After just over 11 hours of play on the final day of the 2023 PokerStars European Poker Tour presented by Monte-Carlo Casino®️, Belarus’ Mikita Badziakouski defeated Ben Heath in heads-up play to take the title in the prestigious €25,000 High Roller and the €938,042 first-place prize after a deal was made.
Badziakouski came into Day 3 in third position and kept his foot on the pedal the whole way to become victorious after a lengthy heads-up battle.
With over $40 Million in live tournament earnings, Badziakouski is no stranger to these high-roller fields. Having just finished runner-up for €1,009,853 a week ago in the €100,000 No Limit Hold'em Super High Roller here in Monte-Carlo, Badziakouski finishes the series with a staggering €1,947,895 in total cashes.
A total of 211 entries joined the field over the first two days of play to create a massive prize pool of €5,066,110, beating last year's numbers by 32 players.
Some of the biggest and best names in poker joined the action which included high-stakes regulars Timothy Adams, Aleksejs Ponakovs, Artur Martirosian, Justin Bonomo, and unfortunate bubble boy Isaac Haxton, who got his stack in with top pair against a gut shot for Badziakouski who hit the river to send Haxton out in 32nd place.
The final 31 players were all guaranteed a minimum cash of €43,550, but with much more to play for. Some notables who were fortunate enough to make a return on their investment included PokerStars Ambassador Sam Grafton (31st - €43,550), Orpen Kisacikoglu (28th - €43,550), Nick Petrangelo (27th - €50,150), Patrik Antonius (23rd - €57,600) and PokerStars’ Alejandro Lococo (17th - €76,200), who managed to spin up a stack of only two big blinds to ladder his way up to a 17th place finish.
EPT Monte Carlo €25,000 High Roller Final Table Results
|4||Steve O'Dwyer||United States||€367,500|
*- denotes final two chop deal
Day 3 Highlights
A total of 21 hopefuls returned to the blue felts on the final day with dreams of a deep run to victory. Lithuania’s Dominykas Mikolaitis came into the day in the chip lead position and maneuvered his stack to the final nine players. Unfortunately for him, he picked up six-five suited in a heads-up pot against Steve O’Dwyer who held king-deuce suited, and when both players rivered a flush, Mikolaitis was sent to the rail in ninth place.
The eight-handed final table got off to a hot start with many big pots going back and forth. The first casualty came when Igor Yaroshevskyy moved in with king-jack but was up against the pocket queens for Enrico Camosci who held up to send Yaroshevskyy out in eighth place.
A short while later, Roman Samoylov was on a short-stack and moved in with queen-ten. Daniel Dvoress made the call with king-jack and when the board flopped two pair for Samoylov but Broadway for Dvoress, it was the end of the road for the Israeli who fell in seventh place.
Dvoress couldn’t continue his run good when he got in a big pot against Badziakouski and committed his whole stack except for a single-5,000 chip. Dvoress got caught bluffing and would make the fold when Badziakouski shoved over the top. Two hands later, Dvoress would hit the rail in sixth place when he couldn’t spin up his one chip.
Five-handed play went on for a while before Felipe Ketzer moved in with ace-ten but was called by the ace-queen for Badziakouski. When the board ran out ace-high it was the better kicker for Badziakouski that took the pot to send Ketzer to the exit in fifth place.
Soon after, O'Dwyer would run into a cooler when he four-bet jammed his 1,800,000 in the middle and was snapped off by Badziakouski with pocket aces. The board didn’t improve either player and O’Dwyer was forced to settle for a fourth-place finish.
Camosci nursed a short stack for much of the final table and was able to stay alive up until three-handed play when he got his last chips in with pocket nines against the jacks for Badziakouski. The flop saw a jack and the rest of the runout was no help to Camosci who finished in third place.
Heads-up play started with Badziakouski having an almost 4-1 chip lead on Heath, and what looked to be a short heads-up match was definitely not the case. Badziakouski started strong, chipping away at Heath and extended the lead to just under 9-1. The turning point for Heath, however, was when he found ace-four against the queen-nine for Badziakouski and scored the double up when all the chips hit the middle preflop.
After another hour of back-and-forth battle, Heath found another double up when he called off his tournament life on an ace-high board with ace-queen and was up against the flush and straight draw for Badziakouski. The river bricked off and Heath took the lead for the first time in the match.
Badziakouski didn't give up and managed to climb his way back to close to even before taking down a massive pot with queen-jack after making the nut-straight on the river. Badziakouski fired a big bet of 2,000,000 and got paid when Heath made the call with a worse holding.
After close to three hours of heads-up play, both players discussed an ICM deal and would flip for the trophy. The dealer dealt out five-four to Heath and three-deuce to Badziakouski. The flop saw a three and when the turn and river didn't match Heath's hand the tournament was over and Badziakouski was the winner.
That wraps up the coverage from the 2023 EPT Monte-Carlo. Be sure to keep it with the PokerNews team throughout the month of May and beyond for live reports from your favorite events all over the world.