Jakub Michalak Puts on a Grand Performance in the Merit Poker Carmen Series High Roller

Jakub Michalak

In a performance worthy of the stage at the Bolshoi or the Met, Jakub Michalak made quick work of the final table to win the Merit Poker Carmen Series High Roller title.

The Polish pro defeated a field of 145 entries to earn $174,500. And he did it in dominating fashion, controlling nearly 80 percent of the chips in play during three-handed action and quickly vanquishing runner-up Halil Tasyurek in heads-up. It was the type of run that Michalak could only dream of.

“I could, but not in this way. I was running so good it was unbelievable,” he said after his victory.

Michalak is no stranger to high-roller success. He won a Merit Poker High Roller in Montenegro in February 2022, a run he compares to this one. “Yeah, actually I did in a high roller in Montenegro where three-handed I also had like 90 percent of the chips. But it’s still unbelievable. Literally unbelievable when you run like that. Crazy,” he said.

Michalak is a familiar face at the Merit Crystal Cove Hotel and Casino in North Cyprus. This tournament marked his 32nd cash in a Merit Poker event and 15th final table. He had previously won a $5,000 High Roller in March 2019 for $122,297 and finished third in the Merit Poker Retro Series Main Event in 2022 for $233,050. The idyllic setting by the shores of the Mediterranean feels like a perfect spot for him to chase his poker dreams.

“Look at it. The food is amazing. The place is amazing. The atmosphere is amazing. The venue is amazing. Why wouldn’t you come here? It’s literally my favorite place to play poker in the world,” he said.

“I just love the game. I love to compete against all these players. It just brings me a lot of joy and fulfillment. I really love this game. So winning a tournament is the best thing I can imagine for me.”

Final Table Results

1Jakub MichalakPoland$174,500
2Halil TasyurekTurkey$123,100
3Daniel HenriquesPortugal$80,200
4Milos SkrbicSerbia$57,400
5Renan BruschiBrazil$43,100
6Bojan BerberovicMontenegro$34,500
7Andrei SpataruRomania$28,500
8Marcin DziubdzielaPoland$22,900
9Rachid El-YaacoubiFrance$17,100

Day 3 Action

Day 3 began with 30 players remaining out of a starting field of 145. Just 17 would make the money, and the likes of Simone Andrian, Razvan Belea, and Florian Guimond all fell early. Maxime Chilaud was eliminated when he ran into Michalak’s aces.

Michel Habib busted in a cooler when Tasyurek spiked a set of nines on the turn to crack his tens and send him out two spots off the money. Daniel Kyosev was then eliminated on the bubble after being down to less than one big blind.

Day 1 chip leader Dawid Smolka (17th) and Christophe Panetti (16th) were the first to fall in the money. Dmitrii Kuzin ran his ace-queen into Milos Skrbic’s ace-king to finish in 15th while Skrbic took the chip lead.

Alessandro Pichierri (14th) and Traian Stanciu (13th) departed next before Jenya Gavrilovich went through a downfall in two hands. First, Bojan Berberovic made a full house to double up and leave Gavrilovich with just 15,000. Forced all in the next hand in the blinds, Roman Stoica finished him off and sent him out in 12th.

Jenya Gavrilovich
Jenya Gavrilovich

Stoica was then eliminated when Renan Bruschi rivered a flush to climb past 3,000,000 and into the chip lead. Bruschi also eliminated Mikhail Zavoloka on the final table bubble by flopping a flush.

Bruschi led at the start of the nine-handed final table with 3,200,000, while Michalak was in second with 2,800,000. Rachid El-Yaacoubi, who was involved in some controversy earlier in the day after being accused of chip dumping and receiving a penalty, had most of his stack in the middle from the big blind on the first hand and Michalak took him out with two pair.

Andrei Spataru doubled up off Skrbic with ace-queen, then Daniel Henriques spiked a three to beat Bruschi’s ace-jack and double. Then came the hand that began Michalak’s march to the title.

Marcin Dziubdziela moved all in for 600,000 in early position. Spataru reshoved for 900,000 in middle position and Michalak snap-called in the big blind with pocket queens. Spartaru had jacks but was down to just one out as Dziubdziela had queen-jack. Michalak busted both players, Dziubdziela taking eighth and Spataru seventh, as he climbed up near 5,000,000.

Andrei Spataru
Andrei Spataru

Tasyurek picked up nines to double off Berberovic, and the start-of-day chip leader was eliminated a few hands later in sixth place when Tasyurek made a full house. Michalak eliminated Bruschi in fifth place with ace-nine against ace-five.

Michalak then raised to 360,000 in the small blind, and Skrbic called to a six-high flop. Michalak led out for 280,000, Skrbic moved all in for 2,300,000, and Michalak called with aces. Skrbic had a pair and straight draw but missed his outs to hit the rail in fourth while Michalak took the massive pot.

Milos Skrbic
Milos Skrbic

Tasyurek won a race with king-queen to nines to bust Henriques in third as Michalak led 11,500,000 to 3,000,000 at the start of heads-up. It took just a few hands before Tasyurek limped in, Michalak jammed, and Tasyurek called for 2,500,000 with ace-five. Michalak had a dominating ace-nine, and Tasyurek found no help on the board and had to settle for a second-place finish.

Just like that, the final table was over in a flash. Michalak had the trophy, the first-place prize money, and the prestige of taking down some of the world’s best players. He always imagined a final-table run like this, and today, his dreams became a reality.

That concludes PokerNews’ coverage of the Merit Poker Carmen Series High Roller. Stay tuned for more coverage throughout the festival.

  • Check out the recap from the Merit Poker Carmen Series High Roller, which Jakub Michalak won.

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