PokerStars Festival London: Dragos Trofimov wins HR for £73,990, plus Platinum Pass!

This final table had one of the UK poker scene's most familiar faces, an Italian grinder with more than $2.2 million in earnings, and it was led by a UK pro with an EPT final table under his belt. But in the end, they were all bested by a 24-year-old student from Moldova.

Trofimov's the champ and Platinum Pass winner!

Dragos Trofimov has defeated Sergio Castelluccio (the Italian grinder we mentioned) heads up here at the Hippodrome Casino in Leicester Square. Not only does he bank £73,990, but he's also won a $30,000 Platinum Pass package to the 2019 PCA, where he'll be competing in the $25,000 buy-in PokerStars Players Championship.

Trofimov had a big heads-up chip lead against Castelluccio when it got down to it, but the Italian is very experienced, having won WPT and WSOP circuit events in his poker career. He did manage to double up, but Trofimov grinded him back before finally clinching the win and the Platinum Pass.

Trofimov (left) versus Castelluccio (right)

You'll find all of our final table live updates if you just scroll down, but here's a very condensed version of what happened.

With the addition of a Platinum Pass to three events here at the PokerStars Festival, we always knew it was going to be a busy one. The High Roller kicked things off back on Tuesday, where we had 164 entries (including 22 re-entries), creating a prize pool of £318,160.

There were 47 players who returned for yesterday's Day 2, and we ended the night with eight - our official final table.

From there we lost Evangelos Bechrakis and Nicolas Cardyn pretty early on. Jordi Torner then came from nowhere to take the chip lead, doubling through start-of-play chip leader Jonathan Wong. Wong's day went from bad to worse, and he found himself out in sixth.

Lithuania's Paulius Plausinaitis was next to fall in fifth, before the biggest name at this table exited. Luke Schwartz got it in with the A♦9♣ versus Trofimov's 8♦8♣, and the snowmen held up.

Three-handed saw the chips move towards Trofimov, and despite having the lead at the beginning Jordi Torner would exit in third. His ace-ten couldn't hit against Castelluccio's pocket jacks.

Sergio Castelluccio

And when it got to heads-up, it was really all Trofimov. Congratulations to him, and we'll be seeing him next year in the Bahamas...if not before!

PSF London £2,200 Single Re-entry High Roller
Dates: January 23-24, 2018
Entries: 164 (including 22 re-entries)
Buy-in: £2,200
Prize pool: £318,160

* The winner also received a Platinum Pass worth $30,000

1Dragos TrofimovMoldova£73,990* 
2Sergio CastelluccioItaly£50,110 
3Jordi TornerSpain£33,410 
4Luke SchwartzUK£27,360 
5Paulius PlausinaitisLithuania£21,950 
6Jonathan WongUK£17,020 
7Nicolas CardynFrance£12,600 
8Evangelos BechrakisGreece£9,260 

Final Table coverage archive

• Dragos Trofimov wins High Roller and Platinum Pass
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8:40pm: It's all over! Sergio Castelluccio falls in second (£50,110)
Level 27: Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

We have a winner of both the High Roller and the Platinum Pass!

Dragos Trofimov made it 150,000 on the button and Sergio Castelluccio jammed for around a million, which Trofimov called. He had the best of it with his A♣T♥ versus Castelluccio's A♠8♣.

The dealer put out a 2♦5♥3♠7♥5♣ board, meaning the ten kicker played, and this thing was done.

For second, Castelluccio wins £50,110. But for the winner Trofimov, he's banked £73,990 and the $30,000 Platinum Pass!

We'll be back with a short recap of today's action, plus a feature article on our winner, very soon.

8:15pm: Castelluccio doubles, but Trofimov grinds him down
Level 26: Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

One minute they were back to even. A few minutes later, it seemed that Dragos Trofimov had grinded Sergio Castelluccio back to the short stack.

Castelluccio doubled with his A♦K♥ versus Trofimov's K♠8♠, and the board kept the Italian's big slick in front. That brought the two almost even in chips.

But with lots of aggressive play, Trofimov has worked his way back up to a 3.7 million to 1.2 million chip lead.

7:45pm: Break time

The final two have taken a 20-minute break, although they may reduce it if they both get back sooner.

Dragos Trofimov still has a big chip lead of around 4.1 million to 820,000.

7:24pm: Big bet gets paid off
Level 26: Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Dragos Trofimov is now back in a healthy chip lead after this last pot.

On a 2♥6♠8♣ flop both checked to see the K♣ turn. Castelluccio led for 120,000, only for Trofimov to raise it to 325,000. Call.

When the 2♦ river arrived, Trofimov went for a massive bet of 1.1 million. That forced Castelluccio into the tank for a good while, and the clock was eventually called on him. After more than half a minute had ticked down he announced a call.

"A deuce," said Trofimov, as he showed the T♣2♣ - a hand which had turned a flush draw and then rivered trips. Castelluccio mucked, and drops down to just 680,000 now versus Trofimov's 4.24 million.

7:12pm: More for Castelluccio
Level 26: Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Picking up the action on a Q♥4♣A♠8♥ board, there was already a decent pot out there and Dragos Trofimov checked. Sergio Castelluccio made it 220,000 which was called, bringing the 2♣ which completed the board. Now Trofimov opted to lead out, making it 275,000. Castelluccio thought for a while and then shoved, getting a fast fold from his opponent.

7:05pm: Castelluccio pulls some back
Level 26: Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Sergio Castelluccio made it 100,000 on the button and Dragos Trofimov called to see the 4♣6♠3♣ flop. Trofimov check-called a 70,000 c-bet, before both checked on the 3♠ turn.

That brought a river card: the 9♥. Trofimov led out for 120,000, but Castelluccio wasn't done, raising it up to 370,000. Trofimov gave it some thought and ultimately called, only to muck when Castelluccio showed the 9♦8♥ for two pair.

Trofimov still has the lead with 3.15 million, but Castelluccio is up to 1.77 million now.

Trofimov (left) versus Castelluccio (right)

6:50pm: Trading blows
Level 25: Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Not too much to report from heads-up action just yet.

Sergio Castelluccio limped the button and was three-bet to 140,000 by Dragos Trofimov. Castelluccio shoved over the top and got a fold.

Then Trofimov made it 100,000 to go on the button and got a call to see the 3♣3♠K♦ flop. Castelluccio check-called 75,000, but would check-fold to a 225,000 bet on the 5♥ turn.

6:30pm: Torner's out in third (£33,410)
Level 25: Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Sergio Castelluccio opened pocket jacks, and Jordi Torner put the last of chips in with ace-ten, which Castelluccio called. The pocket pair held up, and that means they're now heads up for the cash, title, trophy, and Platinum Pass.

Heads-up chip counts:

Dragos Trofimov - 3.8 million
Sergio Castelluccio - 1.12 million

Torner's rollercoaster day is over

6:20pm: Torner down, Castelluccio up
Level 25: Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

The two shorter stacks have decided to fight against each other in a bid to battle with the chip leader.

Sergio Castelluccio shoved the small blind for 430,000 and Jordi Torner made the call after much deliberation with the K♣5♣. Castelluccio had the A♦3♣, and the T♦Q♦J♥6♣7♣ runout meant the ace-high was best.

Torner is down to just 205,000 now.

6:10pm: Huge double up for Trofimov
Level 25: Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

A big clash was bound to happen at some point. It's gone in Dragos Trofimov's favour.

First Sergio Castelluccio opened the button to 90,000. Trofimov three-bet the big blind to 300,000 and took it down.

In the next hand, Jordi Torner opened the button to 110,000 and Trofimov three-bet the small blind to 360,000. Back to Torner, he took his time and counted Trofimov's stack before announcing all in. Trofimov snap-called.

Torner - 9♣9♠
Trofimov - K♥K♦

The pocket nines picked up a lot more outs after the turn on the T♠8♥2♠J♥ board, but the A♠ river changed nothing.

Trofimov is now a huge chip leader with 3.15 million, while Torner is down to 580,000.

6pm: Luke Schwartz busts in fourth (£27,360)
Level 25: Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Four-handed play went on for a decent stretch, but it's just come to an end with the elimination of Luke Schwartz.

He found himself really short - with less than 300,000 - and moved all in under the gun/in the cutoff. It folded to Dragos Trofimov in the big blind who made the call.

"I've seen one card," said Schwartz as he revealed the A♦. His squeezed his other one to reveal the 9♣, and this was a flip against Trofimov's 8♦8♣.

The snowmen would hold up though after the T♦6♠T♣6♥2♠ board, meaning Schwartz was out. He'll collect £27,360 for his troubles.

Schwartz is out

5:50pm: Torner picks up some from Schwartz
Level 25: Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Jordi Torner opened the button to 80,000 and Luke Schwartz defended his big blind to see a 9♣7♣9♦ flop. It went check check to the 3♥ turn, and Schwartz check-called 100,000.

The river was the Q♦ and there'd be no more betting. "Ace," announced Schwartz, but Torner had that beat with his T♣T♠.

5:35pm: Official chip counts
Level 25: Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Jordi Torner 1,900,000
Dragos Trofimov 1,235,000
Sergio Castelluccio 1,105,000
Luke Schwartz680,000

5:17pm: Break time

The final four have gone on their first proper break of the day. Back in 20 minutes.

4:55pm: Torner doubles after action flop
Level 24: Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Dragos Trofimov's chip lead is no more, having doubled up Jordi Torner just now. The two were in the blinds and got to a 9♥K♥7♣ flop which proved to be a juicy one. All the money went in with Torner holding the K♦7♦ and Trofimov having the 7♥9♣. Both had flopped two pair, and Torner's hand held after the turn and river.

He's up to around 1.7 million now and takes the chip lead, while Trofimov dips to 840,000.

Torner has had quite a final table run here today. Here's a video of him doubling up earlier when he hit an ace on the river to survive against Jonathan Wong's pocket queens.

4:45pm: Chip counts
Level 24: Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Here's how they stack up right now.

Dragos Trofimov 1,95,000
Sergio Castelluccio 1,350,000
Luke Schwartz900,000
Jordi Torner 520,000

4:27pm: Paulius Plausinaitis exits in fifth (£21,950)
Level 24: Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Down to four as Paulius Plausinaitis has just been felted by Luke Schwartz.

The two got the money in pre-flop: K♦9♥ for Plausinaitis and A♦Q♣ for Schwartz. The best hand help up after the 3♦J♣T♣4♠A♥ runout, bringing Schwartz's stack up to around 800,000.

Down to four.

Paulius Plausinaitis

4:20pm: Great bluff from Torner
Level 23: Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

A very nice move just won Jordi Torner he had absolutely no right winning.

Picking up the action on a 2♠T♥5♦ flop, it checked to Luke Schwartz who led for 75,000. Torner then raised it up to 180,000, which got a quick folde from Dragos Trofimov. Schwartz had a good think, asking how much Torner had behind (233,000). Eventually though he folded, and Torner showed just the 9♣4♣ for complete air.

After that hand, Schwartz said he had pocket sixes, while Trofimov said he had pocket queens. We'll never know for sure though.

4pm: Trofimov takes from Castelluccio
Level 23: Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Dragos Trofimov made it 55,000 to go under the gun, only for chip boss Sergio Castelluccio to three-bet to 175,000 from the small blind. That bet was called, and the two went heads up to a 5♠A♥4♣ flop. Castelluccio continued for 113,000 which got a quick call from Trofimov, and then both checked the 2♣ turn.

The river was the J♣, and Castelluccio opted to check once again. That opened the betting lead for Trofimov, and he bet big; making it 425,000. Castelluccio gave it a good think, but ultimately folded.

3:50pm: Ace is a beautiful card
Level 23: Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Another double up for Luke Schwartz!

Action folded to Dragos Trofimov on the button and he moved all in. It folded to Schwartz in the big blind, and after squeezing both cards, found the A♥J♥ and made the call for his 372,000.

Trofimov had the K♥Q♦, and the flop fell 4♠A♣8♠.

"Yes! An ace is a beautiful card!" said Schwartz.

The turn was the 9♦, meaning Trofimov was drawing dead, bringing calls of "Yeah baby, that's what I'm talking about!" from Schwartz.

He's up to around 760,000 now, while Trofimov dips to around 1.13 million.

Schwartz, before his excitement

3:40pm: Jonathan Wong's gone (6th - £17,020)
Level 23: Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

He came into play today as the chip leader, but Jonathan Wong's day has come to an abrupt end.

He opened to 55,000 from the cutoff and it folded to Dragos Trofimov in the big blind who defended to see the K♣8♦5♦ flop. Trofimov checked, Wong continued for 62,000, only for Trofimov to check-raise it up to what looked like 170,000. Wong instantly moved all in, and Trofimov snap-called.

Wong - A♣K♠
Trofimov - 8♣5♣

Unfortunately for Wong, his top pair was no good as Trofimov had hit a big blind special two pair. It held up after the 7♥ turn and 3♠ river, and Wong made his exit.

Trofimov is up to 1.5 million now.

Bad luck for Wong

3:30pm: The Greenstein saves Torner
Level 23: Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Jordi Torner was all but out of here, until Barry Greenstein showed up to save him.

He opened to 65,000 under the gun and it folded to Jonathan Wong in the big blind. He asked how much Torner had left (201,000 behind was the answer) before moving all in, which Torner snap-called.

Torner - A♠T♠
Wong - Q♣Q♦

The flop? K♠2♣2♥. No help for Torner.

The turn? 4♥. A brick.

But the river? The A♦ landed and Torner slammed the table with excitement, showing how much this deep run and the potential shot at a Platinum Pass really means to him. He gets the double up, while Wong dips to around 500,000.

Jordi Torner still alive

3:13pm: Break time counts
Level 22: Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

The players just took an unscheduled five-minute break, so here are the official chip counts right now:

Sergio Castelluccio 1,725,000
Dragos Trofimov 936,000
Jonathan Wong825,000
Paulius Plausinaitis733,000
Jordi Torner 325,000
Luke Schwartz315,000

3:03pm: Nicolas Cardyn busts in 7th (£12,600)
Level 22: Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Another one bites the dust.

Nicolas Cardyn, having lost a lot of his chips doubling up Jordi Torner, moved all in from the UTG+1 seat with the A♥K♥ and was called by the big blind of Sergio Castelluccio with the J♦J♥.

The board fell Q♥2♦4♣5♣, giving Cardyn any ace, king, or three to survive. But alas the river was the 9♦, sending him out in seventh. Castelluccio is sitting with around 1.6 million now.

Nicolas Cardyn

3pm: Double up for Plausinaitis
Level 22: Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Paulius Plausinaitis has just doubled up through Dragos Trofimov. The two got the money in small blind versus big blind, Plausinaitis' A♥3♥ against Trofimov's K♠J♦. The board ran out 5♥5♠3♦2♣6♦ to bring Plausinaitis up to 780,000 and drop Trofimov to 975,000.

2:55pm: Torner turns a corner
Level 22: Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Jordi Torner came into the day short-stacked, and up until just now he remained firmly at the bottom of the counts.

He might actually still be the shortest stack, but he at least has more to play with now after doubling up. He jammed the small blind for 132,000 when it folded to him and Nicolas Cardyn made the call with the A♠Q♥, which was way ahead of Torner's 8♥3♣.

However, a 9♣8♣5♦4♠3♠ runout paired Torner's eight, doubling him up and dropping Cardyn down to 250,000.

2:37pm: The comeback begins?
Level 22: Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Make that a double up for Luke Schwartz.

Jonathan Wong made it 50,000 to go under the gun, and when it folded to Schwartz in the big blind he jammed for 133,000. Wong snap-called with the J♣J♥ which meant Schwartz's A♠J♠ wasn't in the best shape.

However, the A♣2♠6♦ flop helped him immensely, and Wong couldn't find the one-outer on the 8♦ turn or 5♦ river.

Wong dips to around 900,000, while Schwartz is now on around 300,000.

2:27pm: Evangelos Bechrakis out in 8th (£9,260)
Level 22: Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

It hasn't taken long for us to lose our first player.

Evangelos Bechrakis opened to 45,000 and then called a three-bet to 165,000 from Dragos Trofimov on his left. The two went to a 4♣7♥8♠ flop, on which Bechrakis checked and Trofimov continued for 125,000. This bet sent Bechrakis deep into the tank, with the clock eventually being called on him. With 20 seconds left to act, he made the call.

The dealer burned and turned the 7♦, and then surprisingly Bechrakis shoved all in for just under 200,000. Trofimov made a quick call with his K♠K♥ and was ahead of Bechrakis' 9♠9♣, and the A♣ river changed nothing.

Trofimov is up to around 1.1 million now.

2:17pm: Bad start for Schwartz
Level 22: Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Things have got interesting early on here on this final table, with Luke Schwartz losing a big chunk of his chips, creating a new chip leader in the process.

The hand began with an UTG+1 open from Sergio Castelluccio to 45,000, which folded to Schwartz in the big blind. He defended, and the flop came 2♠9♦A♦. When Schwartz checked, Castelluccio took his time before continuing for 38,000. Schwartz called instantly.

That took them to the T♠ turn, and it was a similar story. Check, a tank-bet of 100,000, and another insta-call from Schwartz.

The river slowed things down though. It came the K♣ and when Schwartz checked a final time Castelluccio fired again for 200,000. Schwartz hated this and was clearly unhappy with that card. He said something about how he had him dead on the turn, before saying Castelluccio was "too much of a pigeon to bet ace-queen or ace-jack like this", whatever that means.

Eventually he did slam down a call though, and Castelluccio showed his 9♠9♣ for a flopped set. Schwartz tossed his A♠Q♣ into the air on their way to muck.

He's down to 175,000 now, while Castelluccio overtakes Jonathan Wong at the top of the counts with 1.34 million.

2:07pm: Cards in the air
Level 22: Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

After a slight delay for the official final table photo shoot, the eight players are now in their seats. Shuffle up and deal!

The Final Table

1pm: Today's the day

After two long days of play, it's time for us to find ourselves a winner of this £2,200 High Roller.

Not only will that person win £73,990 (barring any deals), they'll also win perhaps the most sought after package prize in the history of poker. The Platinum Pass is a $30,000 package to the 2019 PCA, at which the player will be freerolling in the $25,000 buy-in PokerStars Players Championship with $8 million guaranteed in the prize pool and $1 million added to the first place prize.

But who will it be? Well, the idea in poker is to collect the most chips, and right now the man with the most in Jonathan Wong. He's closely followed by Italy's Sergio Castelluccio, who in turn is followed by five-time SCOOP winner Luke Schwartz.

Luke Schwartz

Here's a look at the counts:

Jonathan Wong1,065,000
Sergio Castelluccio 993,000
Luke Schwartz600,000
Dragos Trofimov 584,000
Paulius Plausinaitis555,000
Evangelos Bechrakis535,000
Nicolas Cardyn398,000
Jordi Torner 226,000

To refresh your memory, check out all of our live updates from yesterday to find out how we got here, including double ups from both Schwartz and Evangelos Bechrakis in the last five hands of the night.

Play kicks off 2pm with blinds at 10,000/20,000/3,000. We won't be done until we've handed out a Platinum Pass, so stick with the PokerStars Blog all day for exclusive live updates. --JS

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the £2,200 High Roller: Jack Stanton. Photography by Mickey May.

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Jack Stanton
@J_W_Stanton in Live Poker