United Kingdom's Oliver Hutchins won the trophy in the €500,000 guaranteed PPC Malta €550 Main Event for €71,000 after a back and forth heads-up battle with Croatia's Damir Savio.
Hutchins entered the final day near the top of the pack which continued along with one of the bigger stacks until the final table where he eventually shipped the bacon after making a heads-up deal with Savio with a sizeable €13,000 and the coveted PPC trophy still on the line.
The win more than tripled the $25,023 in lifetime live tournament cashes Hutchins has earned. That isn't to say he didn't appear calm, cool, and collected as he displayed impeccable skills throughout the event and is known to play a bit online including winning a €109 satellite to initially join the event.
The PPC Malta Main Event provided tremendous value to everyone that cashed, especially those that made the final day, thanks to the 848 entries falling €76,000 shy of meeting the generous €500,000 guarantee slapped on the event.
While the Main Event was certainly the main attraction, the PPC Malta festival as a whole provided a lively environment featuring tons of events away from the tables for its players including a VIP party last night at Portomaso Club 22 with panoramic views that lasted until the early hours of the morning. Additionally, the PPC Malta was littered with tons of low-limit events for everyone to enjoy along with a €2,200 High Roller for those with bigger bankrolls.
Final Table Payouts
|1||Oliver Hutchins||United Kingdom||€74,000*|
|8||Bradley Gudgeon||United Kingdom||€8,000|
*Reflects heads-up deal.
Final Day Action
The final day began with Massimo Rossi leading the way with 15 survivors, each guaranteed at least a €4,500 payout, competing for the trophy.
Players were hitting the rail at a fast and furious pace to start the day and the final table was set after Savio's ace-trey held to eliminate Nicolas Plantin on the money bubble in 10th place.
Savio entered the final table with the chip lead with Jingchun Yu and Hitchens as his closest competitors. On the flip end of things, Giuseppe DiBella entered the final table with crumbs in his stack and was the first to go when his queen-jack didn't hold against the five-four suited held by Federico Cirillo.
Bradley Gudgeon had a bit of a Cinderella story in the making. He certainly had the best ROI in the event having qualified to a PPC Malta Online Day 1 for just €11. He eventually ran out of gas on a bad beat when his cowboys fell to Savio's big slick to hit the rail in eighth place.
Savio kept the pedal to the medal and very soon after he won a coinflip to eliminate Federico Petruzzelli with his big slick once again winning, this time against his opponent's jacks.
A bit of time passed before anyone else hit the rail. But then two players crumbled at once in the same hand. The affable Wouter Schuurbiers, who enjoys mixed cash games at Portomaso on a frequent basis and had many of his friends in Malta and from the Malta Poker Fish Facebook group cheering him on in the live stream, jammed queens. Unfortunately for him, Rossi had aces that held. Meanwhile, Cirillo had slightly more than two big blinds while in the big blind and called off with nine-deuce to also end his run in the Main Event.
Both before and after this hand, Rossi was on a rollercoaster ride. His light three-bet jams with hands like queen-five were getting through and definitely loosened some of the action at the table. It appeared that Rossi got his hand caught in the cookie jar when he jammed ace-nine suited with a second-place stack into Savio's ace-queen. But his nine paired the board and he took the chip lead before things began to fall apart for the Italian poker player.
Rossi paid off Hutchins in one hand before fully doubling him up into the chip lead shortly after leaving himself short on chips. All of a sudden, he was on the rail when his ace-ten suited didn't hold against the Yu's queen-jack suited.
Although Yu won that hand, he was the next on the rail when his king-four didn't get there against Hutchins' king-queen. A small break took place for heads-up play with Hutchins resuming the action with nearly double the chips of Savio.
Heads-up play was a back-and-forth battle. Hutchins extended his lead and initially appeared to have his opponent on the ropes only for Savio to come back and eventually not only take the lead but have Hutchins on the ropes with a 4:1 chip advantage. Hutchins nearly evened the stacks before regaining the lead and the duo agreed to a deal to reduce the €30,000 gap initially scheduled between first and second places.
The lead continued to go back and forth until stacks were very shallow. Savio jammed with seven-six suited and was outmatched by Hutchin's queens. Two hands later, Savio jammed king-nine and finished one spot away from the win while collecting a tasty €58,000.
Congrats to Oliver Hutchins on an amazing victory at the PPC Malta!
The PPC Follows Hutchins Back Home to the United Kingdom
For those of you that missed out on the fun, rest assured the partypoker Championships have another stop just around the corner with the £500,000 guaranteed PPC UK at Dusk Till Dawn in Nottingham, England from April 29 to May 2. Online Day 1s will also be taking place online at partypoker where you can potentially qualify for as little as $0.01.
PokerListings will also be back at other events throughout the year, so be sure to watch this space.