You might know Mike Watson by his online moniker of "SirWatts", but it doesn't matter if it's online or live poker, Watson is one of the best poker players to ever hail from Canada. The 10-time COOP champion dominated the red-spade branded virtual waters, but Watson recently etched his name in the poker books with an "EPT Double" or a second victory on the prestigious European Poker Tour.
It took Watson seven years to pull off a rare second title. He claimed his first victory at the 2016 PCA in the Bahamas before he returned to the winner's circle with an impressive victory in Monaco with a first-place finish in the 2023 EPT Monte Carlo Main Event championship.
Vicky Coren-Mitchell was the first to pull off dual victories on the European Poker Tour. She won the EPT London back in 2006 and it took her eight years before she followed up with a second EPT win. She became the first two-time EPT champ with a victory at the 2014 EPT San Remo in Italy.
Mikalai Pobal from the Belarus won the 2012 EPT Barcelona for his first title, and then added a second win at the 2019 EPT Prague. Pobal became the second player in history to pull off the rare EPT Double.
There were 1,098 total entries this year, including 323 re-entries, in the €5,300 buy-in EPT Monte Carlo Main Event. Only the top 159 places paid out with most of the cheesecake set aside to the champion.
American pro Jason Wheeler bubbled he final six when he busted in seventh place. The UK's Leo Worthington-Leese headed into the final table with the chip lead and 8.27M. Canada's Mike Watson was right behind the Brit with 8.135M. They had the two biggest stacks at the final table. Norway's Joachim Haraldstad was the token Scandi at the final table, and he was third in chips with 5.1M. Up and coming German pro Leonard Maue began the final table with 4.3M. The two Frenchmen at the final table were short stacks with Samy Boujmala at 3.7M and Arnaud Enselme at 3.4M.
Both shortstacks were the first players to meet their fate. Arnaud Enselme busted in sixth place in a cooler when he made a final stand with pocket tens, but Watson ambushed him from the big blind with pocket Jacks. Enselme was the first player to bid adieu at the final table, and he earned €180,900 for a sixth-place finish.
Samy Boujmala was the last French player standing at the EPT Monte Carlo (and Benjo presented him with the golden baguette for this dubious distinction), but he hit the bricks in fifth place. Boujmala made a final stand with but Worthington-Leese picked him off with . Boujmala busted in fifth place, but took home €235,150.
Norway's Joachim Haraldstad was knocked out on a brutal beat when his . lost to Watson's . Watson flopped trip tens and the Norwegian was sent packing in fourth place. Haraldstad earned €305,750 for his deep run in Monte Carlo.
With three to go, Worthington-Leese found himself as the shorty against Watson and Maue. The Brit got a little frisky and attempted to double up with a diamond flush draw and against Maue's pocket Jacks. Worthington-Leese turned a pair of fives, but whiffed on the river. Maue dragged the pot, and Worthington-Leese was knocked out in third place. The last player from the UK in the tournament secured a third-place payout worth €397,450.
With two players remaining, it came down to a heads-up battle between Canada and Germany to determine the next EPT champion. Watson held a slight chip edge with 17.5M compared to Maue's 15.4M. The two did not waste any time before they agreed to an ICM chop. They left €33,340 on the table to the winner, but agreed to the following deal: Watson (€716,085) and Maue (€697,175).
The final hand was a bit of a doozy. The board was . Maue tanked-shoved for his final 7.5M. Watson also headed into the tank and pondered his next move with . He held just two pair -- tens and sevens -- but decided to call. His instincts were correct, and Maue missed a draw. It wasn't a flush draw with two hearts on the board, but Maue missed a double belly buster with . The German flopped a gutshot draw, but picked up more outs with a Wheel draw on the turn. Alas, Maue missed both draws and he tried to bluff-steal the pot with a river shove. Watson dragged the pot with two pair, and Maue was eliminated in second place.
Maue locked up €697,175 for a runner-up finish. Not too shabby, eh? The score marked the German's largest cash to date.
Watson banked €749,425 for the victory in Monaco. With nearly $19.5 million in live tournament earnings, Watson is now ranked #5 on the all-time Canada money list and moved into #41 overall in the world. The victory at the EPT Monte Carlo marked Watson's fourth-highest cash to date worth approximately $825K in US bucks. He earned a first-place score worth $728,325 when he won the 2016 PCA Main Event.
Among the notable players who went deep and cashed in the 2023 EPT Monte Carlo Main Event included... Jason Wheeler, Ori Hasson, Artur Martirosian, Stefan Huber, Renat Bohdanov, Ramon Colillas, Mark Teltscher, Orpen Kisacikoglu, Parker Talbot, Lars Kamphues, Erik Seidel, Harry Lodge, Paul Newey, Vanessa Kade, Magnus Carlsen, Daniel Dvoress, Arnaud Mattern, Dinesh Alt, Davidi Kitai, Romain Lewis, Sylvain Loosli, Pierre Calamusa, Lukas Zaskodny, Dario Sammartino, Julien Martini, Manig Loeser, Aleksejs Ponakovs, Benjamin Spragg, Pierre Fromage, Enrico Camosci, Marton Czuczor, Maria Lampropulos,and Sam Greenwood.
2023 EPT Monte Carlo Main Event
Prize Pool: €5,325,300
Final Table Results:
1. Mike Watson (Canada) €749,425 **
2. Leonard Maue (Germany) €697,175 **
3. Leo Worthington-Leese (UK) €397,450
4. Joachim Haraldstad (Norway) €305,750
5. Samy Boujmala (France) €235,150
6. Arnaud Enselme (France) €180,900