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Mikalai Pobal Wins 2019 European Poker Tour Prague Main Event

The Belarusian Became The Second Player Ever To Win Two EPT Main Event Titles Behind Victoria Coren Mitchell


Mikalai Pobal has won the 2019 EPT Prague €5,300 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event, becoming only the second player to ever secure two EPT main event titles. Victoria Coren Mitchell was the first to achieve the feat, having taken down both the 2006 EPT London and 2014 EPT San Remo main events. Pobal, who won EPT Barcelona in 2012, outlasted a field of 1,154 total entries this event to earn €1,005,600 ($1,116,216 USD).

In addition to the money and a place in poker history, Pobal also earned 1,920 Card Player Player of the Year points for the win. This win was his first final-table finish of the year, but it alone was enough to see him climb to 145th place in the 2019 POY race standings, which are sponsored by Global Poker.

The final day of this event began with Gaby Livshitz leading the final five players, with Luke Marsh having been eliminated at the end of day 5. Tomas Paiva was the first to hit the rail. He got all-in on a flop of 8Spade Suit5Heart Suit4Heart Suit holding QClub Suit8Club Suit for top pair. He was up against Livshitz’s JHeart Suit6Heart Suit for a flush and straight draw that also featured a live overcard. The 8Heart Suit on the turn filled Livshitz’s flush, but also gave Paiva outs to a full house. The 6Club Suit river was no help, though, and Paiva was sent home with $267,765 USD.

Pobal began the day as the second shortest stack, but managed to find two double-ups through Livshitz to climb back into contention. Pobal and Livshitz clashed yet again in the next major showdown of the day. Livshitz picked up ADiamond SuitQSpade Suit and limped in from the small blind. Pobal picked up ASpade SuitAClub Suit and raised to 325,000. Livshitz three-bet to 1,400,000. Pobal called and the flop brought the QDiamond SuitJSpade SuitDiamond Suit. Livshitz bet 725,000, only to have Pobal raise to 1,700,000. Livshitz moved all-in for 5,210,000 and Pobal quickly called with his overpair. Livshitz picked up a flush draw on the 5Diamond Suit turn, but the 7Heart Suit on the river was no help. He earned $351,626 USD as the fourth-place finisher.

With that Pobal jumped well out into the lead. Two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Norbert Szecsi was able to close the gap somewhat by winning a few pots off of Brazil’s Ricardo Da Rocha. Da Rocha got his last chips in with ASpade SuitJHeart Suit, only to run into the AHeart SuitQClub Suit of Szecsi. Da Rocha was unable to come from behind and was eliminated in third place ($467,810 USD).

Heads-up play began with Szecsi in the lead with 18,385,000 to Pobal’s 16,215,000. The two discussed making a deal before ultimately deciding to play on. Pobal was able to quickly overcome his slight chip deficit. He then check-called three streets with two pair, picking off a bluff from Szecsi to take more than a 3:1 chip lead.

The final hand was a heads-up cooler. Szecsi got his last 33 big blinds in with 8Spade Suit8Club Suit, only to find that he had run inti the KSpade SuitKClub Suit of Pobal. The 6Club Suit4Club Suit3Diamond Suit2Heart SuitAHeart Suit runout kept Pobal in the lead throughout, and Szecsi was knocked out in second place ($664,757 USD).

Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded to the final five:

Place Player Payout POY Points
1 Mikalai Pobal $1,116,216 1,920
2 Norbert Szecsi $664,757 1,600
3 Ricardo Da Rocha $467,810 1,280
4 Gaby Livshitz $351,626 960
5 Tomás Paiva $267,765 800

Winner photo credit: Neil Stoddart / Rational Intellectual Holdings Limited.