It looks like the poker world has an emerging young superstar to keep an eye on. Less than two months after winning the European Poker Tour San Remo Main Event, 22-year-old pro Andrey Pateychuk picked up another title Monday by defeating a field of 568 players to win the first World Poker Tour event in Prague.
The Russian pro, who also took 15th at the 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event, collected €450,000 for his win in the €3,500 buy-in tournament, increasing his yearly earnings to close to $1.5 million. He is now just a WSOP bracelet short of accomplishing poker's triple crown, a feat that has only been achieved by Roland de Wolfe, Gavin Griffin, Jake Cody and Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier.
Pateychuk began Monday's final table in mid pack with Germany's Stanislaw Kretz in an overwhelming lead over the other five players. Short stacks Russell Carson (sixth place) and Sigurd Eskeland (fifth place) bowed out early in the day, and Benjamin Pollak exited in fourth place, leaving Kretz, Pateychuk and Spain's Adria Balaguer battling for the crown.
Kretz still owned the lead when three-handed play began, but the momentum shifted after he lost a massive pot to Pateychuk. According to the WPT Live Updates Team, Pateychuk min-raised to 200,000 on the button and Kretz three-bet to 560,000 from the small blind. Balaguer folded and Pateychuk put in a four-bet to 980,000. When Kretz opted to call, the two saw a flop of .
Both players checked and the on the turn prompted Kretz to fire 1 million into the pot. Pateychuk called and the fell on the river. Kretz slowed down and checked, and Pateychuk checked behind before tabling for a set of kings. Kretz mucked his hand and suddenly found himself on the short stack. He was eliminated by Pateychuk a short while later when his pocket nines failed to hold up against the Russian's .
Pateychuk and Balaguer began heads-up play with similar stacks, but the Spaniard took a substantial lead when his pocket eights bested Pateychuk's after the Russian five-bet all-in. That left Pateychuk trailing by a 10-1 margin in chips, but he fought his way back to claim the chip lead before ending the tournament in dramatic fashion. Balaguer moved his short stack all-in with pocket queens and Pateychuk called with , and the board brought a straight for Pateychuk to give him the title and the €450,000 top prize, which includes a $25,000 seat to the WPT Championship in May.
Final Table Results
The World Poker Tour is back in Las Vegas Tuesday for the Five Diamond World Classic at Bellagio. PokerNews will be providing daily recaps of the action, so check in this week for the latest updates from the WPT.
*Photo courtesy of the World Poker Tour.