PokerStars Festival Rozvadov: Troyanovskiy defeats Katchalov heads up to claim King's High Roller title
What were you doing at 4:30am this morning? Chances are you were tucked up between the sheets, with the soothing sounds of poker chip ruffling quietly still playing on the stereo hours after it helped you doze off.
For two of Eastern Europe's biggest poker stars, 4:30am looked a little different. At around 2am in Rozvadov, Russia's Vladimir Troyanovskiy and Ukraine's Eugene Katchalov found themselves heads up in the €5,300 King's High Roller - the largest buy-in event of this PokerStars Festival. Their chip stacks were virtually even, and they hatched a deal that meant they would chop the first and second place prizes down the middle, but leave €2,000 and the trophy for the winner.
You'd think play would be over shortly after that, right? What's another €2K to a high roller? Well, it turns out you can't put a price on victory, and you certainly can't chop a trophy. The two battled on for a further two and a half hours, swapping the chip lead back and forth. But finally, it was the Russian who prevailed.
At 4:30am, Troyanovskiy took it down for €52,208, while Katchalov finished in second for €50,972.
Rewinding to the beginning of Day 2, just 15 players returned as Day 1 survivors, and it was Troyanovskiy himself who held the overnight chip lead. Team PokerStars Pro Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier came in as the short stack, and would bust in just the second hand of the day. It was Troyanovskiy who busted him - his big slick beating ElkY's pocket queens - and that became the precedent of the day: Troyanovskiy busts [insert name here].
Pierre Neuville fell, as did local star Martin Kabrhel, and before you knew it we were down to seven. Martin Staszko and Jonas Lauck were still in, and with only six places paid the pressure was on.
Of course, every tournament needs a bubble boy, and the man who found himself in that excrutiating position here was Viliyan Petleshkov. To make matters worse, Petleshkov was one of only a few to have fired multiple into this thing. In fact, he was the only player to fire three! He entered and re-entered on Day 1, and then fired a final bullet at the beginning of Day 2, but found himself short all the way through. Eventually, with seven left and on the stone bubble, he shoved from the cutoff for around 40,000 over a 13,000 open from Vladimir Troyanovskiy, and the Russian made a quick call.
Petleshkov had the A♣J♠, but that was dominated by Troyanovskiy's A♠K♠. The board ran out K♥9♦8♠Q♠5♦ to send the Bulgarian packing, with no prize.
Now safely in the money, Martin Staszko was the first to fall, eliminated in sixth place for €12,560. After Eugene Katchalov opened to 13,000 on the button, Tomas Soderstrom put in a three-bet to 41,000 in the small blind. Stazsko took a glance at his holding before shoving, forcing a quick fold from Katchalov and an even quicker call from Soderstrom.
Stazsko had a great big blind hand - the A♦Q♦. However, Soderstrom had the A♣K♠ and the J♣5♦2♠3♠2♦ board kept the big slick in front.
Five handed play went for a decent stretch of time before Andreas Eiler met his demise. Action folded to Eiler in the small blind and he shoved for his last 92,000, only for Troyanovskiy to wake up with a big blind monster: the Q♦Q♠. Eiler was drawing very thin with his J♦4♣, but the A♣T♥4♠ gave him some hope. However, the board ran out 3♥A♠ and he Eiler was gone in fifth for €16,150.
Germany's Jonas Lauck would fall in fourth. After getting a shove through, Lauck shoved again but this time Katchalov re-jammed over the top. That got everyone else to fold, and it was Lauck's pocket fives up against Katchalov's pocket eights. Troyanovskiy admitted he'd folded a five, and indeed the one outer didn't come for Lauck. He hit the cage to collect his €20,640.
Not long after that we lost Tomas Soderstrom in third. He was pretty short - down to just ten blinds - and jammed on the button. Troyanovskiy called from the small blind with the A♣T♥, which was ahead of Soderstrom's K♠9♣. An ace on the flop kept Troyanovskiy out in front, and secured him the pot. Soderstrom won €26,920, and Troyanovskiy eliminated yet another player.
And then there were two. At one point in the heads up battle Katchalov had a 2:1 chip lead, but Troyanovskiy managed to double up the A♥6♥ versus 8♣8♥ after a A♦9♣3♥K♥A♣ runout. The two were then even in chips and it was a bit like watching tennis: back and forth, back and forth.
As we said, though, you can't chop the trophy. Someone had to win it, and it was just Troyanovskiy's day. Katchalov had got short and jammed with the 9♣8♣, and Troyanovskiy made the call with the Q♦J♦. The flop fell T♦9♦7♥, giving Troyanovskiy an up-and-down straight flush draw, and Katchalov middle pair and an up-and-down straight draw of his own. The turn was the 2♦, leaving Katchalov drawing dead, followed by the A♦ river.
Troyanovskiy crushed this thing from the get go; bagging the overnight chip lead, eliminating most of the players, and eventually securing the win. After a successful night like that, chances are he slept like a baby.
PokerStars Festival Rozvadov King's High Roller
Players: 37 (including 9 re-entries)
Total prize pool: €179,450
|1||Vladimir Troyanovskiy||Russia||€ 52,208||deal|
|2||Eugene Katchalov||Ukraine||€ 50,972||deal|
|3||Tomas Soderstrom||Sweden||€ 26,920|
|4||Jonas Lauck||Germany||€ 20,640|
|5||Andreas Eiler||Germany||€ 16,150|
|6||Martin Staszko||Czech Republic||€ 12,560|