Badziakouski adds second Barcelona Super High Roller crown after epic clash against Seidel

August 16, 2022inPoker

Super High Roller tournaments on the European Poker Tour are pretty much certain to end with one brilliant player squaring off against another, deciding which tournament titan is going to claim the spoils this time. The player pool is small and exclusive, comprising only the very best of the best.

Even by these standards, however, our final pairing in the €100,000 Super High Roller in Barcelona today was an exceptional treat. The phenomenal Mikita Badziakouski, one of the undisputed greats of the modern game, faced off against the Hall of Famer Erik Seidel, a superlative talent in absolutely any era.

Both already had Super High Roller titles under their belts, Seidel in Monte Carlo in 2015 and Badziakouski here in Barcelona in 2018. All they had to decide was who would be first to get their second, and who would be adding €1.98 million to their ludicrous career earnings, and who would have to make do with €1.29 million.

The picture above gives the game away, of course. This one was all about Badziakouski. He came into the day with a short stack, navigated his way to the chip lead, lost it heads up to Seidel, but then refocused and built back again, eventually managing what nobody else had: to prise the last of Seidel’s chips away from him.

“It feels amazing, I really love it,” Badziakouski said, even though he was reluctant to get carried away with his latest success. He added that he hadn’t actually played the €100K in Barcelona in 2019, the last time we were here, so following his 2018 victory, “For me it’s back to back.”

The heads-up battle was a ding-dong affair, with the chips sliding one way and then the next, each player doubling up more than once. The stacks shallowed dramatically, and when they took a brief dinner break, they returned to only 17 and 13 big blinds, respectively, which meant the next significant skirmish would surely decide it.

Erik Seidel had to make do with second

Badziakouski won that — it was pretty gross with Badziakouski’s A♣4♣ out-flopping Seidel’s Q♠Q♥ — and that meant he was the champion again, the second time in this venue. But it was a brilliant final from the very first moment — the point at which Badziakouski’s charge began.

FINAL DAY ACTION

EPT Barcelona Super High Roller final table (l-r): Mikita Badziakouski, Mike Watson, Nick Petrangelo, Teun Mulder, Erik Seidel, Timothy Adams, Kevin Paque

The bubble burst late last night, and then David Peters was knocked out in ninth, which was in the money but before the official final table was set.

At the start of play today, the Dutchman Kevin Paque had a significant lead at the top of the pile, with Seidel and Mike Watson his only serious challengers. At the other end, Nick Petrangelo and Badziakouski were the short stacks — and the very first pot they played got rid of one of them, while beginning the heroic climb of the other.

START OF DAY LINE UP

Seat 1: Mikita Badziakouski, Belarus, 1,150,000
Seat 2: Nick Petrangelo, USA, 435,000
Seat 3: Mike Watson, Canada, 3,130,000
Seat 4: Teun Mulder, Netherlands, 1,385,000
Seat 5: Erik Seidel, USA, 3,300,000
Seat 6: Timothy Adams, Canada, 1,225,000
Seat 7: Ben Heath, United Kingdom, 1,645,000
Seat 8: Kevin Paque, Netherlands, 4,730,000

Badziakouski picked up Q♦Q♣ and opened to 200,000 (the big blind was 60,000) and he will have been very happy to see Petrangelo then push in his 435,000 stack behind him. But the action wasn’t done because Teun Mulder, with a covering stack of 1.39 million, moved all-in too.

Petrangelo had A♦J♠, which was in terrible shape against Badziakouski’s queens, and was even more disastrously positioned versus Mulder’s A♣K♣. The flop brought something for everyone — 3♣Q♥J♣ — and Badziakouski faded the straight and flush draws when the turn and river came 9♠ and 4♥.

That sent Petrangelo out on the first hand, winning €247,400, cut Mulder’s stack to ribbons and put Badziakouski up to 48 big blinds. (Mulder doubled back into contention with pocket sixes on the next hand.)

A short stay at the final for Nick Petrangelo

Although most players will look at Badziakouski’s near triple up with pocket queens and know they too would have played the hand the same way, nobody but the game’s absolute elite could say the same about the next significant pot Badziakouski was involved in. This one was a doozy.

Looking down at K♦10♣ in the small blind, Badziakouski limped. Mike Watson, with a stack of 3 million, raised to 220,000. Badziakouski called — obviously not knowing that Watson had 8♠4♥.

The flop gave Watson an open-ended straight draw. It was 10♠7♣9♦. But Badziakouski, with top pair, led out, for 100,000. Watson raised to 450,000 and Badziakouski called.

The turn was the 7♦ and Badziakouski check-called after Watson bet 450,000. The A♠ then completed the board. Badziakouski checked and Watson now pushed all-in, with 1.9 million left in his stack covering Badziakouski’s 1.74 million. The brilliant Belorussian, here representing Ukraine, thought it through for several minutes, burning through timebank cards.

But it was worth it because he came up with the right move. Badziakouski called for his tournament life with second pair. It was enough to beat Watson’s missed draw. Badziakouski built himself a chip-leading stack of 5.8 million and Watson was on life support. Badziakouski pulled the plug on that soon after, when Watson’s pocket jacks lost to Badziakouski’s A♣Q♥.

Watson, who won the €50,000 event a few days ago, was this time out in seventh. He took €319,970 for this one.

Mike Watson: Bluff picked off by Badziakouski

Despite the immediate double up after the huge first hand of the day, Mulder was still nursing a short stack when they got down to the last six. And he got his last money in with pocket tens, to be called by Seidel’s K♥J♥.

This was a straight flip at the outset, and somehow the odds remained pretty even after the flop, even though Mulder flopped a set. The board was Q♦6♥10♥ and Seidel was now up and down, with a flush draw too. Seidel realised his 40 percent equity on the 7♥ turn, and after the 4♦ river, Mulder was toast.

Mulder, who plays on PokerStars as “tinnoemulder” and is among the very best in the online arena, has made the transition to the live game look incredibly easy. This latest score earned him €415,630, which is a decent chunk of change, even if he looked disappointed to go out in sixth.

Another €400K for Teun Mulder

The flurry of early action was now over, and the last five pushed chips around between them for more than an hour. However, there was a clear divide in the middle of the leader board with both Ben Heath and Tim Adams under the cosh, with Seidel, Badziakousi and Paque comfortable at the other end.

The two small stacks were the next two out, with Adams, the very definition of a Super High Roller regular, becoming Badziakouski’s next victim and Heath, an increasingly familiar presence at these final tables, then falling to Paque.

Adams first. Badziakouski opened the cutoff with A♥Q♣ and Adams found A♣6♣ in the small blind. He pushed everything bar one chip of his 1.215 million stack in the middle. Badziakouski made him play for the rest of it too with a token four bet and Adams called it off.

Adams’s hand was in bad shape already and a queen on the flop made it worse. There was no super miracle on turn and river and Adams took fifth this time, picking up €540,980.

Fifth this time for Timothy Adams

Heath was gone a couple of hands later, getting cold-decked to the door. Action folded to him in the small blind and it was probably a mandatory shove with any two cards with his 1.05 million stack. His actual hand was 8♣7♣, but that was in trouble when Paque woke up with Q♠Q♣ in the big blind and made the call.

Heath had 21 percent equity with his suited connectors, and he had a flush draw on the turn. But the A♥ river sealed Heath’s fate in fourth. He took €702,670.

Ben Heath heads home

The last three players now all had stacks. Seidel was in the lead with 57 big blinds, Badziakouski was second with 49 and Paque could still play with his 35. And it was the chip-leading Seidel who seemed to be most keen to have a deal discussion at this stage. They took a 10-minute break, but Badziakouski wasn’t interested and they played on, no deal having been made.

That worked out very well for him, but less so for Paque.

Of all the players at this final, Paque was probably the least well known. He had won the Masters Classics in Amsterdam a few years ago, and had a successful tournament trip to Madrid earlier this year. But he had no documented results on PokerStars-sponsored tours, which made it quite surprising that he had emerged from nowhere to lead the Super High Roller here going into the final.

It was quite evident he was totally at home, however, and he had cruised into the final three. But a cold deck is a cold deck and another one came along to send Paque packing.

This was again against Badziakouski, and it came about when Badziakouski found K♠7♣ on the button and raised to 320,000. Paque called in the big blind with 7♥5♦ and called, before the dealer put the all-action K♥7♠5♣ on the flop. Both players had two pair and it was a case of when, rather than if, the last of Paque’s 2.8 million chips were going in.

It wasn’t the flop. At this point, it went check (Paque), bet (200,000, Badzikouski) and raise (425,000) followed by a call. Then the 8♠ came on the turn. Paque checked again, but again found the check-raise after Badziakouski bet 500,000. Paque shoved, Badziakouski called and that was essentially that. The 4♠ turn was a blank and Paque hit the rail, taking €913,730.

A fine debut EPT cash for Kevin Paque

Seidel and Badziakouski took another unscheduled break before heads-up play began, but if deal talk happened, it didn’t result in agreement. They came back to stacks of 10.86 million for Badziakouski and 6.14 million for Seidel, but with blinds now going up every 30 minutes. They started at 80K-160K, but the stacks were certain to shallow very rapidly.

Early running went to Badziakouski, but then Seidel doubled up with pocket sixes to Badziakouski’s A♦9♠. That allowed Seidel to edge ahead and stay there for the next intriguing passage of play. The Poker News live updates have all the nitty-gritty, but suffice to say, you could look through every single hand and not find evidence of anything but perfect poker.

Badziakouski was ground right down, but then doubled up with A♠8♠ versus Seidel’s K♦10♣. But Badziakouski slid again, giving Seidel a 4-1 chip lead — until Badziakouski built back once more.

The next all-in pot went to Badziakouski when he held on with pocket threes against Seidel’s A♠5♦. But Seidel doubled right back again, with A♣5♥ to Badziakouski’s Q♦5♠. Variance was now very high.

That took them to the dinner break. (They had tried to avoid it, but the series of double-ups meant they had no option.) But any food will hardly have had a chance to digest before the tournament was finally done.

Badziakouski won the first hand after the break when he rivered a straight, and he then pushed all-in with that suited ace, when Seidel had only 10 big blinds. “I have queens,” Seidel said as he turned over his premium pocket pair, but there was an ace on the flop and Seidel was defeated.

“It was a grind,” Badziakouski said of the heads-up battle. “We had lots of small pots, mostly small-ball strategy. Eventually I got luck on the all-ins.”

Badziakouski now has more than $37 million in live tournament winnings, and has 10 seven-figure scores, which speaks to more than just luck on all-ins. Even so, Badziakouski continued to play it down.

“The secret of winning is putting in more buy-ins,” he said. “There are a lot of high rollers around the world and I am playing all of them, so I put in a lot of money. And I end up cashing a lot as well.”

Whatever he says, that’s not easy to do. Badziakouski was brilliant here, showing all of his incredible skills. And he is our worthy Super High Roller champion.

Event #27 – €100,000 Super High Roller
Dates: August 14-16, 2022
Entries: 68 (inc. 16 re-entries)
Prize pool: €6,597,360

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