Dominik Panka today won the EPT Deauville High Roller for €272,000 confirming the arrival of a bright new talent. Just weeks ago, Panka put on an incredible display to win the PCA Main Event for $1,423,096, which was met with glowing praise from Team PokerStars Online’s Ike Haxton on the PCALive stream. The high stakes pro is infrequently wrong, so when he said that Panka’s win was likely the virtuoso live emergence of an online talent we all sat up and listened. You can read up on Panka’s PCA win here.
Panka had to top a huge 1,031 field of all comers in the sunny Bahamas, but it was a smaller, tougher field on the blustery Northern Coast of France, packed with EPT winners, former High Roller champs and gnarly tour regulars. If there was a book running on the 2014 European Poker Awards Rookie of the Year, it’s probably now closed. He’s got the Slyde watch from the Official Watch Sponsor of EPT Season 10, to match the one he won at the PCA. He can wait until next January for that trophy.
Panka was calm and focused throughout that epic PCA final, but today was was a little easier: he wrapped it up in around six hours. It does tend to speed things up when other players five-bet jam four-three suited into you when you’ve got aces (see Davidi Kitai’s exit, below).
“To be honest, I had aces three times at the final table and also on the money bubble I eliminated another unlucky player with kings against my aces,” said Panka, who you suspect would have preferred to win through a series of correct hero calls. “I wasn’t really three-bet bluffing to be honest. I three-bet bluff twice at the final table, other than that all my three-betting was with good hands.”
In the spotlight
Panka has had a lot of interviews and gained a certain level of notoriety after his $1.4m win at the PCA, making him all the more keen to prove he’s not a one-hit wonder. After today I think we can agree that’s not the case.
“Right now, I would like to prove myself, but here I had a lot of big hands,” he said. “I think I made a really successful bluff on the river heads-up when I moved all-in with a busted straight draw, but other than that I was hitting a lot of good hands. I tried to play my best game and if Davidi hit the running threes I would probably be just fine. I would have still had chips. Maybe I would be a little devastated.”
Panka is, of course, a class act, but he wasn’t the sole young talent at the final table. This year’s European Poker Awards Rookie of the Year Adrian Mateos Diaz bust in 8th, but he still had time to register on Panka’s radar.
“He plays really fast and really good. I play a little slowly,” said Panka. “I think, check, and he’s released (chips). He plays really, really well and I was impressed by him. He’s even younger than me, but still great results. Every day I had really good players. I expected a little bit of weaker opponents from France here, but at every table I had professional poker players and they all played really well.”
When you play well and run well, as Panka did, then you’re all but unstoppable. We can expect to see more of Panka in the coming seasons. Hope you don’t get him on your table.
Adrian Mateos Diaz down in 8th (€37,000)
We spoke to Adrian Mateos Diaz earlier this week about chasing down Carlos Mortensen on the Spain all-time money list. Mateos Diaz is around $10m behind Mortensen, but certainly has the credentials to challenge the king for his crown. Mateos Diaz won both Spanish Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year, thanks to his Estrellas Madrid and WSOPE Main Event wins. He impressed again in this tournament but when he four-bet jammed A♥3♥ into Panka’s ace-king he was left needing a lot of help. It didn’t come.
Nikolay Losev loses in 7th (€49,100)
At around the same time as Italian Carlo De Benedittis was busting the Main Event, Nikolay Losev found his flush and straight draw check-raise all-in getting called by the top pair of Albert Daher, who increased his chip lead when his hand held. Losev took the loss less well than De Benedittis.
Davidi Kitai kicked out in 6th (€64,200)
At the same time Eugene Katchalov was busy chasing his Triple Crown at the Main Event table, a man who already belonged to that five-strong club, Davidi Kitai, was virulently four-betting at the High Roller final table. It was working well, then he got a little carried away with a five-bet shove with 4♣3♣ into Panka’s pocket aces. That gave Panka 2.6m of the 5.75m chips in play with five players remaining.
It is enough for Martin Schleich, leaves in 5th (€81,500)
EPT Barcelona winner Martin Schleich, who incidentally was the guy who won the other EPT final table that Katchalov has made, went out in standard fashion three-bet jamming king-queen into aces. It was Daher who had the bullets this time, which brought the Lebanese player up close to Panka.
Ondrej Vinklarek vanquished in 4th (€101,000)
EPT Season 8 Player of the Year Ondrej Vinklarek today picked up a career-best live tournament score topping his runner-up finish in a €2,150 side event at EPT Berlin (€63,000). Vinklarek three-bet jammed with king-jack and Daher called with ace-deuce. He spiked trips on the river, further closing the lead on chip leader Panka.
Kent Lundmark leaves in 3rd (€122,000)
EPT Barcelona winner – yes, another one – Kent Lundmark entered three-handed play with a mountain to climb. He barely had time to get his crampons on before moving in with Q♦6♦ and finding a call in Panka’s K♠7♦. It was hardly a disastrous situation, but he failed to catch up to leave Daher and Panka heads-up, the Polish PCA champ holding a slight lead.
Panka picks off Daher, busts in 2nd (€189,000)
The heads-up stacks had been fairly level but Panka puleld ahead when he tank-called a large river bluff by Daher with 9♣4♣ on a A♥5♦K♣10♣2♠ board. Panka’s K♥J♣ was good with second pair. That left Daher short and – after a few uncalled all-ins – Daher found himself at risk with K♦4♣ against A♣9♥. Panka held. We have a new tournament legend in the making.
EPT10 Deauville High Roller
Date: January 30 – February 1, 2014
Game: NLHE High Roller
Players: 115 entries
Prize pool: €1,104,000
1. Dominik Panka (Poland) €272,000
2. Albert Daher (Lebanon) €189,000
3. Kent Lundmark (Sweden) €122,000
4. Ondrej Vinklarek (Czech Republic) €101,000
5. Martin Schleich (Germany) €81,500
6. Davidi Kitai (Belgium) €64,200
7. Nikolay Losev (Russia) €49,100
8. Adrian Mateos Diaz (Spain) €37,000
Click through to live updates, features and interviews from the EPT Deauville Main Event. You can also follow the High Roller updates here. You can also check out all EPT Deauville side event winners.
Rick Dacey is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.