The $50,000 Super High Roller at the PokerStars European Poker Tour (EPT) Cyprus at Merit Royal Diamond Hotel Casino & Spa was scheduled to be a three-day affair.
After an elongated Day 2, which saw 12 60-minute levels of play and ran deep into the night, it was Spain’s Juan Pardo who took home the trophy and the accompanying $688,560 a day early after a heads-up deal.
Pardo beat fellow Spaniard Vicente Delgado after a relatively short heads up battle. Delgado had to console himself with the $583,400 he received for finishing in second place.
It was Pardo’s first EPT Super High Roller title, with his runner-up finish in the £50,000 Super High Roller at EPT London in 2022 being his previous best result. In order to accomplish this feat, he had to overcome a final table full of familiar faces, with Teun Mulder receiving the bronze medal, and high roller regulars like PokerStars’ Sam Grafton, Leon Sturm, and Quan Zhou also receiving a share of the $2,231,460 prize pool.
EPT Cyprus $50,000 Super High Roller Results
|4||Sam Grafton||United Kingdom||$256,600|
*Denotes heads-up deal
The day started with 25 players still in contention, and seven of them were new entries, of which two fresh faces, Gregoire Auzoux and Biao Ding.
Grafton and Mulder managed to make the final table while having started the day with a fresh stack of 250,000, but the likes of Sam Greenwood, Kayhan Mokri, and Pablo Brito Silva would not be as lucky as they all fizzled out before the final nine. Ding did not manage to do much damage either, while Auzoux busted in ninth place, in a pot that saw Delgado claim the chip lead, to set up the official final table of eight.
Before that happened, poker superstars like Alex Kulev, Joao Vieira, Artur Martirosian, and Steve O’Dywer had long been eliminated in the first few levels of the day.
Names such as Ognyan Dimov, Mikita Badziakouski, and Adrian Mateos made it a bit further into the tournament, but they all exited at the final two tables. The final table was then reached when Maher Nouira was eliminated in tenth place when he lost a flip to Mulder.
Final Table Play
After the aforementioned elimination of Auzoux, it took a while before the next player would be busted, with the players being mindful of the relatively large mincash that would be awarded for finishing in sixth place. However, after the start-of-day chipleader Paulius Plausinaitis, who spent much of the day short-stacked, could not survive his blind-on-blind encounter with then chip leader Delgado, it was Mikalai Vaskaboinikau who ultimately received the dubious honor of bubble boy.
Vaskaboinikay was at one point set to burst the bubble himself when Pardo was at risk with ace-three versus his pocket kings. However, an ace on the flop spoiled Vaskaboinikay’s aspirations and he found himself eliminated mere moments later when his final twelve blinds went in preflop against Zhou and he failed to improve with the lesser hand.
The players then decided to keep playing, but it would take a long time before the first player could go to the payout desk. After a couple of double-ups, Pardo was again at risk of being eliminated, but miraculously enough, he managed to crack pocket kings twice in a row, this time with his sevens against Zhou. Zhou would get it in with the best hand sometime later, but his ace-queen would lose against Mulder’s ace-jack.
Next to go was Sturm, who maintained his short stack for a while throughout the final table. However, he kept the theme of big hands being cracked running when his pocket aces lost against the king-eight of Pardo when the latter turned two pair. Grafton also fell victim to Pardo despite doubling up twice beforehand. In a blind-on-blind encounter, Grafton’s king-four was up against the ace-queen of Pardo, and when neither player made a pair, Grafton took his leave from the tournament.
Pardo Finishes the Job
The prior two eliminations left Pardo with a huge chip lead, having nearly ten million of the 11,500,000 chips in play in his possession. However, both of his short-stacked opponents doubled up several times to prolong the three-handed battle for the Super High Roller title late into the night.
Finally, Mulder bowed out before the heads up as Pardo dealt out yet another bad beat when his ace-nine beat Mulder’s ace-ten when the Spaniard rivered a flush. Pardo started the heads-up with his fellow countryman Delgado, spectated by ten or so other attendees from Spain, with twice as many chips, and he soon increased that lead by a fair margin.
However, Delgado doubled during the first preflop all-in and earned himself a chance for a comeback. Ultimately, though, it would not come to fruition, as not much later, the players went all in preflop for a second time. This time, Pardo’s ace-queen held against the ace-ten of Delgado, awarding him his first-ever EPT Super High Roller title, the beautiful trophy, and the not-so-shabby sum of $688,560.
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