Dzmitry Urbanovich has taken the lead in the 2015 Global Poker Index Player of the Year race after winning four side events at the European Poker Tour festival in Malta.
PokerStars EPT Media Coordinator, Mad Harper, suggested the guys and gals in the European Poker Tour (EPT) media room should create a short cut on their keyboard for that name.
It was sound advice.
The Pole didn’t just have a great festival, he had a record-breaking festival, as the only player in the history of the tour to win four side events.
He came into the festival with his hoodie on fire, beating a table full of Germans on his way to victory in the €2,200 buy-in High Roller event at the Eureka Poker Tour in Rozvadov.
It proved to be a good testing ground.
Up until a side event victory at the 2015 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA), he had skirted around the edges of most live tournaments. That all changed in Malta.
Nobody got off to a better start than the Pole. The first event of the festival was the €25,000 buy-in High Roller. Urbanovich rounded up the cash, took a shot, and ripped the goal posts out of the ground. He beat 88 entrants – some of the best players in the world – on his way to a bankroll busting €572,300.
That win would be enough to switch a lot of people off. Visions of grandeur would sweep in. Thoughts of a job well done preventing any further interest in a festival that was just about to get interesting.
In the space of the next 10-days he would make the final table of five more events, and would win three of them. In total, the young Pole took over €700,000 out of the EPT Malta prize pools, and his four victories would set a new EPT record. The Global Poker Index (GPI) would also note his supremacy. At the time of writing, he currently sits on top of the 2015 GPI Player of the Year (POY) leaderboard.
It wasn’t just Urbanovich trying to propel Poland into the running for an appearance at the 2016 Global Poker Masters (GPM). Piotr Franczak – who came into the festival on the back of a WPT Vienna High Roller victory – also made two final tables, finishing sixth and third. Incredibly, Urbanovich won both of the events that Franczak came close in.
The third Pole who had a great series was Dominik Panka. The former PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) Main Event champion, came close to making it EPT Main Event title two, finishing third behind the two Frenchman in the Malta Main Event. He was one card away from serious contention. He also had to survive nine all-ins, on his birthday, to get the chance to see that one card. The fine margins of tournament poker plain for all to see.
Panka and Franczak did well.
Urbanovich did great.
But was the Pole’s performance more impressive than the run Dan Smith enjoyed during the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo back in 2012? The American took down 101, 175 and 98 entrant €5,000 fields to win three side events and take home over half a million euros.
Now that’s a tough call.
I’ll allow you to have the final word on that one.