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Michel Molenaar Wins the 2022 The Festival Series Bratislava Main Event

Michel Molenaar
Michel Molenaar

On Sunday evening, Netherlands' Michel Molenaar defeated countrymate Gerianne Dijkstra heads-up to win The Festival Series Bratislava €550 Main Event for a massive prize of €126,650 at Banco Casino Bratislava.

Molenaar came into the final day as the chip leader with 16 players left and was near the top of the pack through in what was a dominating performance to remember en route to victory.

There were a few hiccups along the way but Molenaar remained calm, cool, and collected throughout the event. He also shared before the final table and before the heads-up action that there was no chance he would make a deal under any circumstances despite the top-heavy payouts.

The Festival Series Bratislava Main Event was a massive success story with 1,271 entries coming from far and near. This generated a gigantic €603,725 prize pool to smash the generous €500,000 guarantee slapped on the event.

The Festival Series Bratislava hosted 50 events in poker, casino, and sports wagering, which we will get into more detail in a separate article later. We will also announce in that article who the Player of The Festival Series will be awarded to based on a formula taking into account all of the events to win a full package to The Festival Series Nottingham at Dusk Till Dawn poker taking place from Feb. 13-19, 2023.

The Festival Series Bratislava Final Table Payouts

PlacePlayerCountryPrize
1Michel MolenaarNetherlands€126,650
2Gerianne DijkstraNetherlands€77,450
3Leo SigurdssonIceland€50,550
4Slavomir RakovanCzech Republic€36,975
5Peter KamarasHungary€27,900
6Sascha MannsGermany€20,375
7Mark BermanMalta€14,350
8Yasen DichevBulgaria€9,870
9Marton LugosiHungary€6,820
The Festival Series Bratislava Main Event
The Festival Series Bratislava Main Event Final Tables

Final Day Recap

Just 16 players remained on the final day of the Main Event. After a few hours, Aaron Frese bubbled the unofficial final table of nine players after he ran his ace-nine suited into the rockets held by Gerianne Dijkstra. Although the chips went in before the flop, Frese shared after the hand that he was glad he didn't have more chips as there was no chance he would get away from the hand with both an ace and a nine appearing on the flop.

Leo Sigurdsson took the lead to start the official final table after he eliminated Marton Lugosi in ninth place. Eventual winner Michel Molenaar wasn't too far behind and regained the captain's seat shortly into the action.

Dijkstra was getting amazing hands not only on the final table bubble but also near the beginning of the final table. Yasen Dichev hit the rail after running his big slick into Dijkstra's cowboys. Shortly after, Dijkstra snagged the chip lead to the delight of the huge Dutch rail when her rockets held to eliminate Mark Berman with sixes.

Meanwhile, Sascha Manns was at the final table for a second straight The Festival Series after finishing in ninth place in The Festival Series Tallinn in July for €3,950. He nursed a short stack throughout most of final day before time ran out on a coin flip when his jacks proved to be no good against the big slick held by Slavomir Rakovan.

The always-smiling Peter Kamaras was the next to exit when his ace-eight suited didn't get there against Sigurdsson's jacks. Sigurdsson, who came with a small crew from Iceland, was back with the chip lead with more than half the chips in play.

The event nearly had a different winner as shortly after this hand Molenaar jammed his ace-trey suited into Sigurdsson's jacks. An ace from space hit the board and instead of hitting the rail, Molenaar was back with the chip lead.

Molenaar then extended his chip lead when his king-jack held against king-four suited to oust a short-stacked Rakovan. Shortly after, Sigurdsson found himself short on chips and was out the door on the podium in third place when his queen-ten bricked the board against Molenaar's ace-eight.

Gerianne Dijkstra
Gerianne Dijkstra

The heads-up action lasted just two hands. Molenaar began the action with a nearly 3:1 chip advantage before the following hand took place.

Molenaar limped the button with jack-five suited and Dijkstra checked back her option from the big blind with seven-four. Molenaar called a two big blind bet by Dijkstra after the nine-nine-deuce came on the flop. A jack paired up Molenaar on the turn and he called a bigger bet of six big blinds. A blank six completed the board. Dijkstra had less than 10 big blinds left and jammed the river. Molenaar called and the rest was history.

A huge congrats to Michel Molenaar on his epic win. While this wraps up our coverage of the Main Event, be on the lookout early this week for an overall recap of The Festival Series Bratislava, and be sure to also tune back into PokerListings for our next live-reporting stop at The Malta Poker Festival at the Portomaso Casino from Oct. 26-31.

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