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 at 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 that visited 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.
"My plan was to go out hard and put pressure on my opponents," said Karlsson. "I had a good stack to take advantage of this plan to start 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 Final Table Results
|1||Johan Karlsson||Sweden||€ 126,900*||$137,648*|
|2||Ermo Kosk||Estonia||€ 105,000*||$113,894*|
|3||Dennis Berglin||Sweden||€ 55,900||$60,635|
|4||Renato Messina||Italy||€ 42,880||$46,512|
|5||Kristian Zitting||Finland||€ 31,200||$33,843|
|6||Daniel Belov||Estonia||€ 20,800||$22,562|
|7||Leo Pietila||Finland||€ 15,300||$16,596|
|8||Johannes Cleven||Norway||€ 11,140||$12,084|
|9||Borge Dypvik||Norway||€ 8,600||$9,328|
*Reflect heads-up deal at the 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.
The lead bounced around several times between the aforementioned trio before the first elimination of the day took place.
Norway's Borge Dypvik (ninth - €8,600) 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.
After the hand, Karlsson regained the lead before the other Norwegian at the final table in Johannes Cleven (eighth - €11,140) followed Dypvik out the door. Cleven jammed a short stack with king-nine suited and didn't get there after Sweden's Dennis Berglin called with jacks.
Finland's Leo Pietila was never able to amass chips at the final table. Eventually, time ran out for him in seventh place for €15,300 after he jammed a short stack with ten-seven and didn't hold against Kosk's five-three suited. Despite not making it to the podium, it was an improvement on Pietila's 10th place finish in the Kings of Tallinn event last year.
Karlsson increased his chip stack to have a 2:1 advantage over his nearest competitor before the run bad kicked in. He lost four all-in situations in a row including two to Messina and one each to Berglin and Kosk.
Kosk regained the lead before extending it further after eliminating Estonia's Daniel Belov in sixth place for €20,800. Kosk jammed tens in the small blind and won a flip after Belov called with big slick from the big blind.
At one point five-handed, Kosk had nearly half the chips in play before Karlsson once again regained the captain's seat.
After that, Karlsson won a rare flip when he eliminated Kristian Zitting in fifth place for €31,200 after his ace-king got there against tens.
Karlsson amassed nearly two-thirds of the chips in play when he eliminated the short-stacked Day 3 chip leader Messina in fourth place for €42,880. Messina shoved the button with ace-ten suited. Kosk called with jacks and won the hand. Berglin held eights in the big blind and somehow found a fold to ladder up.
Berglin and Kosk wanted to discuss a deal but Karlsson wasn't yet ready.
A short time later, Berglin was eliminated in third place for €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.
Karlsson had a small chip advantage going into heads-up play and the players took a break and agreed on a deal where they were both guaranteed €105,000 with the winner going home with an additional €21,900.
Kosk was able to take the lead early on in heads-up play and had a 2:1 chip advantage before Karlsson roared back to take a 3:1 chip advantage.
Kosk battled back to regain the lead before once again Karlsson applied the pressure and went on a run. Karlsson amassed a nearly 6:1 chip advantage with the help of a massive bluff with three-two suited on three streets of betting despite missing the board
Soon after, the tournament was in the books. 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.
In addition to winning the Main Event, Karlsson also led his team to a win in the team competition alongside a trio of Finns including Veli-Pekka Penttinen, Tapio Vihakas, and Niko Pakalen. The four players will share the top prize of €24,616.
Finishing runner-up in the team competition for €8,205 were 2017 Kings of Tallinn Main Event winner Matias Knaapinen, 2020 Kings of Tallinn Main Event final tablist Leo Pietila, Torsti Kettula, and Antti Karkkainen.
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.
Stay tuned as PokerNews provides coverage to major events around the world.