Estonia's Kaido Mikk etched his name into the Coolbet Open history books after an epic come-from-behind victory heads-up against Finland's Mikko Ylamaki in the 2022 Coolbet Open Spring Edition €550 Main Event to bank €65,700.
Mikk was near the top of the chip counts throughout the final day after a late surge on Day 2 before eventually getting heads-up against Ylamaki, who had the chip lead to start the day and on the entire final table until that point. The heads-up battle was a back and forth five-hour marathon with both players having each other on the ropes before Mikk pulled out the victory at the end.
For Mikk, it was the first international live poker tournament victory on his poker resume according to The Hendon Mob and easily his largest win with the victory heads-and-toes above the $10,180 Mikk accumulated leading into the event.
The event itself was a rousing success and even exceeded expectations despite a 2 1/2 year gap in Coolbet Open events due to the pandemic. The Coolbear, of course, was back along with tons of fun and comraderly among new players and old. The Main Event itself was the second biggest in its five event history with 648 entries generating a massive €311,040 prize pool. The top 79 players were scheduled to make at least a min-cash of €1,020, however, two players were eliminated on the same hand during hand-for-hand play in Line Lindsholm and Henning Stalsberg, who both officially cashed for €510 each.
Ylamaki led the final 18 players to start the final day, each securing a min-cash of at least €2,100 with runner-up Ylamaki in the lead and eventual winner Mikk in fifth place.
It wasn't looking good for the trophy for a second straight festival after Ott Karli Toome won the last Coolbet Open Main Event in November 2019 with three Estonians hitting the rail before the final table in Ranno Sootla (13th - €2,900), Tarmo Tammel (14th - €2,900), and Tanel Evert (18th - €2,100). Raymond Vilnes, Marthe Lyngvar, Kalle Ly, Thomas Hansen, and Renta Elina Kris Gatos also advanced to the final day but fell short of the final table before Ylamaki ousted Eetu Sepponen on the final table bubble.
Ylamaki began the final table with the chip lead with Mikk as his closest competitor and the eliminations took place at a relatively fast place before heads-up play began.
Fireworks erupted nearly immediately with after Sweden's David Berggren jamming kings and hit the rail after Lithuania's Paulius Kostickis woke up with aces. Kostickas was the table terminator early on as he also took out popular Norwegian poker streamer Ylva Thorsrud on a flip when his king-queen suited got there against nines.
Ylamaki was dealt aces more than once at the feature table before the final table began and got them once again to the dismay of Quang Doan who unsuccessfully got his stack in with sixes.
Vegard Andreassen then dispatched the short-stacked Atli Thrastarson when his queen-four improved against king-five. Andreassen's success was short lived as he lost a flip for his tournament life soon after losing a flip with fives against Mikk, who committed more than half his stack with ace-jack.
Ylamaki then delivered a cooler to Kostickas when his cowboys held against a suited big slick to leave just three players remaining. Moments later, Kalle Mikkonen was eliminated on the podium after his ace-four didn't hold against Mikk's ten-eight.
Ylamaki began what turned out to be a nearly five-hour heads-up marathon with nearly double the stack of Mikk. The tables were quickly turned with Mikk winning small pot after small pot early on to win the chip lead before extending it to a 3:1 chip advantage.
It wasn't close to over yet, as Ylamaki won a timely flip to double his stack when his ace-nine won against Mikk's fives. Ylamaki won a few hands and had Mikk down to four big blinds before Mikk mounted an epic comeback for the ages.
Mikk first doubled with king-five against king-four before sucking out and doubling up a second time when his ace-nine connected with an ace to beat queens. At this point, Mikk had the lead. Ylamaki jammed with jack-seven and couldn't win the flip to stay alive after Mikk called with fours.
Congratulations to Kaido Mikk for an amazing victory in the Coolbet Open and see you next time!
* Hands live reported by Arved Klohn and Jason Glatzer
* Photos courtesy of the Coolbet Open / Elena Kask