Pavel Plesuv’s Hot Year Continues with MSPT Venetian Win for $640,062
Back in February, the Czech Republic’s Pavel Plesuv made poker headlines after going head to head against Viktor “Isildur1” Blom in the partypoker Millions Germany Main Event. They were the last two players in a 927-entry field and played an epic match that culminated in Blom making a tremendous called to win the tournament for $1,048,153.
Meanwhile, Plesuv earned $924,841 for finishing runner-up. Less than five months later, Plesuv got some redemption by taking down a major title of his own after topping a field of 1,096 entries to win the $3,500 buy-in, $3.5 million GTD MSPT Venetian Main Event for $640,062, the richest first-place prize ever awarded on the tour.
“I feel awesome. It was a great tournament, big field, and I’ve been running pretty well,” the 29-year-old pro said. “The trophy is always nice. I lost heads-up to Isildur at the start of the year. I was close to winning with a big chip lead, but I lost that one. So, winning this one feels pretty good.”
Plesuv now has $3,112,334 in live tournament earnings. Other highlights include winning a €25K High Roller at the 2017 PokerStars Championship Barcelona for $478,913 and placing eighth in the EPT Barcelona Main Event for $187,860.
Official Final Table Results
|1||Pavel Plesuv||Prague, Czech Republic||$640,062|
|2||Yat Cheng||Charlotte, North Carolina||$392,806|
|3||James Romero||Portland, Oregon||$291,448|
|4||Joni Jouhkimainen||Helsinki, Finland||$221,304|
|8||Michael Sklenicka||Slani, Czech Republic||$77,158|
|9||Mohammed Jaafar||Miami, Florida||$63,130|
|10||Justin Bonomo||Las Vegas, NV||$49,101|
At the start of the final table all eyes were on the red-hot Justin Bonomo, who won both the Super High Roller Bowl and a World Series of Poker bracelet in recent weeks. Surprisingly, he didn't last long. On just the sixth hand of the final table, he got his medium stack all in with jacks and flipped against the Big Slick of Karim Rebei. The latter turned a king and Bonomo’s day ended quickly.
That hand gave Rebei the chip lead but he lost it soon thereafter when he tried to bluff Plesuv in a monster pot. They were the two chip leaders at the time and Plesuv made a strong call on the river with trip nines on a board that contained both straight and flush possibilities. Plesuv took over the chip lead and never looked back.
Mohammed Jaafar was next to go after getting his short stack in with ace-nine and failing to get there against Christian Rudolph’s pocket jacks, and then Michael Sklenicka followed him out the door in eighth place losing ace-ten to Rebei’s fishhooks.
Thomas Boivin, winner of the 2016 MSPT Venetian for $352,153, exited after shoving the small blind with ace-nine suited and running it smack dab into Yat Chen’s ace-queen in the big. Soon thereafter, Rebei and Plesuv butted heads again when each flopped a set. Plesuv’s aces bested Rebei’s sixes and all the chips went in on the turn. Rebei failed to hit his one outer and was dispatched in sixth place for $126,259.
“I didn’t expect him to have such a strong hand like a set of sixes,” Plesuv would later say. “I thought maybe he had an ace, so it was a brutal cooler for him.”
Rudolph proceeded lose a race with pocket fours against Cheng’s ace-queen and then partypoker Pro Joni Jouhkimainen exited after his king-queen failed to survive Cheng, who once again picked up ace-queen. World Poker Tour champ James Romero then fell when his king-queen lost to Plesuv’s ace-eight.
Heads-up play ended with a classic race when Plesuv five-bet jammed with pocket queens and Cheng called off with Big Slick. The board ran out to give Plesuv quads, and interestingly it was the third year in a row that the victor of the $3,500 Venetian event clinched victory with ladies (Javier Zarco did it in 2017 and Andjelko Andrejevic in 2016).
Among the notable players to cash the tournament were 2018 WSOP bracelet winner Nick Petrangelo (13th - $38,579), and former WSOP Main Event champs Joe McKeehen (42nd - $11,574), Martin Jacobson (63rd - $9,469) and Scott Blumstein (71st - $9,119).
Photos courtesy of MSPT
Editor's Note: Chad Holloway serves as Media Director for the MSPT.