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Catalin Pop Wins 888Live Barcelona €2,200 High Roller

Catalin Pop
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  • Despite losing three all-in showdowns, Catalin Pop was seemingly unstoppable.

Another trophy has been awarded here at the 2017 888Live Poker Festival Barcelona and it was a familiar face of the 888Live circuit that eventually lifted the trophy at Casino Barcelona.

Catalin Pop, who already emerged victorious in the 531-entry strong 888Live Rozvadov Main Event in February, defeated Fraser MacIntyre heads up to claim the trophy and lion's share of the €134,400 prize pool worth €40,000.

MacIntyre, the CEO of MainEventTravel, 888Live’s official travel partner for the festival offering great hotel deals in Barcelona, had yet another runner-up finish in Spain after a second-place finish in the EPT8 Madrid Main Event and claimed €28,000 to his name this time.

Sergi Escote led the field into Day 2, and the Spaniard ultimately finished third for €18,000 while 888poker ambassador Dominik Nitsche turned a late entry at the start of the day into a min-cash for €4,150.

Final Result €2,200 High Roller

PlaceWinnerCountryPrize (EUR)
1Catalin PopRomania40,000
2Fraser MacIntyreUK28,000
3Sergi EscoteSpain18,000
4Peter JakslandDenmark14,000
5Francois EvardSwitzerland10,000
6Gordon HuntlyUK8,000
7Oleg EgorovRussian Federation6,750
8Hampus PerssonSweden5,500
9Dominik NitscheGermany4,150

Another five players signed up before the start of Day 2 to make it 70 entries in total, and the early eliminations came at an incredible pace. Among those to run out of chips right at the start of Day 2 were Guillem Cusco Bach, Aku Joentausta and Balazs Somodi. Kimmo Kurko followed soon after.

888poker ambassador Bruno "Politano" Foster flopped a set of threes and got his stack in after a nine appeared on the turn, only to find himself up against the turned set of nines of Peter Jaksland, which left Politano empty-handed.

Daragh Davey's stack was chopped by two players with ace-king when the Irishman shoved short with ace-three suited. The elimination of Josep Maria Galindo Lopez vaulted Catalin Pop into the top spot. Galindo Lopez called two streets and then shoved on the river with a pair of sevens only, which Pop snap-called with ace-six suited for a six-high straight.

Aleksei Istomin also fell victim to the hot run of Pop when his ace-ten was no match to Pop's ace-king, and the Russian was drawing dead on the turn.

MacIntyre sent Carlos Egea Hernandez and Ema Zajmovic to the rail in quick succession. The Spaniard defended his big blind with eight-three and flopped two pair, check-raised and shoved the turn when another five counterfeit his two pair.

MacIntyre called with aces for the better two pair and claimed the pot. Soon after, the Scotsman raised with nines and Zamovic defended with eight-six suited. An eight-high flop spelled trouble for Zajmovic, and she ended up check-shoving a blank river to join the rail.

MacIntyre also busted Sergio Fernandez Bernal and Ramon Miquel Munoz in the same hand to reduce the field to the last 11. Escote dominated the other table and ran incredibly well at the top of the leader board. Escote's check-raise with eight-six suited for middle pair was called by Michael Matsioukkou with ace-jack for top pair, and the Spaniard completed a runner-runner straight to set up the bubble.

Ultimately, Canada's Valerie Ross ended up as the last hopeful without anything to show for. Short in chips with less than seven big blinds, Ross shoved with pocket jacks and Jaksland called with pocket queens. A queen on the turn left Ross drawing dead, rendering the jack on the river meaningless. This set up the nine-handed final table and guaranteed each remaining player at least €4,150 for the efforts.

Unofficial final table line-up

SeatPlayerCountryChip CountBig Blind
1Peter JakslandDenmark886,00055
2Hampus PerssonSweden262,00016
3Gordon HuntlyUK935,00058
4Dominik NitscheGermany324,00020
5Oleg EgorovRussian Federation161,00010
6Fraser MacIntyreUK1,359,00085
7Catalin PopRomania1,272,00079
8Sergi EscoteSpain1,360,00085
9Francois EvardSwitzerland354,00022

MacIntyre and Escote were essentially even at the top of the chip counts, while Pop quickly took over the command and established himself as the man to beat. Pop would never relinquish his first place any more.

The first player in the money was Nitsche. The German lost almost all of his stack when shoving with king-nine suited, and Oleg Egorov called for less with sevens to win the flip. Nitsche got it in soon after with king-five suited and Pop called with jack-seven suited. A seven on the flop and turn left Nitsche drawing dead and he was gone in ninth.

Hampus Persson followed in eigth place after failing to improve with queen-five suited against the pocket fives of Gordon Huntly. Egorov stood no chance with ace-jack suited against Francois Evard's pocket queens to settle for seventh place.

All remaining five opponents that stood between Pop and the 888Live High Roller trophy were subsequently eliminated by the Romanian, who was seemingly unstoppable on the final table despite losing three all-in showdowns.

First to bow out was Scotsman Gordon Huntly, who raised the button and called Pop's three-bet shove with ace-queen. Pop only had ace-jack, but spiked a jack on the turn. Evard fell in fifth place.

Left with less than two big blinds, his king-ten met Pop's king-deuce and a deuce appeared on the flop. Jaksland shoved with jacks and Pop called in the big blind with ace-eight, getting there thanks to a runner-runner four-card straight.

Down to the last three, Pop rivered a superior full house with king-four against Escote's ace-deuce suited. The last local player and Supernova Elite for many years was left with less than five big blinds.

Escote's shove was called by MacIntyre and Pop in the blinds, and Pop flopped two pair with jack-three suited to better the ace-queen suited of Escote. Pop had an almost 5-to-1 lead in heads-up, and wrapped up the victory just 15 minutes later.

MacIntyre doubled once with ace-ten versus queen-jack before four-bet jamming with ace-jack. Pop called with pocket tens and found another ten on the board to seal the win.

That marks the end of the PokerNews live reporting for the €2,200 High Roller, but big numbers are expected for the €1,100 Main Event with a guaranteed prize pool of €500,000.

Day 1a kicked off today, and two starting days remain before the will will be determined this upcoming Monday. Given Pop's recent run, it would be no surprise to see the Romanian in contention again.

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