be a cash gamer but transitioned to tournaments a few years ago. While none of his earlier cashes came even close to the near $200K he banked today, it's been a successful transition even before the career-defining victory; the Greek had already racked up nearly a quarter-million US dollars over the course of three years. Last year, Kaimakamis nearly tasted WSOP gold already by just missing out with a third place in the €1,100 Turbo Bounty Hunter.
"I went close once earlier and now I've won my first bracelet. It's a big achievement for me," the proud Greek said to PokerNews directly after his victory.
Event #3: €1,350 Mini Main Event No-Limit Hold'em Final Table Results
|Place||Player||Country||Prize (EUR)||Prize (USD)|
|1||Vangelis Kaimakamis||Greece||€ 167,056*||$184,218|
|2||Shahar Levi||Israel||€ 103,216*||$113,819|
|3||Jose Rivas||Venezuela||€ 72,474*||$79,919|
|4||Markus Jordan||Germany||€ 51,628*||$56,932|
|5||Didier Rabl||Switzerland||€ 37,321*||$41,155|
|6||Andrew Bak||United Kingdom||€ 27,382||$30,195|
|7||Luigi Macaluso||France||€ 20,396||$22,491|
|8||Leonid Yanovski||Israel||€ 15,426||$17,011|
|9||Gerardo Giammugnani||Italy||€ 11,850||$13,067|
* plus €10,350 WSOPE Main Event Ticket
WSOPE Main Event Tickets Create Big Pay Jump
Coming into the day as one of the shorter stacks, Kaimakamis' original plan wasn't so much about outright winning the coveted prize, it was more about survival. With five €10,350 WSOPE Main Event tickets up for grabs, a substantial double-bubble effect was created between places five and six, altering play at the final table.
"The plan for the day was to make the top 5 first," Kaimakamis explained how the big pay jump affected everyone's plan. "I think everyone was thinking about that. I played a bit tight because of that, but after, I played normal," he added.
It was clear chip leader Levi was also ogling the substantial rift between the payouts, as he came out blazing with his big stack. Despite losing a bit in the early stages, the Israeli quickly got things back on track by winning a lot of pots. In one of them, he knocked out Luigi Macaluso with ace-queen versus king-jack to bring the field to the bubble-eqsue spot.
After some back and forth tangling between the remaining six, it ultimately was Andrew Bak who'd miss out on one of the five tickets. With everyone now guaranteed an extra €10K in value, the brakes went off and chips started flying everywhere. When the dust had settled, Didier Rabl, Markus Jordan, and Jose Rivas were all gone, and a field of five was reduced to its last two hopefuls within the span of just one level.
Big Race Decides Heads-up
After a short break, the heads-up commenced with 80 big blinds for Levi versus 45 bigs for Kaimakamis. The Greek claimed an early pot to take the chip lead by a hair, then extended it slightly further before one monster clash would decide it all.
Despite a ton of blinds still being in play between them, the two got it in after a raising war to create a pot worth over 90% of the chips in play. First to act, Kaimakamis looked down at king-queen and kicked it off with standard raise. Levi then put in a three-bet to which Kaimakamis responded by four-bet shoving all in. He received a snap-call Levi holding pocket tens, who called the all-in shove for 60 big blinds effectively.
"He reraised big, that's why I shoved him. I didn't think he had a monster when he three-bet to 11 big blinds," the Greek explained his thought process. With Levi's call, they were off to the races and Kaimakamis caught a king on the flop, as well as a queen on the river for good measure to win the tournament on the spot.
Levi, the start-of-the-day chip leader who held the chip lead throughout almost all of the final table, ultimately had to settle for second, while Kaimakamis celebrated the victory with his friends on the rail.
That wraps it up for PokerNews coverage of Event #3, with the sixth bracelet of the 2019 World Series of Poker Europe now awarded. Nine more are still up for grabs, so keep following along with live reporting of all bracelet events.