After a back-and-forth heads-up battle between Marcin Chmielewski and Boris Kotleba, Chmielewski emerged triumphant shortly before 3 a.m. local time in the WSOP International Circuit Main Event at King's Casino Rozvadov.
Coming into the final day, the Polish player navigated a tricky field to take home the gold ring as well as over €180,000 in prize money.
"This tournament was difficult for me," he told PokerNews shortly after his victory, "But the heads-up maybe the most difficult. I was tired but my opponent played well and he had three times as many chips as me...I gave him pressure a lot of times, maybe that's why I won. I tried to play my best, and I have definitely enjoyed my experience."
|3||Michal Schuh||Czech Republic||€82,745|
|4||Jiri Horak||Czech Republic||€65,170|
|5||Chi Quay Hoang||Germany||€51,205|
|8||Jeremy Williams||United States||€20,995|
The day started with German Markus Prinz in the lead, but over the course of the day and across the tournament as a whole, there was never a runaway chip leader. The lead would swing between a number of players as the levels ticked by.
Sickening hands littered the day, with Jorg Peisert rivering a gutshot to crack the aces of overnight chip leader Prinz, before Ngoc Bui Hai shoved his top pair into the rivered straight of Chi Quay Hoang to bust just as the final two tables were confirmed.
At this point it was eventual runner-up Kotleba who led proceedings, but was pushed by Polish player Lukasz Wasek, especially after Wasek eliminated home favorite Martin Kabrhel when they both flopped sets, with Wasek’s set of eights ahead of his opponent’s set of fives.
As the players approached the final table, there was no real action by anyone to grab proceedings by the scruff of the neck. In fact, the six eliminations leading to the final table of nine were done by six different players, such was the dynamic at the tables.
By the time the final table did come around, it didn’t take long for our first casualty – one hand in fact, before Prinz ran his pocket queens into Wasek's pocket kings.
Jiri Horak boosted his standings by eliminating Jeremy Williams, and was later joined by Michal Schuh with the pair contributing to most of the raising, and thereby putting pressure on their tablemates.
Wasek stuck around, but exited in sixth place for €39,995, closely followed by Hoang (fifth – €51,205) and Horak (fourth – €65,170). The final three consisted of Schuh, Kotleba and Chmielewski.
In the beginning, it looked like Schuh was going to walk away with it.
In the beginning, it looked like Schuh was going to walk away with it. A combination of good cards and well-timed aggression brought him to the head of proceedings.
However, he would exit in third for €82,745 after he ran queen-ten into the pocket aces of Kotleba to give the Slovakian the chip lead heads up.
He came into the contest with a 2-1 chip lead, which would soon grow even bigger and at one point touched on a 5-1 lead. After a short while, however, it appeared as if Kotleba faded as the night drew on.
With fatigue creeping in, Chmielewski pounced, albeit somewhat luckily. Kotleba moved all in holding two-pair, and Chmielewski held only pocket tens and a gutshot. The Polish player hit his gutshot, but Kotleba did not realize and celebrated before being brought back to reality.
From then it appeared only a matter of time. Kotleba seemed deflated and Chmielewski looked to turn the screw. In the final hand, Chmielewski spiked a jack on the river to make a straight, crack the pocket threes of Kotleba and take down the tournament.
Have you ever wanted to write your own articles about poker? Maybe you've got some experiences or opinions about poker that you'd like to share. PokerNews is proud to launch The PN Blog where you can have a platform to make your voice heard. Learn more here.