The year of Malaysia continues as yet another High Roller title went to the small country in Asia. Michael Soyza emerged victorious in the 2018 PokerStars European Poker Tour Barcelona opening €10,300 High Roller at Casino Barcelona. Soyza defeated Finland's Kai Lehto in heads-up while PokerStars Team Pro Liv Boeree had to settle for sixth place and a payday of €70,000.
"Four to six, I am not sure how many," Soyza admitted in the interview after his victory when asked how many tournaments he has won in 2018 already, as he comes fresh off a win at the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) in Manila and claimed his biggest payday thus far in the summer in Las Vegas. Soyza took down the record-breaking MSPT DeepStack Championship Poker Series Main Event for $588,249.
It wasn't a smooth ride on his way to the victory for the Malaysian, as he was all the way down to 10 big blinds on Day 1 and quickly lost more than half of his stack on the final day as well. As his key to success in the tournament, Soyza had the following to say:
"I just tried to play the hands the way they are supposed to be played and that worked out. I came in second in chips, but lost some chips pretty quick. But, I was fine with it, the way I played. Some hands you just got to lose."
Soyza considered Orpen Kisacikoglu, Luc Greenwood and Lehto as his toughest opponents and played against Boeree for the first time.
"I think she played really solid, I have not really seen any bad hands. I didn't really adjust, because she played really well."
The plan for the rest of the festival at Casino Barcelona for Soyza is to play the Main Event, the final €10,300 High Roller and some Side Events. Whether or not that will bring him up further in the Malaysian all-time money list, where he currently sits in fifth place, remains to be seen.
"I am not going to try and chase those guys, because they are just nuts. They are buying in for millions and the first prize I win in my tournaments is not even close to a million. This is not a fair competition. That's alright, I just want to play and win. When I stop winning, I stop playing."
Soyza has been tearing up the live circuit in the last two years since focusing on poker and has already accumulated more than $2.3 million in cashes.
"I used to play a lot in college and then I got a job at an investment bank after the university. I started to work a few years to see how much I could earn in a banking job. Unfortunately, in Malaysia, because of the currency, the pay scale is pretty low and in mid 2016 I quit my job and started to play; 2017 was my first year playing full time."
Final Result €10,300 High Roller
|Place||Winner||Country||Prize (in EUR)|
|6||Liv Boeree||United Kingdom||€70,000|
About the Event
The opening €10,300 High Roller of the festival at Casino Barcelona attracted a field of 124 entries including 31 re-entries, creating a prize pool of €1,202,800, and the top 17 spots were paid. Among those to cash prior to the end of Day 2 were such big names as Kenny Hallaert, Mustapha Kanit, Adrian Mateos, Ivan Luca, Daniel Dvoress and Cary Katz.
Action of the Final Day
The day started with a bang when Denys Shafikov called the button shove of Orpen Kisacikoglu and tabled pocket aces, only for Kisacikoglu to flop a set with pocket sevens and reduce the field to the official final table.
Luc Greenwood was the next player to fall when he three-bet shoved with pocket fives. Michael Soyza, who had become one of the shorter stacks at that point, reshoved for slightly more with pocket kings and faded the straight draw of Greenwood to jump back above average.
Defending champion Goran Mandic started with the second-shortest stack and was never able to chip up. Ultimately, he moved all in from the button for just over nine big blinds with queen-deuce suited and Kai Lehto called with king-nine. Both players flopped a pair, Lehto turned two pair and Mandic never spiked the miracle trips to bow out in seventh place.
The next two to run out of chips were Liv Boeree and Dario Sammartino, who were eliminated within just five minutes of each other. Boeree check-called three streets against Soyza with king-ten after flopping top pair and check-called all in on the river to see Soyza turn over king-nine suited for flopped two pair. Sammartino called the button shove of Lehto with ace-king and was not able to hold up against nine-eight suited.
Down to the last four, the average was more than 50 big blinds, yet it didn't take long for the action to accelerate. Start-of-the-day chip leader Bahram Chobineh dropped below a million in chips and eventually called the shove of Soyza on a queen-high river with three hearts, holding pocket fours for a bluff catcher. Soyza had turned the nut straight with jack-ten suited and established a commanding lead three-handed.
From there on out, it was almost all about Soyza and his relentless aggression, and both Kisacikoglu and Lehto fell below a million. Eventually, Kisacikoglu jammed king-eight into king-jack suited blind-on-blind with Lehto and departed in third place. Lehto scooped one big pot with pocket kings in heads-up to narrow the gap to a 1-2 disadvantage, but that was as close as he could get. Eventually, the Finn three-bet all in for 27 big blinds with pocket deuces and Soyza called with ace-eight suited to flop an ace and river a flush.
For Soyza, it was yet another big score in 2018 and the PokerNews live coverage comes to an end in the €10,300 High Roller. More high-stakes action gets underway in fewer than 24 hours with the €100,000 Super High Roller, while Day 2 of the €1,100 National Championship is going on and the €26,000 Charity Event High Roller plays down to a champion.