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Phil Ivey Dominates Super High Roller Series Europe

by Erik Fast |  Published: May 11, 2022


The Merit Crystal Cove Hotel-Casino in North Cyprus was the center of the high-stakes tournament poker world from Apr. 2 – 15, with the consecutive Triton Poker Cyprus and Super High Roller Series Europe festivals both counting towards the same series leaderboard.

All told, there were 16 events included in the points race. Living poker legend Phil Ivey made the final table in five of those events, winning two titles and securing $2,880,100 in scores along the way.

“It’s still nice,” Ivey said after locking up his second title of the series. “It’s always nice to win a tournament.”

These were Ivey’s first live tournament results recorded since August of 2021. He has played far fewer tournaments in recent years after becoming involved in a protracted legal battle with both The Borgata and London’s Crockfords Casino. The lawsuits stemmed from Ivey winning millions from the casinos thanks in part to ‘edge sorting’ while playing baccarat.

In 2019, his winnings at the World Series of Poker were seized to be used towards payment to The Borgata. Although a settlement was reportedly reached in 2020, Ivey has kept his play abroad. In fact, his win and runner-up finish in 2021 also took place in Kyrenia, Cyprus.

This time around the 45-year-old American poker pro did even better, accruing a total of 1,725 rankings points, 570 more than any other player at the series. As a result, he was crowned the Super High Roller Series Europe overall champion and awarded a trophy and $25,000 in additional prize money.

The Poker Hall of Fame member and 10-time WSOP bracelet winner now has more than $34.6 million in lifetime tournament earnings. As a result of his impressive performance, he leapfrogged Fedor Holz ($34,373,043), Mikita Badziakouski ($34,570,712), and Cary Katz ($34,630,541) to move into ninth place on poker’s all-time money list.

Ivey Starts Strong In Triton Events

Although Ivey maintained his heater through most of the series, he was particularly dominant during the Triton Poker Cyprus segment of the festival. He got started with a fourth-place showing in the $50,000 six-max no-limit hold’em event that kicked off the series.

Ivey earned $387,000 in that tournament, which was won by Andras Nemeth. Last issue we brought you the results from both that event and the $100,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em event won by Teun Mulder.

The third tournament to reach a conclusion was a late-addition $50,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em turbo event. The single-day event attracted 41 total entries to build a prize pool of just less than $2 million. Bustouts came at a steady pace after registration closed, and soon the six-figure money bubble approached while most players were left with just a few big blinds to play with.

After Chin Wei Lim lost the last of his two big blinds to burst the bubble, Austrian poker pro Matthias Eibinger made quick work of a stacked final table to secure the title and the top prize of $676,000. Ivey finished fifth in that event for $179,000, which turned out to be his smallest score of the series.

Just two days later, Ivey made his third final table through the first four events of the festival. He defeated a field of 51 entries in the $75,000 buy-in short deck event to secure the top prize of $1,170,000.

This was the seventh-largest payday of Ivey’s career. This win also marked the ninth time that he cashed for seven figures in a poker tournament. Ivey sent home Wai Kin Yong on the money bubble and then busted all but one of the other players remaining on his way to securing the title.

Elton Tsang had already made the final table in the first two events of the series. The 2016 Big One for One Drop Invitational winner finished fourth in this event for $408,000 but was far from done piling up massive paydays at this series.

The next day, Tsang finished fourth again in another $75,000 short deck tournament, adding another $343,000 to his tally. Winfred Yu came out on top in the end, defeating Ivan Leow heads-up to secure the title and $1,010,000 top prize.

Action Heats Up At Super High Roller Series

The Super High Roller Series Europe action picked up right where the Triton festival left off, without even a single day off in between. The kickoff event was a $25,000 buy-in pot-limit Omaha event.

Tom Vogelsang topped a 40-entry field to earn $360,000 for the win. The Dutch player cashed for more than $1.75 million in a week, having finished second in the $100,000 no-limit hold’em event for nearly $1.4 million just a few days earlier. Ali Imsirovic placed fifth for his 14th final-table finish of the year. He was far from done making noise in Cyprus, though.

The second event on the SHRSE agenda was a $50,000 short deck which drew 42 entries. 30-year-old Belarusian tournament star Mikita Badziakouski emerged victorious, defeating none other than Ivey heads-up to secure the title and the top prize of $756,000. Ivey earned $504,000 for his fourth final-table finish of the series.

Badziakouski increased his lifetime tournament earnings to more than $34.5 million after taking down this title, which is good for 11th place on the all-time earnings leaderboard.

Jason Koon finished third in this event for $336,000. He had logged two fifth-place finishes during the Triton events, and this would be the first of five third-place finishes for the American star during the SHRSE.

Germany’s Marius Gierse went from worst to first on the final day of event no. 3, a $25,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em event. He started as the short stack on day 2 and ended up as the last player standing.

Gierse earned a career-best payday of $432,000 for his comeback victory, increasing his career live earnings to more than $2 million in the process. He topped a stacked final table that included Ali Imsirovic (4th – $160,000), Jason Koon (3rd – $208,000), and Danny Tang (2nd – $320,000).

Phil Ivey closed out his incredible run in Cyprus by taking down the $50,000 buy-in pot-limit Omaha event. He overcame a 32-entry field in the PLO tournament to earn $640,000, defeating Imsirovic heads-up to secure the trophy.

Ivey earned a total of 1,964 Card Player Player of the Year points across his five final-table finishes, enough to move him into 13th place in the overall standings despite no prior qualified scores this year. He also shot up the leaderboard and into second place in the PokerGO Tour points race.

Imsirovic earned $416,000 as the runner-up, the largest payday of his 16 POY-qualified final-table finishes made so far in 2022. With four titles won and nearly $2.9 million in earnings, the 27-year-old is once again the clear leader in both the Card Player and PGT points races. As the reigning champion in both races, he is now well-positioned to make history as the first back-to-back POY winner for either race.

Bracelet winner Danny Tang came out on top in the $50,000 short deck event that was next up on the schedule. The 29-year-old poker pro from Hong Kong defeated a field of 32 entries to earn $640,000. This was the fourth-largest score of his career, which increased his lifetime total to more than $10.4 million.

Lun Loon earned $416,000 as the runner-up finisher, while Koon locked up $416,000 for his fifth final-table showing and third third-place of the series. He still had two more podium finishes in him before all was said and done.

A $25,000 no-limit hold’em turbo event was added to the schedule. The fast-paced affair saw 31 entries quickly narrowed down to one winner in Canada’s Timothy Adams. The bracelet winner and 2020 Super High Roller Bowl Russia champion earned $310,000 after coming out on top.

The next event up was another $50,000 buy-in, this time with the game being no-limit hold’em. The event saw Daniel Dvoress become just the 35th player in poker history to accumulate more than $20 million in recorded tournament earnings. The 33-year-old Canadian poker pro surpassed this milestone after beating out a field of 43 entries to earn $731,000, bringing his total to $20,185,994.

Dvoress had finished third ($124,000) to Adams just before playing out this event. Fellow Canadian bracelet winner Sam Greenwood was the runner-up ($473,000), while Koon added $322,500 for his fourth third-place finish and Adams earned $236,500 as the fourth-place finisher.

The marquee Super High Roller Bowl Europe kicked off with three events still remaining to play on the SHRSE schedule. An in-depth recap of that event can be found on pg. 20.
A $25,000 buy-in pot-limit Omaha event ran alongside day 1 of the SHRB Europe main event. It drew 20 players to build a $500,000 prize pool that would be divided up between the top three finishers.

Finnish bracelet winner Eelis Parssinen came away with the title and the top prize of $270,000. This was his third final table in a pot-limit Omaha event at the series, having placed sixth in the kickoff $25,000 buy-in event for $50,000 and fourth in the $50,000 buy-in for $176,000. The score saw him increase his live tournament earnings to just shy of $2 million.

The last two events of the SHRSE were held as the final table of the marquee $250,000 buy-in Super High Roller Bowl Europe played out. The first was a $50,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournament that attracted a total of 38 entries to build a $1,900,000 prize pool.

The top six finishers made the money in that event, with the largest payday going to eventual champion Elton Tsang ($684,000). This was Tsang’s fifth in-the-money showing and first title of the series. He now has nearly $14.7 million in lifetime earnings.

Dvoress finished as the runner-up, adding $456,000 to his already impressive haul this series. He ended with six cashes during the festival, totaling nearly $2.2 million. He ended up second on the player of the series leaderboard behind only Ivey. He now has more than $20.6 million in career cashes.

The final event of the tournament was another $50,000 short deck event. This one drew a smaller field of 19 entries, with Wai Kiat Lee securing $513,000 as the champion. This was the Malaysian player’s third final-table finish of the series, all coming in the short deck discipline. He had previously finished as the runner-up to Ivey in the $75,000 buy-in event for $840,000 and sixth in the $50,000 buy-in event for another $105,000 just a couple of days after that.

Jason Koon concluded his impressive series with his fifth third-place showing and seventh cash overall, adding another $152,000 to bring his total earnings in the festival to just shy of $1.9 million. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he placed third in the series points race. ♠