After and intense two days of poker and parties, Estonia poker pro Ranno Sootla emerged victorious in the last 888Live event of the season, capturing the top €12,000 prize on tap at the Olympic Casino in Tallinn.
Only six months after he took home the Kings of Tallinn Main Event for €37,730 — where he survived a field that included top international players like Finland's poker veterans Juha Helppi and Kimmo Kurko, Estonia's poker icon Madis Müür, and Canada's Jeff Sarwer — Sootla left the casino with yet another reason to celebrate.
"I just came back from the European Poker Tour in Barcelona and it was great to get the opportunity to play in an event like this one at home," Sootla told PokerNews right after his victory. "I joined the Main Event almost at the end of the late registration and now I am here to celebrate the title. That's not too bad, isn't it?"
I really liked the event and it was great to see that a lot of Estonia's top poker players reacted positively to 888poker's call.
After joining the $550 buy-in Main Event on Thursday, Sootla played one hand after the other for twenty-five levels before he managed to come out victorious after defeating Finland's Kalle Aberg in heads-up play.
"I really liked the event and it was great to see that a lot of Estonia's top poker players reacted positively to 888poker's call and joined the event," Sootla went on to explain. "The Main Event was full of recreational players and beginners, and I have enjoyed that. Also, I got the chance to play against a lot of friends and Estonian players that I don't see every day."
With $117,940 in live tournament winnings, the 24-year-old player from Tallinn now ranks thirteenth on Estonia's all-time money list according to The HendonMob. Before flying back to Tallinn to join the 888Live Main Event, Sootla also did well in Spain, where he cashed in the Estrellas Poker Tour Main Event for €2,940.
"It was fun to play here right after Barcelona because the field was nothing like the one we had in Spain. Here the field was much, much softer."
However, Sootla's remarkable weekend did not end with his victory on Friday evening, as right after the event he took to the online tables at PokerStars where he put together cashes of over $17,000 by closing the $530 buy-in Sunday 500 with an eighth-place finish worth $8,300 and by winning a $51 buy-in hyper-turbo event for $9,000.
888Live Tallinn Final Table Results
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"We are very satisfied with the way things went this year," a representative from 888poker told PokerNews. "The feedback from the players has been very positive and this shows we are on the right track. We are proposing something that people want."
"In the last months of 2015, we will focus on the World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) and the Battle of Malta (BoM). We will also try to finalize the calendar for the next round of 888Live events in 2016. Next year, we may decided to head back to great locations like Spain and Austria, but also add something 'more exotic' to the list. There will be more in the months to come."
In 2016, the world's second-largest poker site plans to work hard to ensure their live events offer something more than just poker.
"The fun and community aspects are very important for us," the 888poker representative continued. "We want people to have a great time when they are at our events, and that's why we always try to combine two days of poker with a day of group activities and top parties.
"We want our events to be real 'poker holidays' for the players who join the action as much as for those ones who come with them, and that's why we will keep working on building a great experience for everyone."