Pauli Ayras Wins €25,000 High Roller at the Patrik Antonius Poker Challenge (€163,300)
The first-ever Patrik Antonius Poker Challenge (PAPC) in the Olympic Park Casino in Tallinn had its biggest tournament on tap with the €25,000 High Roller. The buy-in was off the charts for Estonian proportions, easily eclipsing the country's previous all-time high of €10,300 set by the EPT Tallinn High Roller in 2010.
Ayras defeated Holland's rising star Teun Mulder heads-up to claim the first-place prize of €163,300. Mulder received €122,400 for finishing second. Germany's high-stakes juggernaut Koray Aldemir finished in third (€81,600), while Tommie Janssen was the fourth and final player to cash (€40,870). Timothy Adams bubbled the event after buying in twice.
2019 PAPC €25,000 High Roller Results
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"It was nice to win. I played really solid all day," Ayras told PokerNews. "Nothing really crazy happened before heads-up play."
"It was nice to win. I played really solid all day."
"The heads-up player was a really tough player from Holland. I think he was one of the best players in this tournament," he added in praise of runner-up Mulder.
"Still, I just feel I was one step ahead of him at all times and figured out what he was doing."
Ayras is no stranger when it comes to 25K's. He finished second in the €25,000 EPT Barcelona High Roller last year, finishing ahead of the likes of David Peters and Alex Foxen. It delivered him a career-high score of €256,000. Today, he added a second six-figure ship and his first live poker title on top of it.
2019 PAPC €25,000 High Roller Action of the Day
Six players kicked off the biggest buy-in tournament ever in Estonia around 2 p.m., and ultimately a total of 17 entries were made. Notable players such as Robert Mizrachi, Joris Ruijs, James Romero, and Dan "Jungleman" Cates all tried their luck but to no avail.
For Antonius himself, it became a dreadful day at the tables. The star of the show bought in no fewer than four times and found himself on the receiving end of some nasty coolers and bad beats multiple times. Antonius wasn't able to spin up his fourth and final attempt, leaving him empty-handed for the day. It was Ayras who caught fire against Antonius right off the bat, making an early double-up at the Finn's expense when the latter called off pocket queens on a board containing two eights. Ayras held a third eight in his hole cards to take most of Antonius' first batch of chips.
The pocket queens would end up becoming Antonius' bane throughout the day, as the tournament's star also lost the majority of his second buy-in with pocket queens, this time after getting two-outered by pocket eights. On bullet three, he was out in mere minutes after shipping queens into kings. On his fourth and final attempt, being short, Antonius shoved all in with queen-eight suited, only to run into queens himself this time. Cruelly, the ladies held up, and Antonius was forced to watch any subsequent action in his own event from the rail.
High-stakes regular Timothy Adams bubbled after open-shoving over twenty big blinds in a blind on blind situation against Ayras. The Canadian held king-queen but couldn't defeat Ayras' ace-queen and became the last player to leave empty-handed.
Runner-up Mulder dipped his feet for the first time in a €25,000 event, and it became a fruitful affair for the 24-year old from The Hague, Netherlands. It's not the first time Mulder has tasted success in Tallinn; two months ago, the Dutchman won the €2,200 High Roller at the Kings of Tallinn festival in the same casino. Upon winning, he also received a free package for the €1,500 PAPC Main Event as an added bonus, and the return journey has already paid off big time before the Main Event is even underway.
The Dutchman held the chip lead for the majority of the final table, but ultimately had to bow to Ayras heads-up. Despite it being his first-ever 25K, Mulder's calm and composed nature kept any visible excitement under wraps.
"Admittedly, I found it exciting, but overall, I wasn't very nervous. I knew what I had to do," Mulder said to PokerNews afterwards. "But with this being my first 25k event, I'm truly happy; happy that I finished second. It was just a bummer that I lost the heads-up while starting out with the chip lead. But still, I'm very happy, overall."
Mulder credited Poker Ambition, a poker team coached by several high stakes Dutch players, as one of the underlying factors of his success.
"My coaches are working very hard and are extremely professional; I've already learned a lot from them. There were definitely a few concepts that came into play today," Mulder said in praise of his team.
The PAPC also celebrates the launch of the FLOP app (First Land of Poker), which is still shrouded in some mystery. The launch of this app will be on Friday, April 5, and more details will be revealed by then. Check back regularly on PokerNews for all the latest live from the first-ever Patrik Antonius Poker Challenge at the Olympic Park Casino in Tallinn, Estonia.
The PAPC continues with the first of two starting days of the €1,500 PAPC Main Event. The €10,200 PAPC Championship will commence on Saturday, April 6, and both events will play down to a winner on Sunday, April 7. Follow along with the PAPC Live Updates in the PokerNews Live Reporting section.
Photos by René Velli