Johan Karlsson Wins the 2020 Kings of Tallinn Main Event (€126,900)

Johan Karlsson

After four days of play, Sweden's Johan Karlsson hoisted the trophy and took home the €126,900 top prize after agreeing to a heads-up deal with Estonia's Ermo Kosk in the 2020 Kings of Tallinn €1,100 Main Event at the Olympic Park Casino and the Hilton Tallinn Park.

The tournament was a massive success. The €500,000 guarantee was smashed after 674 entrants generated a €640,300 prize pool. The entire festival witnessed 5,733 entrants across 40 events and satellites to generate combined prize pools of €2,182,855.

This not only smashed last year's Kings of Tallinn record when Vitalijs Zavorotnijs shipped the event for €85,300 but also was the third biggest poker event of all time in Estonia, only behind the two EPTs stops held in the Estonian capital a decade ago.

Karlsson more than doubled his career cashes with the score and couldn't have been more thrilled about winning.

"Very decent score," said Karlsson to PokerNews. "I am very happy and it feels fantastic!"

Karlsson showcased the most aggression at the final table. This was his plan of attack and stuck with it throughout the day. He shared that his competition was tough at the final table but he found more difficulty navigating through other parts of the tournament.

"There were good players for sure, but I found Day 2 and Day 3 more difficult as I faced more aggressive opponents," said Karlsson. "Today, I could play aggressive and get out of the way a lot."

While Karlsson did indeed put on a show, it wasn't all smooth sailing for the Swede.

"I lost 10 out of 12 flips," said Karlsson about today's final table. "It was very key for me to also win many hands without a showdown."

2020 Kings of Tallinn €1,100 Main Event Final Table Results

PlacePlayerCountryPrizePrize (USD)
1Johan KarlssonSweden€ 126,900*$137,648*
2Ermo KoskEstonia€ 105,000*$113,894*
3Dennis BerglinSweden€ 55,900$60,635
4Renato MessinaItaly€ 42,880$46,512
5Kristian ZittingFinland€ 31,200$33,843
6Daniel BelovEstonia€ 20,800$22,562
7Leo PietilaFinland€ 15,300$16,596
8Johannes ClevenNorway€ 11,140$12,084
9Borge DypvikNorway€ 8,600$9,328

*Denotes heads-up deal at the final table.

2020 Kings of Tallinn Main Event Final Table
2020 Kings of Tallinn Main Event Final Table

Final Day Action

The final day began with nine hopefuls looking to become the sixth-ever Kings of Tallinn Main Event winner and take home what promised to be the biggest prize of the festival to date. Italy's Renato Messina entered the day with the chip lead with Finland's Kristian Zitting and Karlsson not too far behind.

Norway's Borge Dypvik got short on chips before he jammed with jack-nine suited. Karlsson called with tens and Dypvik was the first casualty in the tournament when the board was of no help. Fellow Norwegian Johannes Cleven, Leo Pietila and Daniel Belov followed Dypvik out the door next.

Karlsson took the lead in the early stages but lost four all-in situations in a row to hand the lead to Kosk. At one point five-handed, Kosk had nearly half the chips in play before Karlsson once again regained the lead. After that, Karlsson won a rare flip when he eliminated Kristian Zitting in fifth place after his ace-king got there against tens.

"I lost 10 out of 12 flips. It was very key for me to also win many hands without a showdown."

The eventual champion amassed nearly two-thirds of the chips in play when he eliminated short-stacked Day 3 chip leader Messina in fourth place with jacks versus ace-ten. Berglin and Kosk then wanted to discuss a deal but Karlsson wasn't yet ready.

A short time later, Berglin was eliminated in third place, taking home €55,900. He got it all-in with top pair holding ace-queen and wasn't able to get help on the turn or river after Kosk called with two pair holding queen-three. A deal was then struck between Karlsson and Kosk, both guaranteeing them €105,000 with €21,900 left to play for.

The pair traded the lead back and forth before Karlsson applied the pressure and went on a run. He amassed a nearly 6:1 chip advantage with the help of a massive bluff with three-two suited, going all the way on a board that had no connection to his baby cards.

Soon after, it was all over. Karlsson open-jammed with queen-five and Kosk called off for about 10 big blinds with ten-eight. Both players whiffed the board and Kosk was eliminated in second place for €105,000.

Johan Karlsson, winner of the 2020 Kings of Tallinn Main Event
Johan Karlsson, winner of the 2020 Kings of Tallinn Main Event

While the Kings of Tallinn is now a wrap, there are plenty of other amazing events heading over to the Olympic Park Casino and the Hilton Tallinn Park including the Bounty Poker Tour on March 19-22.

  • The $500,000 guarantee for the Baltic poker event got smashed.

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