Three’s a crowd. Three is the magic number. The best things in life are three.
But apparently three days is almost too long for a Super High Roller tournament these days. This €50K event at the PokerStars Championship Prague whizzed past so fast that the players at the final table almost decided to finish it off last night instead of coming back for today’s scheduled third and final session.
Only three players remained overnight too, one of whom had around two thirds of the chips in play. Timothy Adams had won three tournaments in his illustrious career prior to this tournament, and with a monster chip lead looked a dead cert to win his fourth here today.
He had stiff competition from his two opponents, Adrian Mateos and Mikita Badziakouski, but with such a big lead he made look as easy as one-two-three, despite some early hiccups. Badziakouski doubled twice in the early going, almost pulling level with Adams. All the while, Mateos’s stack was dwindling. He ultimately bust when his A♠8♣ was out-flopped by Adams’ Q♦J♣ and couldn’t catch up.
Heads up, Adams began to pull away. A big pot played out that saw Badziakouski’s pocket aces cracked by Adams, who had flopped bottom pair, turned a flush draw, and then rivered a set. With less than 15 big blinds it felt like the end was near, and one hand later it was.
Badziakouski was all-in and ahead with the J♥10♥, called by Adams with the 6♠7♠. The 6♥8♠A♠ flop put Adams in front, and the 8♥ turn and 8♦ river gave Adams a full house and the win.
After clinching victory, he told us he felt particularly satisfied at a job well done, having outlasted a small bust especially difficult field.
“The last two tables were really tough,” Adams said. “And the final table was stacked. Mateos and Badziakouski are two of the best players in the world.”
Your Super High Roller champ, then: Timothy Adams. Time to get three sheets to the wind.
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Rewind back to 12:30pm on Sunday afternoon’s Day 1 and things started slow. Adams, Sam Greenwood and Orpen Kisacikoglu were the first to sit down (joined by Daniel Dvoress, Christopher Kruk and Jean Ferreira), and all three of them made it to last night’s finale.
Those six would later be joined by the swarm of talent you’ve come to expect. There were legends (Erik Seidel, John Juanda), Super High Roller newcomers (Tsugunari Toma, Henrik Hecklen), and previous champs of this very event (Igor Kurganov, Steve O’Dwyer), plus a whole bunch of other familiar faces.
In total, when registration ended at the beginning of play on Day 2, there were 34 entries (including seven re-entries). That created a prize pool of €1,632,510, with the aforementioned €555,000 up top.
Two of those re-entries belonged to Steve O’Dwyer, who had a nightmare in this one. On Day 1 he busted twice, one of them coming from running pocket tens into Mikita Badziakouski’s pocket jacks. And then he’d bust his third bullet yesterday when his pocket queens lost a flip to Koray Aldemir’s ace-king. O’Dwyer exited a third and final time, €150,000 worse off.
When they got down to an unofficial final table, Timothy Adams began to take over the chip lead while it would be the short-stacked Seidel who left first. “Not too bad,” were his words when he saw his K♠10♠ was live against Dietrich Fast’s A♥Q♠. However, the A♠A♣Q♥ flop left Seidel drawing dead. The sole Team Pro in the field – Igor Kurganov – would then soft bubble, having flopped top pair with the J♥9♥ only to jam straight into Mateos’s overpair (J♠J♣).
With six being paid and seven remaining, that meant it was bubble time. The players went for a 15-minute break, but when they returned it only took three hands for it to burst.
Dietrich Fast had little over 20 big blinds, and shoved from the cutoff with the A♥7♥. Unfortunately for the German, Sam Greenwood woke up with the K♣K♦ in the big blind and the cowboys held. GG Dietrich.
Six-handed play went on for much longer, but would ultimately end when Koray Aldemir busted. He made a big raise with the A♥9♠ leaving himself not much behind, and Adrian Mateos called with the 10♠10♣. The flop came Q♠5♠3♠ giving both a flush draw, and Mateos set him all in, which he called. Aldemir took the lead on the A♦ turn, but alas for the German, the 6♠ river gave Mateos a bigger flush.
All the while Timothy Adams had amassed a stack of four million – half the chips in play! And Orpen Kisacikoglu saw his stack increase too, a lot of which came from eliminating Sam Greenwood in fifth. The Canadian jammed from the big blind with pocket deuces over an open and was called by Kisacikoglu with pocket jacks, which held.
With four players left, some wanted to play to a winner while others wanted to end after ten levels. Unfortunately for Orpen Kisacikoglu, he wouldn’t make it to the end of play anyway.
Adams had opened with the 9♣7♣ and Kisacikoglu three-bet the small blind with the K♠K♦. The 7♠10♣J♣ flop kept Kisacikoglu in front, but gave Adams bottom pair and a huge draw, so it wasn’t surprising to see Adams shove and all of Kisacikoglu’s second-biggest stack go in. The turn was a blank, but a nine on the river gave Adams two pair. Ouch.
And then were three. After a an overnight break and less than 90 minutes of Day 3 play, it was over. While Adams, Badziakouski and Mateos are all now free to explore Prague, our full attention will now move over to the PokerStars Championship Prague Main Event. There’s plenty more poker to be played here over the next week.
PokerStars Championship Prague Super High Roller
Dates: December 10-12, 2017
Entries: 34 (including 7 re-entries)
Prize pool: €1,632,510
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Jack Stanton is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog. Photos by Neil Stoddart.