The first high-roller event of the 2023 PokerStars European Poker Tour Paris has closed its curtains and it was Andre Marques who captured the title in the €10,200 Mystery Bounty. A total of 107 entries were recorded in this event which generated a prize pool of over $1,000,000 in cash and bounty prizes.
Marques earned the largest career tournament score of his career and the first six-figure payday of €128,500. He will also add €47,500 in bounty prizes to his total to kick off the festival being held at the Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile. It's been a fine start to the 2023 campaign for the Portuguese poker player who also earned two of his biggest scores at the 2023 PCA in The Bahamas just a couple of weeks ago.
Marques out-lasted a feisty Kayhan Mokri who is also one of the hottest players on the tour right now. Mokri has quickly become a big fan of the mystery bounty format after earning two $100,000 bounties in separate deep runs at the 2023 PCA. The Norwegian will actually go home tonight as the biggest winner, pocketing €82,950 for second place and accumulating a whopping €105,000 with at least 10 bounties.
Going into the heads-up match, both players were extremely satisfied with their performance thus far and had acknowledged that they thought it was going to be the two of them earlier on in the day. With only the smallest bounties still up for grabs at the end of the night, it was sheerly the trophy that Marques had his sights set on.
"I just want the Spade," Marques pointed to the illustrious Pokerstars trophy on the table. "I want first place!"
Final Table Payouts and Bounties
|Place||Winner||Country||Cash Prize (in EUR)||Bounty Prize (in EUR)|
|5||Ren Lin||United States||€35,050||€30,000|
|7||Mauricio Ferreira Pais||Germany||€21,550||€72,500|
|9||Zhi Yi Ning||Malaysia||€14,400||€0|
Day 2 Action
There were 45 players who returned to their seats for Day 2 but late registration was still open for another two levels. That led to an abundance of players joining or re-joining the field in the first hour. A total of 81 entries were recorded for this event, including 36 who registered on Day 2.
The mystery bounty portion of the tournament began at the start of level 13 and it didn't take any encouragement for the big stacks to go bounty-hunting whenever possible. That included the unimaginable quadruple elimination by Mauricio Ferreira Pais where he turned the nut straight to eliminate four shorter stacks in the blink of an eye.
Adrian Mateos was one of those players that busted short of the money but still had a bounty chip to redeem. After reaching into the treasure chest, Mateos pulled out the €75,000 bounty which was the largest on the board. The second largest bounty of €50,000 was awarded to Nikita Kuznetsov, who also collected over €17,000 for his eighth-place finish today.
The tournament excelled at a rapid pace en route to the final table, including the hand-for-hand portion which saw Erik Seidel fall to eventual third-place finisher Pedro Garagnani on the stone bubble. That allowed Stephen Chidwick and Jonas Hagstrom to squeak into the money with just a few big blinds apiece. Jamil Wakil, Julien Sitbon, and Bruno Volkmann were other notables who bowed out just shy of the final nine players.
Once gathered at one table, the first couple of eliminations came in quick succession with Zhi Yi Ning finishing up in ninth place and Kuznetsov being forced to settle for eighth. That was where the stalemate began with each of the final seven players grabbing a hold of the chip lead at one point in time.
Nearly two hours later and over 15 consecutive double-ups, the final seven were exhausted and it was evident that a massive cooler was the only way to break the deadlock. That it was when Ferreira Pais saw his pocket aces cracked by Pablo Navarro holding ace-jack. Navarro made a runner-runner straight to eliminate Ferreira Pais and take over the lead.
In a timely manner, the short stacks of Tom Orpaz and Ren Lin quickly filed out of the room, leaving just four players on the final break of the night. Once they returned, it was Navarro who was on the wrong side of the deck, sending over back-to-back double-ups to Marques and eventually succumbing to the blinds in fourth place. Garagnani held on to a short stack for much of the final table but managed to ladder his way up to third place for nearly €60,000 plus bounties.
That left Marques and Mokri to duke it out for the title and it was a short-lived heads-up match after Marques took a key pot in the early going. Marques continued to extend his lead in the next few hands and it all came to an end when he made a full house with rags against Mokri's seven-big blind stack.
That wraps up the coverage for this event from the PokerNews live reporting team, but things are just heating up at EPT Paris and there will be plenty of more tournaments to keep an eye on in the coming days.