Going into the final table of the PokerStars Championship Prague Main Event, it looked like it would likely come down to Kalidou Sow, Jason Wheeler, and possibly Michal Mrakes, and this is exactly what happened. Sow bested Wheeler heads-up for the title, winning €675,000 after a deal was made, while Mrakes came in third in what will be the last official PokerStars Championship Prague.
For those wondering about that last statement, I refer you to Earl Burton’s article from Sunday. The “Cliff’s Notes” are that the Stars Group has decided that it was a mistake to reorganize the European Poker Tour and smaller regional tours into the PokerStars Championship and PokerStars Festival, so the former tour names will return in 2018. That means no more “PokerStars Championship Prague,” though one would expect it will become “EPT Prague.”
As for the tournament this weekend, Sow was the chip leader going into the six-handed final table with 8.135 million chips, but he was in a virtual tie with Wheeler, who had 8.1 million. Mrakes was the only other player with any real semblance of a chip stack, holding 5.01 million chips. The other three players had fewer than 2 million chips each, hence why it looked like a three horse race.
As expected, the three short stacks were the first to be eliminated at the final table and after they were, Wheeler had grabbed the reins, building his stack to 11.86 million chips, with Mrakes elevating to second with 9.265 million and Sow falling to third with just 4.57 million.
A few hands later, Wheeler took a chunk from Mrakes to move upt o 13.2 million, but a few hands after that, Sow won a huge hand when he and Wheeler both flopped straights. Fortunately for Sow, his was the nut straight while Wheeler’s was on the low end and Sow doubled-up to reverse stacks, jumping all the way to 14.48 million.
That was Hand #67; on Hand 90, Wheeler eliminated Mrakes to send the tournament to heads-up with Sow holding a 14.085 million to 11.63 million chip lead. During a break before the showdown, the two men agreed to a deal in which both got €570,000 and left €105,000 for which to battle.
Sow stayed in control the entire heads-up match, gradually building his lead until Wheeler had no choice but to find something with which to commit. On Hand #109 (thank you to PokerNews for the play-by-play), Wheeler raised pre-flop with Ah-9s, Sow re-raised with Th-Td, and Wheeler moved all-in for about 6 million chips total. Sow made the quick call and Wheeler saw the bad news.
The flop was Jack-high with two spades, but the 5h on the turn took away any thoughts of a runner-runner flush for Wheeler. He was unable to procure an Ace on the river and France’s Kalidou Sow had his first-ever major tournament title (and his first six-figure cash, for that matter).
PokerStars Championship Prague Main Event – Final Table Results
1. Kalidou Sow – €675,000
2. Jason Wheeler – €570,000
3. Michal Mrakes – €332,000
4. Gabriele Lepore – €249,000
5. Harry Lodge – €196,000
6. Colin Robinson – €147,000