Keith Johnson wins inaugural Eureka Poker Tour title
Keith Johnson has won the first ever Eureka Poker Tour event and bagged €58,400 for his troubles. He defeated Spanish PokerStars qualifier Antonio Dieguez Rodriguez in a short heads up battle with Johnson's K♣J♦ holding against Rodriguez's [10c]6♣ on the final hand. Johnson winning the tournament with a hand that shares his initials was a lucky coincidence, but the real story lies in the fact that Johnson was 19th of 20 coming back today and that final hand capped a remarkable turn around for the British player.
In the beginning he did very little apart from sit around and watch others get eliminated. In the first two hours eight players were knocked out, during this time Johnson built his stack by re-raising all-in and was never once at risk of elimination. With 11 players left he was the shortest stack, when the final table started he was second of eight.
And he didn't just do it by waiting for aces, he made a great hero call with just king high to win a big pot from Kamil Koska and then he found err, pocket kings to eliminate overnight chip leader David Torok who had shoved with A♣9♣. However he had a sweat as Torok flopped a flush draw, turned a flush but Johnson rivered a full house.
When the final table started only Spanish PokerStars qualifier Antonio Dieguez Rodriguez had more chips than Johnson and it was those two that would end up finishing first and second.
They were a two man wreaking crew eliminating all but one of the other players at the final table. Whilst Kim Eduardovich took out Kamil Koska (8th) and Rodriguez took care of Jaroslav Urban (5th) the other five scalps belonged to Johnson as he eliminated Kim Eduardovich (7th), Pawel Bartosz (6th), Petr Kralicek (4th), Veronica Kokoceva (3rd) and of course Rodriguez in second.
It was the elimination of Kralicek that will linger longest in the memory. Johnson calling for the vast majority of his stack with A♠3♠ on a 5♣A♥5♦3♦9♠ board to eliminate the home town player.
And despite Johnson appearing to do most of the donkey work Antonio Dieguez Rodriguez will leave a lasting impression on many, for good and bad reasons. In the good camp is the fact that he can flat out play and wielded his big stack like and axe for much of the day. He was by far the most vibrant and outgoing of the final 20 let alone the final eight and you always knew when he was in a pot. This could sometime lead to the bad, such as when he cheered the queen that arrived on the river to eliminate Veronica Kokoceva in third.
Of course what goes up must come down and David Torok who was the chip leader at the start of Day 3 would end up bubbling the final table and finishing ninth. His start of day stack (805,000) would've been good for fourth of eight going to the final table but he suffered a frustrating day, much of it at the hands of Johnson who delighted in re-raising Torok before eventually eliminating him.
But tonight belongs to Johnson and what he calls the 'highlight of his live poker career'. But it also belongs (a liitle bit) to his rail a group of English pros, who all came to Prague to play the tournament. At the start of the event they agreed to pool 5% of all winnings in the tournament and put it towards their last night out in Prague. Thanks to Johnson they have €2,920 Euros that should allow them to see some of the finest sights Prague has to offer. In his post-tournament interview Johnson reserved special praise for EPT Budapest winner Will Fry who was amongst his rail as was his 'brother' Mitch.
The tour now moves onto to Nova Gorica, Slovenia from the 12th-15th of May. Qualifiers are running now on PokerStars.com and you can win your seat for as little as €8. So it's good bye to Prague they're, about to turn the lights out, in the casino at least.
1st - Keith Johnson, PokerStars player, €58,400
2nd - Antonio Dieguez Rodriguez, Spain, PokerStars qualifier, €37,000
3rd - Veronica Kokocevea, Czech Republic, €20,500
4th - Petr Kralicek, Czech Republic, €16,080
5th - Jaroslav Urban, Czech Republic, €12,720
6th - Pawel Bartosz, Poland, PokerStars qualifier, €10,400
7th - Kim Eduardovich, Russia, PokerStars qualifier, €8,330
8th - Kamil Koska, Poland, PokerStars qualifier, €6,590
To see a list of everyone who made the money click here
To catch up on all of the final day's action click the links below
PokerStars Blog reporting team at Eureka Poker Tour Prague: Nick Wright. Photos courtesy of Tomas Stacha.