The 2018 888poker LIVE Festival London has determined a champion in the £2,200 High Roller and it was Lithuania's Matas Cimbolas, who eventually posed for the winner shots. Cimbolas came out on top of a 74-entry strong field, which consisted of 59 unique players and 15 re-entries. The guaranteed prize pool was nearly tripled and the top nine spots took home a portion of the £146,520 prize pool.
On the way to crowning a champion in the most expensive tournament of the festival in the heart of London, two deals were cut. One emerged on the money bubble with nine players remaining, and £2,000 were put aside to the 9th place finisher, which happened to be Martin Donoghue. Furthermore, no hand of heads-up was played, as Paul Hizer departed in third place and Cimbolas then shook hands with Tom Hall at 2.30 a.m. local time.
"It was like a home game, everybody knew everyone," Cimbolas said in the interview with PokerNews after the winner shots were taken care of, referring to the final table line up, and the relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Once Hizer had been eliminated in third place, Hall and Cimbolas agreed to ICM numbers.
The trophy was awarded to the chip leader at the time and that was Cimbolas, while Hall forfeited his chance to win another 888poker LIVE trophy, having won the £1,100 Main Event here at Aspers Casino in the previous year. Cimbolas just had another reason to celebrate as he got engaged two weeks ago, falling on his knees "right on the beach at the Bahamas" to ask the important question. His fiancé was on the rail to watch the poker action in London from nearby.
Final Result £2,200 High Roller
|Winner||Place||Country||Prize (in GBP)||Prize (in USD)|
|2||Tom Hall||United Kingdom||£37,515*||$47,951|
|3||Paul Hizer||United Kingdom||£20,000||$25,560|
|5||Gerald Ringe||United Kingdom||£11,000||$14,058|
|7||Christopher Kyriacou||United Kingdom||£6,500||$8,307|
|8||Carlos Sanchez Diaz||Spain||£4,000||$5,114|
|9||Martin Donoghue||United Kingdom||£2,000||$2,557|
*includes deal of the last two players
Action of the Day
Day 1 had wrapped up with 61 entries and another 13 players joined the action before the cards went back in the air for the final day. Among them were also the 888poker ambassadors Parker Talbot and Dominik Nitsche, the former busted only four minutes into Day 2 while Nitsche's run came to an end just before the unofficial final table was set.
Other early casualties included Jack Sinclair, Orpen Kisacikoglu, Michael Mizrachi, Martin Jacobson and Ludovic Geilich. Jacobson ended up second-best with ace-seven suited against the ace-king of Pascal Pflock. The rise of Matas Cimbolas started with four tables remaining when the Lithuanian had Ian Hunter and Philip Ward at risk. Hunter held pocket eights and Ward ace-queen suited, Cimbolas was miles ahead with pocket aces. Hunter spiked a set right in the window, but the case ace followed to give Cimbolas top set and the double knockout in dramatic fashion.
With 30 minute levels until the final table, the eliminations kept pouring in quickly and notables such as Manig Loeser, 888poker ambassador Chris Moorman, Conor Beresford, and Chris Da-Silva were left empty-handed without anything to show for. Martin Donoghue doubled into the lead when he flopped a full house against the trips of Vadim Cojocaru and Tom Hall doubled twice in quick succession, then sent Harry Lodge to the rail.
Jonathan Clark ran twice into pocket jacks to bow out and 888poker ambassador Dominik Nitsche made a move with eight-seven suited and a gutshot to bust against the ace-six of Thomas Muehloecker. Kalidou Sow got it in with queen-nine suited against the ace-nine of Gerald Ringe and the latter flopped top two pair to set up the unofficial final table.
Once the bubble deal was made, Tom Hall skyrocketed into the lead with pocket kings versus pocket tens. Martin Donoghue raised and called the three-bet by Hall, then check-shoved a nine-high flop to be left with crumbs. From there on, Hall remained at the top of the counts until the final three players remained and witnessed the departures of Donoghue, Carlos Sanchez Diaz, Christopher Kyriacou, Thomas Muehloecker, and Gerald Ringe.
Four-handed play lasted for quite some time and it was Pascal Pflock that had to settle for 4th place. Pflock doubled Paul Hizer with king-jack versus pocket fours and the very same hand haunted the German soon after when he couldn't beat the ace-queen of Hizer. Cimbolas scored a crucial double with five-four suited against Hall, who only held ace-four and the nutflush blocker. Hall was left short after that hand and jammed king-five into the pocket jacks of fellow short stack Hizer. A king on the turn sent Hizer out in 3rd and the ICM deal ended the tournament minutes later.
While the £2,200 High Roller has already determined a champion, the highlight of the festival just kicked off. Day 1a of the £1,100 Main Event attracted a field of 97 entries and 23 players survived the first of five starting days. The PokerNews team will be on the floor to provide all the action until the end.