As soon as the second day ended with 32 players still in contention, everyone knew the final day was going to be a long one. And so it was, but after 15 hours of play a winner has been crowned in North Cyprus. The 2014 Live Events International Main Event crushed it's $200,000 guarantee, and local player Ahmet Ucali took home the $87,000 first-place prize.
Final Table Payouts
*Denotes heads-up deal.
With only 27 spots paying out, the first hurdle of the final day was to make the money. That didn't took too long, as several short stacks busted out early. Ilya Zykov would eventually bubble the Main Event after his jacks couldn't improve against Krill Radizvanov's pocket kings.
Some big names were still in contention, but not all of them would make the final table. Jorn Walthaus was one of the familiar names still in the running. The Dutch player, who went deep in the 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event, finished in 14th place after ace-king didn't improve against queens. Experienced Russian player Dmitriy Grishin got unlucky a couple of times and left in 11th place.
With Grishin's exit, the tournament broke to its final table. With 10 players remaining, there were still two fan favorites — European Poker Tour Vienna winner Oleksii Khoroshenin and Maksym Panyak. Those two had a little bit of a dispute, though, as both were also still in the Lebanese Poker Cup High Roller which started at the same time. A small conflict in scheduling resulted in the two multi-tabling the two big tournaments, and subsequently busting the High Roller first. Then in the Main Event, Khoroshenin busted in ninth place for $10,845.
Panyak was crushing most of the tournament and was heading straight for the top position. He raised every other hand for what seemed like the entire tournament, and every time someone was fed up with him, he actually had the best of it. His steamroll finished three handed, though, as the stacks got shallower. The crucial flip for it all didn't fall his way, as his opponent made a flush to defeat Panyak's eights. To finish him off, his last chips went to his neighbor with queen-jack versus ace-six.
After Panyak was eliminated, the two remaining players — Ucali and Mustafa Biz — made a deal to chop the money evenly, but leave $7,000 in the middle to play for. The stacks weren't even at all, but that didn't bother the two friendly players. Both were guaranteed $80,000 at this point, and you could tell the play wasn't as serious as it was before.
The first hand of heads-up play saw Ucali raise from the button to 300,000, and Biz call. On a flop, Biz checked to Ucali. Ucali followed his preflop aggression with a 300,000-chip continuation bet. Biz had bigger plans and raised to 700,000. Ucali called, and then called the 700,000 turn bet Biz made when the came on the board. The river was the , and Biz shoved all in. Ucali made the call holding the , and caught Biz red handed. Biz had nothing but the , which wasn't even close to beating Ucali's two pair.
The big bluff had gone wrong for Biz, but he seemed happy enough with his second-place finish and $80,000 payday. Ucali celebrated in a controlled manner, not showing too many emotions, but the smirk on his face told us enough.