The first highlight event of the 2021 partypoker LIVE MILLIONS North Cyprus festival has crowned a champion at the five-star Merit Crystal Cove Hotel Casino & Spa in Girne, North Cyprus. It was a marathon day of more than 13 hours that whittled down the final 12 hopefuls out of a field of 745 entries to a winner in the $2,200 Warm Up as the biggest slice of the $1,370,800 prize pool was awarded.
In the early morning hours, Lithuania's Mantas Nanartavicius celebrated the victory after defeating Bulgaria's Fahredin Mustafov in heads-up. Both had been part of an ICM deal that also included eventual third-place finisher Ionel Anton and the trio left the trophy and $24,000 to play for. After a topsy-turvy heads-up duel, satellite winner Nanartavicius came out on top and earned the top prize of $210,912.
Runner-up Mustafov recorded his seventh final table in a Merit Poker Event with a buy-in above $1,000 since 2019 and had to settle for a consolation prize of $156,293 while Anton earned $158,318 for his efforts. The final day also featured French online poker streamer Johan "YoH ViraL" Guilbert and Artur Martirosian, the latter of which fell in 11th place.
Final Result 2021 partypoker LIVE MILLIONS North Cyprus $2,200 Warm Up
|Place||Winner||Country||Prize (in USD)|
|8||Jim Sue Pan||Netherlands||$33,035|
*includes ICM deal of the final three players with $24,000 awarded to the winner
Guilbert Dominates the Early Stages
The final day saw 12 contenders return to their seats and two six-handed tables brought plenty of action from the start. Karolis Ciudaras became the first casualty and Johan Guilbert was on the verge of being the next player out. However, the Frenchman doubled through Jim Sue Pan and then soared into the lead after doubling through Georges Hanna with aces versus kings.
At the same time on the feature table, Silma Macalou hit a fortunate flush in a three-way all-in to escape from elimination and Artur Martirosian bowed out in 11th place after his pocket jacks ended up third-best. While Hanna was the odds on favourite to bubble the nine-handed final table with fewer than two big blinds, he got there twice on the river. Instead, it was Gregoire Auzoux who finished in 10th place and Guilbert entered the final table with the lead.
Matthieu Chan didn't find any spot to run up his short stack and fell in 9th place when Jim Sue Pan held the superior kicker with ace-ten versus ace-seven and made broadway. From there on, things didn't go smoothly for Pan who doubled Macalou and Hanna to become the shortest stack and subsequently bust next. While Guilbert was the first player to reach 20 million in chips, the Frenchman couldn't keep up the momentum and dropped back into the middle of the pack.
Nanartavicius Finds Premium Pairs
Premium pairs then played a pivotal role for the outcome of the tournament and Nanartavicius had the best of it in the grand scheme of things. First he picked up back-to-back kings to bust Kush Kataria. Guilbert then found kings but Mustafov's ace-king turned the superior pair. Soon after, the most remarkable hand unfolded in which all remaining five players held pocket pairs. Nanartavicius had an easy call with aces in the big blind when facing the shove by Hanna with fours and the call by Ionel Anton with kings.
That triple up vaulted the Lithuanian into the comfortable lead but he wasn't necessarily able to capitalise on it. Macalou failed to hold with a pair against the suited ace rag of Nanartavicius and three-handed play eventually resulted in a three-way deal. Anton became short and busted soon after but the heads-up duel carried on for more than one and a half hours with numerous double ups until the champion was finally crowned.
The next highlight of the ongoing festival is the $10,500 High Roller, which has attracted a field of 101 players and 40 re-entries so far. One level of late registration remains and the high-stakes contest will play down to a winner on Wednesday, September 22. The very same day will also feature the start of the 2021 MILLIONS North Cyprus $5,300 Main Event, for which the PokerNews team will provide exclusive updates.