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2017 PokerStars Championship Prague

Main Event
Jours 6
Event Info

2017 PokerStars Championship Prague

Résultats
Gagnant
Main Gagnante
1010
Prix
€675,000
Event Info
Buy-in
€5,300
Prize Pool
€4,146,750
Entrants
855
Info Niveau
Niveau
31
Blinds
80,000 / 160,000
Ante
20,000

Kalidou Sow Wins PokerStars Championship Prague Main Event (€675,000)

Niveau 31 : 80,000/160,000, 20,000 ante
Kalidou Sow
Kalidou Sow

Kalidou Sow didn't let a little trash talk get him off his game.

Quite the contrary, he laughed off some needles thrown his way by Jason Wheeler on the way to their eventual heads-up match, where he toppled the far more experienced American transplant to win PokerStars Championship Prague €5,300 Main Event in a field of 855 for €675,000.

That prize was an adjusted payout after the two made a heads-up deal that saw each player lock up €570,000, so Wheeler secured himself a hefty payday despite the disappointment of a second-place finish.

For Sow, a small to mid-stakes recreational player from France, the win comes after he had some success for years in his bread-and-butter €1K and €2K events but found himself unable to make a mark in the bigger events he'd take shots in. He likened the step up in competition to playing in soccer's famed Champion's League.

"It's very prestigious so it's a dream to win it," he said through a translator. "When you see so many great players who haven't won it, I realize how fortunate I am to be in this position."

When asked about his mindset, Sow stressed that an old poker cliche ran through his heads every day through the six-day grind: take it one day at a time.

Every night, Sow headed back to his room, ate a quiet meal alone and got his rest before coming back the next day with the goal of another round of survival. That remained his only goal, even on the days he bagged over 100 big blinds and found himself among the leaders.

One such day was the final day, when he carried an ever-so-slight chip lead over Wheeler into the streamed final table of six. The two seemed to be on a collision course, especially after taking turns busting short stacks Colin Robinson and Harry Lodge early on.

Lodge came in slightly the shorter of the two and said after his elimination he was happy to ladder once for a €49,000 bump.

Wheeler won a flip to bust Italian bitcoin investor Gabriele Lepore in fourth after those two also had some words earlier in the day when Lepore openly questioned a raise-fold by Wheeler that turned out to be correct.

The big moment for Sow came on Hand #67, when he and Wheeler both flopped straights, Sow's being of the nut variety. The massive cooler saw Sow double through into the lead and take command of more than half of the chips.

A bit later, the barbs started flying from Wheeler. Whether Wheeler was genuinely fired up or making a calculated strategic move to try to throw Sow off his game is a question only the veteran grinder can answer. Either way, he started climbing his way back toward the top and let Sow know he was coming for the throne.

"Let's f****** go," Wheeler said after picking off Sow with ace-high. "Try to win every pot, bro. You get one cooler, you think the tournament's yours. I'm still the one to beat."

Jason_Wheeler
Jason Wheeler

"Good luck," Sow responded with a smile.

"I don't need luck."

Then, Wheeler pulled the rug out from under Sow again when he limp-raised ace-king in a blinds battle and forced Sow to muck.

"Show me the bluff," Sow said.

"I'll show you the trophy soon," Wheeler replied.

For his part, Sow remained reserved and didn't start firing back.

"I let him get away with it because I knew he wanted to have a go at me and troll me," Sow said. "I think he thought he was facing amateur players so he wanted to get under our skin. I'm not one to play that kind of game."

Wheeler won another flip to send local hero and Day 1 leader Michal Mrakes packing in third and the heads-up stage was set. Before the battle could begin, though, talk of a deal commenced.

Sow had only a slight lead with deep stacks and Wheeler felt confident. He gave Sow only two options: leave €105,000 on the table and chop the rest evenly, or play for it all. Sow consulted with a French contingent that included EPT champ Jean Montury and EPT regular Jimmy Guerrero. They advised him to take the deal.

"He's a very good player," Sow said of Wheeler. "Accepting the deal was taking an insurance. I have no regrets and I don't have a big ego, so it was no problem."

What seemed like it could be a long match proved quite short, lasting only about 20 hands. Sow seemingly won every showdown and Wheeler just couldn't get any momentum. When they finally got the money in, Sow had Wheeler dominated with tens against ace-nine.

"Runs so pure," was all Wheeler could muster with a sigh before helplessly watching the board run out with nothing but bricks.

Kalidou Sow and Jason Wheeler

Wheeler congratulated Sow with a handshake before walking into the waiting arms of his girlfriend and heading to collect his bolstered payout.

As for the champ, he claimed to have only a muted celebration planned. A few drinks with friends — on him, of course — and then a flight home to Paris. There, he expects his poker career to continue as if nothing special even happened — he said he'll likely get back to playing €150 dailies not long after he sets back down.

But Sow let no matter how calm his demeanor throughout play and even after his win, this means something to him.

"I'm dreaming, this is incredible," he said.

Official Final Table Results

PlacePlayerHome CountryPrize
1Kalidou SowFrance€675,000*
2Jason WheelerUSA€570,000*
3Michal MrakesCzech Republic€332,000
4Gabriele LeporeItaly€249,000
5Harry LodgeUK€196,000
6Colin RobinsonUSA€147,000
7Matas CimbolasLithuania€104,000
8Valentyn ShabelnykUkraine€72,850
9Alexander MordvinovRussia€57,500

*reflects heads-up deal

Tags: Kalidou Sow

Jason Wheeler Eliminated in 2nd Place (€570,000)

Niveau 31 : 80,000/160,000, 20,000 ante
Kalidou Sow and Jason Wheeler
Kalidou Sow and Jason Wheeler

Hand 109: Jason Wheeler opened the button for 425,000 with {A-Hearts}{9-Spades}. Kalidou Sow, holding {10-Hearts}{10-Diamonds}, three-bet to 1,375,000 after some careful consideration.

Wheeler did a double take on his cards, glanced at his stack, and moved in for 6,035,000 total.

Sow looked surprised for a second and instantly asked how much it was. When he heard it was 38 big blinds, he tanked some more and called.

"Ooh man, you run so pure!" Wheeler said.

There was 12,110,000 in the pot and the flop came {4-Spades}{J-Clubs}{7-Spades}.

"Spade, spade would be sick!" Wheeler said.

The {5-Hearts} on the turn was as blank a card as it could come, Wheeler was down to just an ace on the river to stay alive.

Instead, the {K-Hearts} hit and that was it, Sow had won the PokerStars Championship Prague while Jason Wheeler had to settle for second place.

Wheeler and Sow shook hands, before Sow high fives his friends on the rail.

We'll bring you a recap of today's action shortly.

Joueur Jetons Progression
Kalidou Sow fr
Kalidou Sow
25,715,000 6,055,000
Day 5 Chip Leader
Jason Wheeler us
Jason Wheeler
Eliminé
WSOP 1X Winner

Tags: Jason WheelerKalidou Sow

Michal Mrakes Eliminated in 3rd Place (€332,000)

Niveau 30 : 60,000/120,000, 20,000 ante
Michal Mrakes
Michal Mrakes

Hand 90: Kalidou Sow opened button for 240,000 and Michal Mrakes jammed with {a-Clubs}{q-Spades} for 1,815,000. Jason Wheeler woke up with {6-Spades}{6-Hearts} and called. Sow folded.

The flop, turn and river came {k-Hearts}{j-Clubs}{q-Hearts}{3-Hearts}{6-Diamonds}, so while Mrakes grabbed the lead with a pair, Wheeler picked up a flush draw and then hit a set to score the elimination.

Joueur Jetons Progression
Kalidou Sow fr
Kalidou Sow
14,085,000 -1,055,000
Day 5 Chip Leader
Jason Wheeler us
Jason Wheeler
11,630,000 2,430,000
WSOP 1X Winner
Michal Mrakes cz
Michal Mrakes
Eliminé
Day 4 Chip Leader

Tags: Jason WheelerKalidou SowMichael Mrakes

Hands #62-67: Sow Doubles Through Wheeler

Niveau 30 : 60,000/120,000, 20,000 ante
Kalidou Sow
Kalidou Sow

Hand 62: Jason Wheeler opened on the button with {8-Spades}{8-Clubs} and Michal Mrakes defended with {k-Hearts}{10-Diamonds}. Mrakes check-folded to 330,000 on {7-Clubs}{2-Hearts}{4-Clubs}.

Hand 63: Kalidou Sow made it 275,000 with {k-Diamonds}{9-Spades} on the button and got three-bet to 735,000 by Wheeler, who had {a-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds} in the big blind. Sow gave it up.

Hand 64: Mrakes raised on the button to 275,000 with {k-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds}. He won the pot.

Hand 65: Wheeler raised with {k-Spades}{10-Clubs} on the button to 275,000 and won the blinds and antes.

Hand 66: Wheeler got a walk.

Hand 67: Wheeler raised to 335,000 with {7-Spades}{6-Spades} in the small blind and Sow called with {q-Spades}{j-Diamonds}. The flop brought {10-Diamonds}{8-Spades}{9-Hearts}, giving both players straights. Wheeler bet 350,000 and Sow flatted. Wheeler bet 700,000 on the {k-Diamonds} turn and Sow slid in 1,550,000. Wheeler shoved and Sow snap-called for about 5 million more.

The meaningless river was a {9-Spades}.

Joueur Jetons Progression
Kalidou Sow fr
Kalidou Sow
14,480,000 6,495,000
Day 5 Chip Leader
Jason Wheeler us
Jason Wheeler
6,980,000 -6,220,000
WSOP 1X Winner
Michal Mrakes cz
Michal Mrakes
4,260,000 -390,000
Day 4 Chip Leader

Tags: Jason WheelerKalidou SowMichal Mrakes

Gabriele Lepore Eliminated in 4th Place (€249,000)

Niveau 29 : 50,000/100,000, 10,000 ante
Gabriele Lepore
Gabriele Lepore

Hand 54: Wheeler held {5-Spades}{5-Diamonds} first to act and raised to 230,000. Sow called with {q-Spades}{10-Spades} on the button. Lepore came along from the big blind with {j-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds}.

The {3-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds}{6-Clubs} flop saw two checks to Wheeler, who bet 330,000. Lepore jammed for 1,960,000. Wheeler called. The turn was a {4-Clubs} and river a {10-Clubs} and the fives held to bust Lepore.

Tags: Gabriele LeporeJason Wheeler

Harry Lodge Eliminated in 5th Place (€196,000)

Niveau 29 : 50,000/100,000, 10,000 ante
Harry Lodge
Harry Lodge

Hand 27: Jason Wheeler in the small blind asked how much his neighbor Harry Lodge was playing, and then moved in with {A-Hearts}{J-Diamonds}. Harry Lodge called for 1,015,000 with {A-Spades}{5-Spades}.

The flop came {7-Hearts}{7-Spades}{9-Spades}, giving Lodge the flush draw and some chop outs. The {8-Clubs} on the turn added some additional outs for Lodge but the {Q-Hearts} on the river was a blank and Harry Lodge hit the rail in 5th place.

The remaining 4 players are now guaranteed €249,000.

Joueur Jetons Progression
Jason Wheeler us
Jason Wheeler
8,565,000 1,995,000
WSOP 1X Winner
Kalidou Sow fr
Kalidou Sow
8,200,000 -310,000
Day 5 Chip Leader
Michal Mrakes cz
Michal Mrakes
7,290,000 -870,000
Day 4 Chip Leader
Gabriele Lepore it
Gabriele Lepore
1,660,000 135,000
Harry Lodge gb
Harry Lodge
Eliminé
WSOP 1X Winner

Tags: Harry LodgeJason Wheeler

Hands #15-17: Mrakes Doubles Through Wheeler

Niveau 28 : 40,000/80,000, 10,000 ante
Michal Mrakes
Michal Mrakes

Hand 15: Kalidou Sow opened {K-Clubs}{6-Clubs} for 180,000 and Jason Wheeler defended his big blind with {8-Spades}{5-Spades}. On a flop of {7-Hearts}{10-Diamonds}{A-Clubs}, Wheeler check-folded to Sow's 190,000 continuation bet.

Hand 16: Action folded to Jason Wheeler in the small blind and he moved in with {K-Clubs}{6-Clubs} to put the pressure on Harry Lodge. Lodge found nothing to go to battle with and folded his {7-Diamonds}{4-Clubs}.

Hand 17: Michal Mrakes opened under the gun for 160,000 with {A-Spades}{A-Clubs}. Jason Wheeler, on the button, picked up {Q-Diamonds}{Q-Clubs} and made it 420,000 to go. Lodge and Sow both folded queen-ten suited before Mrakes moved in for 3,950,000.

"Can I get a count please?" Wheeler asked the dealer.

When he heard it was just under 4 million, he called.

The 8,080,000 pot would go to Mrakes as the board came {K-Spades}{2-Hearts}{5-Clubs}{8-Spades}{A-Hearts}.

Michal Mrakes
Joueur Jetons Progression
Michal Mrakes cz
Michal Mrakes
8,080,000 3,070,000
Day 4 Chip Leader
Kalidou Sow fr
Kalidou Sow
7,385,000 165,000
Day 5 Chip Leader
Jason Wheeler us
Jason Wheeler
6,750,000 -4,050,000
WSOP 1X Winner
Gabriele Lepore it
Gabriele Lepore
1,625,000 -190,000
Colin Robinson us
Colin Robinson
1,150,000 -275,000
Harry Lodge gb
Harry Lodge
700,000 -530,000
WSOP 1X Winner

Tags: Harry LodgeJason WheelerKalidou SowMichal Mrakes

The Final Table Gets Underway at 1 PM

Just six players remain, and the big money is still all up for grabs. The PokerStars Championship Prague, the first and last ever as the tour rebrands back to European Poker Tour next year, has reached its final table. Today is the day the trophy will be gifted - lifted by one of the remaining six players.

All finalists are guaranteed at least €147,000 for their efforts. The first-place payout of €775,000 awaits a winner, a spot in the history books remains vacant for now.

After an action-packed day 5 of the event, Matas Cimbolas busted in 7th place and play was suspended with 49:35 left in level 28 with blinds of 40,000/80,000 and a running ante of 10,000. The cards will be back in the air at noon local time (in 1 hours from now) and the live stream with hole cards being shown will run on a security delay of one hour. The PokerNews live updates will be published accordingly, so follow along here from 1 PM (2 hours from now).

Here's what the final table looks like:

SeatPlayerCountryChip CountBig Blinds
1Harry LodgeUnited Kingdom1,230,00015
2Kalidou SowFrance8,135,000101
3Michal MrakesCzech Republic5,010,00062
4Gabriele LeporeItaly1,815,00022
5Colin RobinsonUnited States1,425,00017
6Jason WheelerUnited States8,100,000101

Player profiles underneath courtesy of PokerStars:

Joueur Jetons Progression
Kalidou Sow fr
Kalidou Sow
8,135,000
Day 5 Chip Leader
Jason Wheeler us
Jason Wheeler
8,100,000
WSOP 1X Winner
Michal Mrakes cz
Michal Mrakes
5,010,000
Day 4 Chip Leader
Gabriele Lepore it
Gabriele Lepore
1,815,000
Colin Robinson us
Colin Robinson
1,425,000
Harry Lodge gb
Harry Lodge
1,230,000
WSOP 1X Winner