In her 1995 smash hit single “One of us”, singer Joan Osborne ponders: “What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us? Just a stranger on the bus tryin’ to make his way home?”
What she forgot to ponder was whether “WhatIfGod” was going to win the $5,200 EPT Online Main Event tonight, defeating arguably the best tournament player in the world to clinch the title, the trophy, and the enormous $1,019,081 first-place prize.
We don’t have to ponder that anymore. Sweden’s “WhatIfGod” did exactly that tonight with a stellar display of high-pressure poker, the kind you simply have to play when you’re up against such talented competition.
After 1,304 total entries, it wasn’t surprising at all to see Timothy “Tim0thee” Adams reach the heads-up, a player who PokerStars Twitch commentators (and high stakes crushers) Sam Grafton and “girafganger7” believe is among the very best in the world.
Fortunately for “WhatIfGod”–a successful player who won two World Championship of Online Poker titles back in 2014–the heads-up battle didn’t take long, despite both having near-even, extremely deep stacks.
Adams had A♠9♦ but was just out-kicked by WhatifGod’s A♦10♣. Both players flopped an ace, and by the river both had trips as the case ace hit the board. All the money went in, but WhatIfGod’s kicker played. Adams would have to settle for second and $728,632.82.
It was an action-packed ending, but this final table was also full of all-time online poker legends, former EPT High Roller winners, and some huge and memorable pots.
Storming out the gates
We lost two players before the first level of the final day was through.
It was only the fifth hand of the evening when Jon “apestyles” Van Fleet picked up pocket aces in the cutoff and opened, only for Kazahkstan’s “vip25459” to pick up K♦J♦ in the small blind with the shortest stack. They shoved it for around 22 big blinds and was drawing dead by the turn.
It was a short day for Vip25459, but the $78,796.80 prize for ninth will provide more than a little sweetness. They usually only play tournaments with buy-ins up to $215 and satellited into this event via a $22 qualifier, then a $215 mega qualifier. No doubt we’ll see them battle in some other big events going forward.
As for Van Fleet–an undisputed legend and one of the winningest online poker players of all time–he wasn’t around long enough to put those newfound chips to good use. With A♠K♦ he opened from the cutoff and was three-bet to 12 big blinds by Viacheslav “VdV1990” Buldygin with J♠J♦ in the small blind. Back to Van Fleet, he shoved for roughly 58 big blinds and Buldygin snap-called. There was no help for big slick on the board, and that was all she wrote.
Van Fleet secured $97,344.25 for his eighth-place finish, yet another huge score for a player who has already cemented his position in the poker history books. He’s been crushing events like this for more than 15 years and we’d bet he’ll be doing it long into the future, too.
With that, Buldygin took the chip lead and continued to ascend with a few more pots won before we saw Andreas “daskalos20” Christoforou fall in seventh.
David “MissOracle” Yan opened in early position with A♣K♣, a beautiful hand…unless you run into pocket aces. That’s exactly what happened as Christoforou woke up with A♦A♠ in the big blind and three-bet to 6.8 big blinds. Yan set him all-in and naturally Christoforou snap-called for his 33-big blind stack.
But despite what Fintan Hand might say, it’s not always easy with aces. The K♠9♣4♣ flop was far from ideal for Christoforou, giving Yan a pair and a flush draw. He’d hit the flush immediately on the 3♣ turn, leaving Christoforou drawing dead through the J♦ river. The Dutch player banked $136,147.38 after that brutal beat.
It’s “Tim0thee” time
Several hours went by–during which we saw Timothy “Tim0thee” Adams taking the chip lead–before we lost another player. But Yan’s good fortune continued when he eliminated Enio “Bozzano JNR” Bozzano with pocket queens, cracking Bozzano’s pocket kings. The Brazilian cashed for $190,418.55 for sixth.
Yan remained the short stack on a very deep table, and as a result, we saw the chip lead passed around like a hot potato. At one stage, Finland’s “tikidiii” claimed it after winning a big flip worth more than 100 million chips with a set of tens versus the nut flush draw of “WhatIfGod”.
But unfortunately for the others, the talented Yan managed to manoeuvre his way out of trouble and ultimately it was Buldygin who would fall in fifth.
Action folded to him in the small blind and he shoved for roughly 27 big blinds with A♣J♠. “WhatIfGod” had 8♥8♦ in the big blind and the bigger stack, and he made the call. There was nothing but bricks on the board for Buldygin and the Russian was gone, earning $266,323.09 for his efforts over the past four days.
“Tikidiii”s time as chip leader was short-lived as Adams continued to apply pressure as only a Super High Roller calibre-player can. The former’s stack had dwindled by the time they jammed for around 16 big blinds from the small blind with J♠10♥ only for Adams to wake up with 8♦8♣ in the big blind, just as “WhatIfGod” had before. An eight hit the flop and by the river, Adams had made a club flush to eliminate “Tikidiii” in fourth for a $372,484.99 payday.
Despite Adams’ surge, Yan actually pressured for the chip lead at one point three-handed before running an absolutely ginormous bluff against the eventual champ.
For third place, Yan collected a colossal $520,965.60. And you know what happened next.
Look, with $24.3 million in live earnings and millions more won online, the great Timothy Adams will be back on these stages again. You could bet your life on that. But tonight he was just one of us (albeit not a slob like most of us).
“WhatIfGod”, however, is the EPT Online Main Event champ and a millionaire.
EPT Online Main Event
Date: November 15-18, 2020
Entries: 1,304 (inc. 380 re-entries)
Prize pool: $6,520,000
1. WhatIfGod (Sweden) – $1,019,081.90
2. Timothy “Tim0thee” Adams (Canada) – $728,632.82
3. David “MissOracle” Yan (New Zealand) – $520,965.60
4. tikidiii (Finland) – $372,484.99
5. Viacheslav “VdV1990” Buldygin (Russia) – $266,323.09
6. Enio “Bozzano JNR” Bozzano (Brazil) – $190,418.55
7. Andreas “daskalos20” Christoforou (Netherlands) – $136,147.38
8. Jon “apestyles” Van Fleet (Canada) – $97,344.25
9. vip25459 (Kazakhstan) – $78,796.80