Kaiser's chief! Wins €10K HR for €735K at PokerStars Championship Barcelona
Chalk that up as another enormous tournament from Barcelona.
The €10,300 High Roller is the last flagship event on the schedule; popular with both those with the biggest bank-rolls and those looking to take a leap into the biggest stages. Our final table tonight had a combination of those, plus a WSOP Main Event 3rd place finisher, and one of the Macau regulars.
That Main Event finalist would end up finishing third here, just like he did in Vegas. And the Macau regular? Not only did he bubble the WSOP Main this year, but he final-table bubbled this one here tonight.
But when we reached heads-up, it was the former EPT8 Tallinn winner and cash game crusher Ronny Kaiser, up against the comparatively unknown Markus Durnegger.
Kaiser doesn't play many live tournaments these days. The man known online as '1-ronnyr3' chooses to crush huge cash games instead, both online and live. But the last tournament he did play (as far as we know), he won. Kaiser took down a €5K PLO event at EPT13 Prague last December; not too far from the King's Casino where he spends a lot of his time. He probably doesn't even remember it.
But you can make that two in a row now. Kaiser 'chiefed' this final table like it was written in the stars, busting player after player. And despite a big chip deficit heads up, he found a way to overthrow Durnegger and capture the title.
"This was my first No Limit Hold'em Tournament in a long time," Kaiser told the PokerStars Blog immediately after his victory. "I think I played the EPT here last year and that was the last time I played a NLHE tournament."
"It's the best feeling in poker to win a tournament. I feel great."
This tournament is always stacked at every stop. But here in Barcelona, it's downright enormous, and this one was no exception. It got an almost identical field size as the one we got in 2016 (which Connor Drinan won for €849,000), and when registration was closed there were 557 total entries, with 431 unique entries and 126 re-entries.
That created a massive €5,402,900 prize pool, and despite being down eight entries on the year, the first place prize of €1,036,800 was even bigger than Drinan's prize.
Team Pros Daniel Negreanu, Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier, Felipe Ramos and Jeff Gross all played, but failed to make it past the bubble. Jake Cody was the only red spade who cashed, before losing a big flip and most of his chips to finish in 27th for €32,950.
Speaking of the bubble, that darn thing went on forever. As we approached the 79-players-remaining mark (i.e. everyone in the money) there were 34 minutes left on the level. It then took a whole other level before the clock was paused to ensure the bubble burst. Ten minutes later and finally, FINALLY, we found a bubble boy.
Raul Martinez jammed with the A♠Q♠, but was dominated by Markus Durnegger's A♣K♠. The big slick held up, and Martinez left empty-handed. After all that waiting, it was a little underwhelming.
From there though, the bust-outs came thick and fast. Benny Spindler, Ben Tollerene, Vladimir Troyanovskiy, Philipp Gruissem, Adrian Mateos, John Juanda, Ari Engel, Steve O'Dwyer, and Toby Lewis are just a few who went on the bust in the latter stages of Day 2.
Only 34 returned today for Day 3, and it was Ronny Kaiser who led the way. JC Alvarado and Christoph Vogelsang didn't last long, while Cody, Stefan Schillhabel, Parker Talbot and Christopher Kruk all fell before the final.
Sam Grafton would leave us in 11th. We followed The Squid earlier in the action to pick up some late-stage strategy (check that out here) but he found himself short approaching the final table bubble and had to make some moves. Grafton eventually jammed on a 8♠4♠2♥ flop with the Q♦4♦ for middle pair, but was called by Markus Durnegger's 8♥7♥. He found no help on the K♣ turn or A♥ river, and Grafton went to collect €75,100.
Oliver Weis then final-table bubbled when his jam with 5♥6♥ was picked off by by Kaiser's J♥J♣, and that meant it was down to one table.
Here's how they stacked up:
|Seat||Player||Country||Chip Count||Big Blinds|
|7||Luis Rodriguez Cruz||Spain||1,180,000||24|
We lost two players pretty quickly. The always well-dressed Quan Zhou bubbled the official final table, losing a race with Q♠Q♥ to Jakub Michalak's A♠K♦. Zhou also bubbled the WSOP Main Event this year, so he's been here before.
Next to go was Luis Rodriguez Cruz. He open-shoved with the K♦J♦ and was looked up by Markus Durnegger with the A♣T♣. An ace on the flop put Rodriguez Cruz in bad shape, and he couldn't catch up.
Emil Patel had a nice run in this one, but would ultimately get coolered to bust in seventh. All his chips went in with the K♥K♦ against Kaiser's A♥K♠, but an ace hit on the flop and Patel couldn't hit either of his outs.
By this point the levels had decreased from 60 minutes to 45 minutes. It was Jakub Michalak's turn to exit in sixth, once again losing to ace-king with a pocket pair. His was the J♥J♦ against Markus Durnegger's A♥K♣, and yet again an ace on the flop sealed the deal.
Kaiser had held the chip lead for a while at this point, and it would get bigger when he eliminated Georgios Sotiropoulos in fifth. This time it was the player with ace-king who busted; Sotiropoulos got shoved on on a A♣K♥4♥J♣4♠ board, only for Kaiser to show up with the T♠Q♠ for a straight, beating Sotiropoulos' A♠K♠ for top two pair.
Here's where the final three chopped it up. Kaiser locked up €725,000; Durnegger secured the lion's share for €729,299; while Pollak earned €688,701. Not only that, all three agreed to shorten the levels from 45 minutes to ten minutes a piece, leaving €10,000 for the winner.
It was a reporter's dream deal, I won't lie to you.
From there we lost Pollak in third. All in on a T♦9♦2♦7♣ board, his K♣T♣ was called by Durnegger's K♥K♦. The 4♣ river brought us heads up, and Pollak would have to settle for third again, following his $3.5 million score this summer.
Durnegger built a big lead heads up, 22 million to 6 million. But a little bit later a lucky turn card kept Kaiser in it. He jammed for his last 4.3 million with the 7♣6♠ and Durnegger made the call for the win with the K♥Q♥. The A♣T♠9♦8♠9♣ board had other ideas though, giving Kaiser a straight and the double up.
He'd then double again to take a 2:1 chip lead. After Kaiser limped in, Durnegger made it 900,000 to go only to then get shoved on. Durnegger thought about it, but made the call with his A♣T♠ to find he was crushed by Kaiser's A♥K♣. An ace hit the board, but Kaiser's kicker played and now it was Durnegger on the back foot.
The two eventually started going all in every hand. It only lasted two though, and in the end it was the J♣5♣ for Durnegger and the A♠Q♠ for Kaiser, and the 7♠4♦T♣6♣4♥ captured him the title.
"I think I have the best ROI in poker," Kaiser told us. "Because I never play, and always when I play I have good results."
We can't argue with that.
PokerStars Championship Barcelona €10,300 High Roller
Dates: August 25-27, 2017
Entries: 557 (431 unique entries and 126 re-entries)
|8||Luis Rodriguez Cruz||Spain||€115,600|
*Denotes three-way deal
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