When the six-handed final table of the PokerStars Championship Panama Main Event began, Kenneth Smaron was in third place with 1.855 million chips. He wasn’t in bad shape by any means, but he was still a million chips out of second and two million out of first, so he definitely had an uphill battle. Since I am mentioning his name at the outset, you might have correctly guessed that he climbed that hill successfully, winning the tournament and nearly $300,000.
At a typical final table, you have one or two players who tend to dominate or at least hold the chip lead for most of the way before the heads-up portion of the contest. Heads-up, it’s anyone’s guess what will happen. This final table was unique in that aside from Anthony Diotte, who was eliminated on the third hand, every player held the chip lead at some point.
Denis Timofeev began with the largest chip stack, but after Diotte’s elimination, it was Robin Luca Wozniczek who took over, just inching ahead of Timofeev. Wozniczek soon ran into trouble and Timofeev regained the lead. Wozniczek himself was eliminated on the 35th hand (told you he ran into trouble).
Harpreet Gill doubled through Timofeev soon after that and then went on a quick run to make his way to the top of the chip counts. He then got abused by Smaron, highlighted by a pot worth about 2.5 million chips.
For a long time after that, Smaron looked like he was running away with the tournament, building his stack at points to over 6 and 7 million chips. His two competitors, Timofeev and Gill, though, kept forging ahead, eventually pulling into nearly a three-way tie on Hand 156.
The chip lead was upended multiple times in the next few hands before Smaron knocked out Timofeev in third place. Going into heads-up, it was relatively close, with Smaron ahead 6.130 million to 4.895 million.
It didn’t stay close for long, as Smaron won it in just nine hands. On the final hand, Gill limped with T-8, Smaron raised to 350,000 with K-J of clubs, and Gill decided it was time to move all-in for his remaining 2.615 million chips. Smaron thought about it, but finally decided to call (obviously, or else this wouldn’t be the final hand). The flop was great for Smaron without actually giving him a hand – Q-A-9 with two clubs, giving him a royal flush draw. The next two cards did nothing for either player and Smaron won with his King-high.
Smaron, an accomplished online poker player, now has more than $1.2 million in live tournament earnings. This was his first major main event title, though he did win the 2015 European Poker Tour Prague High Roller for about half of his total earnings, $654,302.
2017 PokerStars Championship Panama Main Event – Final Table Results
1. Kenneth Smaron – $293,860
2. Harpreet Gill – $217,860
3. Denis Timofeev – $161,340
4. Jonathan Abdellatif – $119,480
5. Robin Luca Wozniczek – $88,480
6. Anthony Diotte – $65,520