PokerStars Festival Rozvadov: Kuzmanovic wins the High Roller as Malec is pipped at the post

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The battle to crown the winner of the PokerStars Festival High Roller has ended - and what a battle it's been. The title has been taken by Croatian Boris Kuzmanovic, who scoops both the trophy and a €37,791 portion of the €228,920 prize-pool.

But how did we get here?

At the beginning of the day just 29 of the 118-starting field remained. At the time the field was led by Russia's Daniil Kiselev who made it to the final two tables before busting in 14th. He was closely followed by Day 1 dominator, Randy 'nanonoko' Lew, who ended up only just scraping into the money by mid-afternoon.

But at least he made it.

Some of the unfortunate folk that didn't include former November-niner Pierre Neuville who was unable to make it past the first half of Day 1 despite firing multiple bullets. The winner of the King's High Roller Vladimir Troyanovskiy and his heads-up opponent Eugene Katchalov didn't fare any better either as the dynamic-duo both exited early.

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Nanonoko scraped into the money

The eventual money bubble came earlier this afternoon - and it was a dramatic one. It saw three all-in's on the four remaining tables in the first hand-for-hand. Sebastian Malec was one of them, and although his shove didn't receive a call - the two short-stacks on the other table did and were unable to hold. This saw the remaining 22 reduce to 20 and we played down to the final table.

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Who would be champ?

Of the eight that made it through to the final table, Zoltan Ban was the first to hit the rail. Following an open for over half his short-stack he was more-or-less priced in to call any raise. It came in the form of a re-shove from chip-leader Anestis Anagnostidis whose A♥K♥ dominated Ban's A♦J♦ and held.

The two remaining short stacks Robert Zipf and Pietro Errante were next to go in quick succession. It was Malec who claimed both of their pots to send the German and the Italian home for €9,126 and €12,032 respectively.

It wasn't until a good hour later that the next victim would fall. This time it was the turn of Michael Uguccioni who shoved in the big blind against Aviv Meiri's open. After briefly checking his stack Meiri called. His A♠J♦ dominated Uguccioni's A♦T♥ as he walked away with a €15,863 payday.

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Agony for Anagnostidis

No-one likes coming in 4th - there's no medal for 4th. But for Anestis Anagnostidis there was a decent consolation prize of €20,914. His unfortunate bust out come from a shove with A♦K♠ which was called by monster-stack Aviv Meiri in the big blind. The board ran 5♠4♠4♥ for a big sweat for the Greek. It was all over on the 7♠ turn however, before the final nail in the coffin the Q♠ hit on the river.

At three handed play the clock was paused for players to discuss a deal. After a short discussion, the trio agreed to split the money as follows:

Sebastian Malec: €37,637
Aviv Meiri: €36,428
Boris Kuzmanovic: €34,791

This left a further €3,000 up-top and the very big and very shiny High Roller trophy still to play for.

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Despite leading the field both in chips and the pay-outs, it was EPT13 Barcelona Main Event Champ Sebastian Malec who exited next. The Pole moved all in from the big blind for around 900,000 after a button raise from Boris Kuzmanovic. Kuzmanovic quickly called with a bigger stack and turned over A♦K♥. Malec tamely turned over Q♦J♥. The board of J♠4♣2♥K♣A♥ wasn't good enough to save him as he hit the rail in third place.

Heads-up and with a big boost to his stack following his knock-out of Malec, Kuzmanovic led the heads up by over a million chips.

And the battle began.

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Powering through, even with the classic Poker shoulder injury

First Kuzmanovic was the aggressor. With blinds 40,000/80,000 he raised to 175,000 which Meiri called. The flop of A♥7♠4♥ prompted a check-call from Meri to a bet of 150,000 and a turn-bet of 275,000 on the [10d] turn. You could see it coming from a mile away when Kuzmanovic put the rest of it all in the middle. "I have a big hand, but your kicker beats mine. I should have pushed on the flop".

Then it was Meiri's turn to double when he shoved his last 540,000 to Kuzmanovic's call.

"Sometimes you need a little luck" joked Meri.

But ultimately, he wasn't going to get it.

The final hand saw Kuzmanovic raise to 175,000 on the button which prompted a shove from Aviv Meiri for just over one million chips. And he was called.

Aviv Meiri turned over A♠Q♥ and Kuzmanovic the J♣J♠.

Kuzmanovic held and is one of the lucky few to be crowned a PokerStars Festival High Roller Champion.

Congratulations sir!

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High Roller champ Boris Kuzmanovic

PokerStars Festival Rozvadov High Roller

Buy-in: €2,200
Players: 118
Total prize pool: €228,920

1Boris Kuzmanovic€37,791*
2Aviv Meiri€36,428*
3Sebastian Malec€37,637*
4Anestis Anagnostidis€20,914
5Michael Uguccioni€15,863
6Pietro Errante Parrino€12,032
7Robert Zipf€9,126
8Zoltan Ban€6,922

*deal made

Dan Jones
@PokerStars in Live Poker