Valtteri Merikallio wins Eureka2 Latvia and €68,800
Players who play loose and fast are often accused of having a plane to catch. In the case of Valtteri Merikallio this was literally his predicament.
The 34-year-old office worker missed one flight back home, due to the epic four-hour heads-up battle between Sam Macdonald and himself here in Riga. But it was worth the re-booking fee as tonight he heads home with €68,800 in his pocket. He might just upgrade his seat and the one he'll need for his PokerStars trophy.
When the heads-up encounter between Merikallio and Sam Macdonald started there wasn't a lot to choose between them. This would be a theme that would prevail throughout their heads-up match, whenever one stretched into a lead the other would claw it back in short shrift.
But despite starting level 26 at a disadvantage a series of pots went the way of the Finn and he stretched out to a four-to-one chip lead. On the final hand, with the Brit down to less than 20 big blinds, Macdonald limp-shoved with A♦3♥ and Merikallio called all-in with A♠Q♥. A queen on the flop gave him a near lock on the hand, a three on the turn provided a sweat but the river was a blank and Merikallio became Finland's first Eureka Poker Tour champion.
Full credit must be given to Macdonald for the part he played in the final table. He was the main reason the final table went from eight players to two in just under three hours. He eliminated Normunds Rumba (8th), Zvonimir Zoric (7th), Gary Clarke (5th) and Joni Nenonen (4th). At times he ran over the table and had more than half the chips in play with four players left.
When Macdonald wasn't on hand to bust someone Merikallio picked up the slack eliminating Vitalijs Tarhanovs, the last remaining Latvian, in sixth and taking care of overnight chip leader Dariusz Paszkiewicz in third.
The Eureka Latvia final table was a final table of two halves, a rapid start and then lots of play where the money jumps were at their biggest. The full result is as below, to find out more about the final eight click here.
1st. Valtteri Merikallio, Finland, €68,800.00
2nd. Sam Macdonald, United Kingdom, PokerStars qualifier, €43,700.00
3rd.Dariusz Paszkiewicz, Poland, €24,300.00
4th. Joni Nenonen, Finland, €18,880.00
5th Gary Clarke, Ireland, PokerStars qualifier, €15,770.00
6th. Vitalijs Tarhanovs, Latvia, €12,950.00
7th Zvonimir Zoric, Bosnia and Herzegovina, PokerStars qualifier, €10,250.00
8th. Normunds Rumba, Latvia, €8,090.00
To catch up on all today's action click on the links below (and you can also access the results of the side events by clicking on that final link).
But that's all from Riga. The next event will be Eureka Prague (5-9 December) which promises to be the biggest Eureka main event ever. Daily satellites are running now on PokerStars.com.
All photos are copyright of Rene Velli. He's a photo ninja so watch your back, Jack.