The high roller event at the 888live Festival in Rozvadov featured EPT winners, high roller specialists, the Serial Qualifier and some controversy.
Martin Kabrhel laughed, joked and argued himself into second place while Niall Farrell and Ludovich Geilich debated the size of the buy-in before diving in.
In the end, German Jonas Kraft won the first-ever 888poker Live festival High Roller -- but he didn't get much of a laugh out of it.
Kabrhel Called Out
While Kraft is the winner of the first 888 High Roller at the King’s Casino Rozvadov, local regular Martin Kabrhel definitely made the most noise.
This is my big smile. (Photo: ©Fabfotos)
Kraft was low in chips for the early stages of the final table while Kabrhel used a big chiplead to stay in control and run the table. But once Kraft doubled up, he worked his way slowly to the top.
When heads-up play began Kraft had surged to a 2-1 chiplead and although Kabrhel managed to double up once to almost even, Kraft never let the reins go and eventually took every chip.
Kabrhel has won an EPT and several high roller titles and is regularly seen playing high stakes heads-up with Leon Tsoukernik in the King’s Casino.
At the table he’s a lively character but he tends to take so long for his decisions that he gets the clock called on him often - and he doesn’t take it well.
The player most undeterred by Kabrhel’s antics was eventual winner Kraft, who seems to be a man hard to impress.
“I don’t laugh very often,” said Kraft during the winner ceremony. When the photographer asked him for the big smile of a winner, he answered “this is my big smile."
Philip Zukernik, nephew of casino CEO Tsoukernik, finished in third place while Pierre “the Serial Qualifier” Neuville became the unlucky bubble boy in fourth.
"It's a Very Good Combination"
The high roller event was a small tournament with 21 entries overall, creating a prize pool of about €100k thanks to the €5,300 buy-in.
Although the tournament was small it had quite a few big names in it. British EPT heroes Niall Farrell and Ludovic Geilich played, and they had their own theory about the field size.
Neuville (right): Fan of 888Live. (Photo: ©Fabfotos)
“The buy-in is too high," said Geilich. “Not in absolute numbers, but compared to the main event.”
Farrell agreed: “It’s almost directed at a different crowd. Maybe they should have made it £2,200 to bring more main event players in. But we’ll still play.”
While Farrell bowed out on Day 1 Geilich came close to making money. He made the final table with one of the smaller chip stacks but went completely card dead and eventually busted, visibly frustrated.
Pierre Neuville’s tournament went better, but also worse. He was ssecond in chips for several hours until he lost a huge pot 4-handed against Kabrhel. Neuville flopped a set and built the pot but Kabrhel hit a gutshot draw on the river for the nuts and the Belgian couldn’t find a fold.
Neuville is sporting a “The Big One” patch in Rozvadov and proclaimed himself as a fan of both the King’s Casino and 888poker.
“It’s a very good combination," he said. “The King’s Casino is going to get some of the biggest names in the world with the ‘Big One’ and that will be a breakthrough.”
“888poker is very good at treating the players well and making them feel comfortable. The staff are very friendly and agreeable and I’m going to move more of my live game to 888poker in the future.”
Watch the live stream coverage of the ongoing main event right here every day at 4 pm local time featuring cards-up coverage and commentary from David Tuchman and Parker Talbot.
888Live High Roller Event Payouts
|2||Martin Kabrhel||Czech Republic||€29,925|