Full Tilt Poker embarked on its annual Merit Cyprus Classic this week, and players did not hesitate to head to the beautiful Mediterranean island for some sun and poker fun. With two big tournaments on tap and plenty to do and see in between, Full Tilt was prepared for a solid turnout in Cyprus.
HIGH ROLLER FREEZE OUT
The first event on the schedule was the $25,000 buy-in High Roller Freeze-Out. A total of 36 players bought in, with some of the biggest names in the game, like Phil Ivey and David Benyamine, not to mention several November Nine members like Michael Mizrachi, Filippo Candio, and John Dolan. But only 9 players survived to Day 3, though Carter Phillips, Ziv Caspi, and Dolan all busted from the table without making the money. Sam Trickett bubbled the money, after which the final five battled for their take-home pay.
Jon Turner busted in fifth place, courtesy of Perica Bukara, for $41,467 rather quickly, and Bukara then took out Benyamine in fourth place for $82,935. Three-handed play went on for four hours until Ori Miller sent Andrew Feldman packing with $124,402 for third place. And the heads-up match between Miller and Bukara finally ended with Bukara holding against the all-in of Miller with . The board of gave Bukara two pair, leaving Miller with $207,337 for second place. Bukara claimed victory and $373,207 in prize money.
The Merit Cyprus Classic Main Event got underway on Friday, August 20, and the $5,000 + $400 boasted of two starting days. Players started with 20K in chips but could add-on more chips during the first five levels of action. It was a little change to the normal tournament format, but players were up for the challenge.
Day 1A attracted 109 players, including Michael and Eric Mizrachi, John Racener, Chino Rheem, Tommy Vedes, Chip Jett, Kelly Kim, and Van Marcus. But the end of the day found only 80 players with chips. Nicolas Chouity was the leader with 119,600 chips, and all of the survivors took a day off to enjoy the island before returning to action.
Day 1B brought another 72 players to the tables, making for a total field of 181 players and prize pool of just under $1.3 million. The totals were going to allow for the top 18 players to receive payouts of a minimum of $12,995 with the ultimate winner taking home $415,780. Some of the names at the tables that day included John Dolan, Sorel Mizzi, Karina Jett, Joe Cassidy, Jennifer Leigh, Ben Roberts, Antonio Esfandiari, and Roy Winston. Another five levels of play went down before the day was done and left 61 players remaining, and Roy Yaacoub was atop the leaderboard with 96,700 chips.
Day 2 brought the 141 players who survived their first days together to thin the field ever closer to the money, and seven levels were played to do just that. Some of the players who exited along the way were Chino Rheem, Michael Mizrachi, John Racener, Sorel Mizzi, Carter Phillips, Antonio Esfandiari, Dominik Nitsche, and Karina and Chip Jett. There were 45 players bagging chips when it was over, but the one who not only made it through but did it with the most chips was Manig Loeser, who ended the day with 337K.
Day 3 started with 45 players, but on the way toward the money, players like Joe Cassidy, Soren Kongsgaard, John Dolan, and Bruno Stefanelli were eliminated with nothing but memories of Cyprus. It was at the very end of the day that the money bubble burst, and it happened when Elias Brussianos pushed his last 91K all-in with against the of Georges Hanna. The board came , and Hanna took the pot while Brussianos departed in 19th place. The rest of the players were guaranteed a minimum of $12,995, and the day soon ended with those 18 players still in the running for the title. Some big names still in were David Benyamine, Kelly Kim, Eric Mizrachi, and Andreas Krause, but it was Mathieu Clavet in the chip lead with 650K.
The intention of Day 4 was to play down to the final table, and that is exactly what happened. It didn’t take long for the action to move things along, as players like Eric Mizrachi exited in 18th place, Kelly Kim left in 16th, David Benyamine departed in 12th, and Chris Karagulleyan went away in 11th. A while later, on the final table bubble, Nanos Koustantinos got involved in a preflop battle of the blinds with Zsolt Vasvenszki resulting in Koustantinos all-in for his last 413K with . Vasvenszki showed , and the board of delivered a hurtful beat with the straight to knock Koustantinos out of the tournament in seventh place with $42,230.
The final table of six was set for Wednesday, August 25, as follows:
|Seat 1: ||Mathieu Clavet ||940,000 |
|Seat 2: ||Zsolt Vasvenszki ||1,885,000 |
|Seat 3: ||Ahmet Ucali ||420,000|
|Seat 4: ||Hakan Dalokay ||266,000 |
|Seat 5: ||Van Marcus ||1,436,000 |
|Seat 6: ||Andreas Krause ||849,000 |
Action got underway with the very short-stacked Dalokay ready to move, and he did it from the big blind holding A-Q. Original raiser Marcus got out of the way, but Vasvenszki made the call with two black fives. The flop of was interesting because each player had a club, but the red five on the turn gave Vasvenszki the set, and the on the river didn’t make the flush. Hakan Dalokay was the first to leave the table, taking with him $55,220 for the sixth place finish.
Ucali was next on the list of short stacks coming into the day’s play and soon pushed all-in from the big blind with pocket jacks. Original raiser Clavet called instantly with A-Q, and the race was on. The 9-8-7 flop was an interesting one, and the 9 on the turn left the jacks in the lead, but the ace fell on the river to give Clavet the best two pair. Ahmet Ucali was eliminated in fifth place with $68,215.
Vasvenszki led the final four players, with Clavet closing in from second place. The short stack was Krause, though he soon found his opportunity to double through Vasvenszki, and the latter continued to lose ground throughout four-handed play.
Finally, with only 390K remaining, Vasvenszki pushed all-in with A-4 of clubs. Krause made the call with pocket tens, and the board produced a non-club driven 9-7-2-7-9 board. Krause scooped the pot as Zsolt Vasvenszki departed in fourth place with $90,950.
Krause held a solid chip lead, and Marcus started three-handed play on the short stack, but he was able to double through Clavet to stay alive and climb into second place. Clavet became aggressive, but Krause bullied the table with his bigger stacks.
Marcus was eventually relegated to a stack of approximately 600K, and he pushed it with A-6. But Clavet made the call with A-J, and Marcus was going to need some help. The board came , and that was not the help he needed, as Clavet only improved to jacks and sevens. Van Marcus was gone in third place with $162,415 for the effort.
Heads-up play then got underway with the following chip counts:
|Andreas Krause ||3,850,000 |
|Mathieu Clavet ||1,945,000 |
The duo jousted for a short time before Clavet got all his chips in the middle with A-5 against the pocket eights of Krause, and an ace on the river gave Clavet the double-up and the chip lead. But it took only moments for Krause to do the same, as Krause moved all-in with 6-5, Clavet called with A-9, and a five came on the flop to double Krause and put him back in the lead with about 4.5 million chips.
Clavet made his move shortly thereafter, this time with . Krause called with , and the race ensued as the dealer brought them a board of . The pocket fives held up and turned into a full house to eliminate Mathieu Clavet in second place, for which he received $285,850.
Andreas Krause of Germany won the Merit Cyprus Classic and took home $415,780 for the accomplishment.