Aleksejs Ponakovs Bounces Back With a $25k NLH Win at EPT Cyprus ($216,810)

Aleksejs Ponakovs Bounces Back With a $25k NLH Win at EPT Cyprus ($216,810)

Another day, another $25,000 buy-in no-limit hold em tournament held at the PokerStars European Poker Tour (EPT) Cyprus. The fifth of such events at Merit Hotel Casino & Spa saw a field of 21 entries gather throughout the registration period, and was full of the best of the best, as usual.

This time it was Aleksejs Ponakovs who came out ahead, winning $216,810 and of course a lovely PokerStars trophy. He defeated Daniel Smiljkovic heads up, who received $136,100 for his efforts. Meanwhile, $50,000 Super High Roller champion Juan Pardo and high-stakes phenom Leon Sturm also picked up cashes to divide the rest of the $504,210 prize pool.

$25,00 NL Hold'em V Results

PlacePlayerCountryPrize
1Aleksejs PonakovsLatvia$216,810
2Daniel SmiljkovicGermany$136,100
3Leon SturmGermany$90,800
4Juan PardoSpain$60,500

Action of the Day

Ponakovs was present from the very first hand dealt, along with the familiar names of Vicente Delgado, Adrian Mateos, Gha Iakobishvili, and Sam Greenwood. Many more high-stakes regulars would soon show up, and at the end of late registration, 15 unique players had made a total of 21 entries. Four spots got paid, but many of pokers greats would not make the final table, including Delgado, Mateos, and Greenwood, the latter of which finished in ninth place to be the final table bubble.

Other names that were battling throughout the day but failed to make the final eight players were Kayhan Mokri, Mikita Badziakouski, Steve ODwyer, and winner of the previous $25,000 tournament at EPT Cyrpus Maher Nouira. Once seated at one table, it was Pablo Silva who fell first, quickly followed by Mikalai Vaskaboinikau, who was the only player to fire three bullets today.

The jovial Iakobishvili then heralded the bubble phase when he lost a preflop all-in to then-chipleader Sturm. The bubble took quite a while, and due to the relatively even stacks, the chip lead changed with every double-up, seeing Sturm, Artur Martirosian, and Smiljkovic obtaining it at one point or another.

The Final Phase

After an hour of bubble play the average stack amounted to fifteen big blinds, and going all in seemed to be the only option for a lot of players. Eventually, this caused a three-way clash when Sturm open-jammed the button with the biggest stack remaining, and both Pardo and Martirosian called. Sturm ace-five made trips against both of the players ace-jack and he regained the chip lead while simultaneously bursting the bubble. It was Pardo who had more chips than Martirosian, so he picked up the min-cash of $60,500 while Martirosian was left empty-handed.

Once in the money, the all-ins were quick and numerous. Smiljkovic immediately won a huge preflop flip against Sturm to obtain two-thirds of the chips in play and soon took the last few chips his fellow German was left with as well. Starting the heads up with a large chip deficit, Ponakovs battled back by winning the first preflop all-in of the heads up. Now with roughly even stacks, he took a big chip lead when he made a big value bet with a rivered full house, leaving his opponent with a mere nine big blinds. Those went in not long after, and Ponakovs ace-three held against the ten-eight of Smiljkovic to seal the victory.

Ponakovs had known a rough EPT Cyprus thus far, firing multiple entries in the high-stakes tournaments, of which three in the $50,000 Super High Roller, and only getting one min-cash in return until today. However, he rebounded in a big way today, taking home the $216,810 and the trophy that came with winning one of the $25,000 no-limit holdem tournaments at EPT Cyprus.

That wraps up the PokerNews coverage of this tournament, but be sure to keep coming back to check out all of the high-stakes, mystery bounty, and Main Event action one can wish for.

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