Sometimes a poker tournament has an amazing narrative heading into the final table. The best stories write themselves. In this instance, two players were on a collision course of history. Mikalai Pobal and Norbert Szecsi got heads-up for a million Euros and a shot at history. When the dust settles, Pobal won the cool million and became only the second two-time winner in European Poker Tour history.
Victoria Coren was the only player in EPT history to win multiple events when she won the EPT San Remo in 2014. She originally shipped her first EPT back in 2006 with the EPT London. No one else had achieved that rare, yet epic feat. Well, until now. Mikalai Pobal pulled off the dual EPT score with a win back in 2012 at the EPT Barcelona and again to cap off 2019 with the EPT Prague, hosted at the swank Hilton in Prague, Czech Republic.
The 2019 EPT Prague included several events including the €10K High Roller, The National, and a pair of €25K High Rollers.
French pro Alexandre Reard shipped the National for €342,810. Not too shabby, eh?
Malaysia's Chin Wei Lim took down the first €25K High Roller fo a score worth $420K USD.
Meanwhile, Sam Greenwood defeated Steve O'Dwyer heads-up to win the other €25K High Roller for a €385K score.
The marquee EPT Prague Main Event had a €5,300 price tag and attracted 1,154 runners. Only the top 167 places paid out with a cool million Euros set aside for the champ. The top five places would bank over $250K USD.
The final nine included Gab Yong Kim, Dietrich Fast, Laurent Michot, Luke Marsh, Tomas Paiva, Gaby Livshitz, Ricardo Da Rocha, Norbert Szecsi, and Mikalai Pobal. Nine different countries were represented at this particular final table.
German pro Dietrich Fast's deep run ended in eighth place. UK's Luke Marsh bowed out in sixth place.
Portugal's Tomas Paiva hit the road in fifth place, which paid out €241K. Gaby Livshitz, from Israel, went super deep but busted in fourth place.
Brazil's Ricardo De Rocha busted in third place, which paid out €421K. With his elimination, it set up the heavyweight bout between Norbert Szecsi and Mikalai Pobal.
Szecsi won two WSOP bracelets and crushed local cash games for years. He had never won an EPT title, then again, no one from Hungary had stepped into the winner's circle. He was hoping to become the first Hungarian EPT champ. Alas, he'd have to wait another day to achieve that lofty goal.
Instead, Belarus claimed another title and Pobal claimed his second EPT title and etched his name in the history books.
Norbert Szecsi banked a shade under €600K for second place, or $66K in US bucks. Not too shabby, eh?
Meanwhile, Mikalai Pobal earned a first place payout worth a tad over €1 million, or approximately $1.11 million. Ship it to Belarus! Heck of a way to end the year and heck of a way to end the decade.
2019 WSOP Main Event champion, Hossein Ensan, cashed in 28th place.
Notables who cashed in the event included... Gaelle Baumann, Luigi Shehadeh, Sorin Flutur, Stefan Jedlicka, Pierre Calamusa, Orpen Kisacikoglu, Roman Herold, Sylvain Loosli, Bryn Kenney, Bart Lybaert, Dario Sammartino, Thomas Boivin, Mustafa Biz, Tom Vogelsang, Michael Soyza, Stephen Chidwick, Timothy Adams, Juan Pardo, Erwann Pecheux, Steve O'Dwyer, Davidi Kitai, Paul Newey, Vojtech Ruzicka, Yehuda Cohen, Kalidou Sow, Bruno Lopes, Espen Uhlen Jorstad, Simon Burns, Fabian Gumz, Simon Burns, Christian Alessi, Natalie Teh, Adrian Mateos, Xia Lin, Ivan Deyra, Jan Bendik, and Panagiotis Oikonomou.
2019 EPT Prague
Prize Pool: €5,596,900
Final Table Results:
1. Mikalai Pobal (Belarus) €1,005,600
2. Norbert Szecsi (Hungary) €598,880
3. Ricardo Da Rocha (Brazil) €421,450
4. Gaby Livshitz (Israel) €316,780
5. Tomas Paiva (Portugal) €241,230
6. Luke Marsh (United Kingdom) €177,420
7. Laurent Michot (France) €134,610
8. Dietrich Fast (Germany) €96,100
9. Gab Yong Kim (South Korea) €74,770