888Live London proves to be a huge success with all guarantees met as James Williams took down the Main Event, and Matas Cimbolas booked the win in the High Roller.
If we were to play Mirror Mirror On The Wall, one doubts the mirror would say that 888Poker is the fairest of them all. PokerStars usually hogs the thing; sitting there, combing hair. And then you have partypoker and their $20m Online MILLIONS trying to shove their mush into the frame.
But that’s ok with 888.
Take 888Live London, as an example. A few days ago, they wrapped up the event, after James Williams defeated a record 656-entrant field in Aspers Casino, Stratford, banking £121,000 in the process.
That’s a house, man.
For the longest time, it looked like Antoine Labat’s title. The Frenchman finished ninth in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event in the summer for a cool million bucks and then added $579,282 to that haul after his third-place finish in the partypoker MILLIONS UK in October.
And he was on fire, leading the way after Day 2.
But Williams is no mug.
Before turning up to Aspers on his roller skates, Williams had earned $357,322 in live tournament dollars, winning five events. Although 2018 has been a quiet year with only six cashes.
His previous most significant score was $86,946 after finishing runner-up to Priyan de Mel in the 2009 Grosvenor United Kingdom Poker Tour (GUKPT) Main Event in Blackpool.
It’s also worth giving a hat tip to Philippe Souki and Christos Xanthopoulos. Souki seventh a year after taking third and Xanthopoulos finished eighth after qualifying online for the price of a squash.
But it wasn’t the expected Williams v Labat heads-up encounter. The Frenchman fell in third, and that left Williams neck-and-neck with the painter and decorator Derek Lawless.
Like a box room, paint job it was over in 30-minutes.
The pivotal hand arrived early.
With the blinds at 125k/250k/250k, Lawless opened to 650k holding Qc4s, and Williams called with Kc6s. The flop was Kd9s3c, and Williams check-called an 800k Lawless bet. The turn was the Qh, and the same action ensued for 1.2 million. The final card was the 2h, Williams checked, Lawless moved all-in, and after using two time-bank chips, Williams made the correct call and took a 9-1 chip lead.
Lawless doubled twice to get back into contention.
Then Lawless opened holding AJhh and Williams called with Ks4c. The dealer planted Kh9d4h onto the flop to give both players action. Williams checked, Lawless bet 950k, and Williams called. The turn was the Ts, and both players checked. The river was the Tc, Williams checked again, Lawless moved all-in, and Williams made the tournament winning call.
Here are the final table results:
Final Table Results
1. James Williams – £121,000
2. Derek Lawless – £85,000
3. Antoine Labat – £57,140
4. Hak-Hyun Lee – £41,000
5. Adnan Dacic – £31,000
6. Aleem Kanji – £25,000
7. Philippe Souki – £20,500
8. Christos Xanthopoulos – £16,000
9. Craig Sweden – £12,500
Three more players who stayed on this Bronco longer than most were the 888 Ambassador and former WSOP November Niner Fernando Pons (13th), WPT Champions Club member Iaron Lightbourne (27th), and High Roller Thomas Müehloecker (28th).
Matas Cimbolas Wins The £2,200 High Roller
The WPT Champions Club member, Matas Cimbolas, took down the £2,200 High Roller. The event attracted 74 entrants (59 unique, 15 re-entries) like brooms attract witches, and Cimbolas picked up the fourth victory of his career after cutting an ICM deal with Tom Hall – taking the title courtesy of having the most chips.
Cimbolas has now earned $1.9m playing live tournaments, and only six days ago finished 8/325 in the GUKPT Grand Final in London for £15,000.
The Lithuanian is in fine form.
So too is Hall.
The man who has earned $2.5m playing live and $3.3m playing online as Jabracada won the Main Event here last year, and came into this one banking $691,991 in 2018, the best year of a career spanning close to a decade. Highlights for Hall include a runner-up finish to Raymond Curran in the 2,238-entrant $600 GOLIATH Milly in Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas for $143,737, 4/1015 in the MILLIONS UK at Dusk till Dawn (DTD) earning £300,000, and 4/2536 in the WPT500 at the Playground Poker Club in Montreal for $51,339.
Here are the final table results:
Final Table Results
1. Matas Cimbolas – £42,505*
2. Tom Hall – £37,515*
3. Paul Hizer – £20,000
4. Pascal Pflock – £15,000
5. Gerald Ringe – £11,000
6. Thomas Müehloecker – £8,000
7. Christopher Kyriacou – £6,500
8. Carlos Sanchez Diaz – £4,000
9. Martin Donoghue – £2,000
*Indicates a heads-up deal
The Best of the Rest
Arvydas Budvitis won the 887-entrant £220 Opening Event for £17,000. Natalia Drytchak won the 25-entrant £100 Ladies Event for £1,025. Chris Da-Silva won the 145-entrant £150 Whale for £5,070. Gary Solomons won the 81-entrant £125 Pot-Limit Omaha for £2,340. And Ian Hunter won an impromptu £5,000 Super High Roller beating. Manig Loeser, heads-up, to win the £28,800 first prize.
We finish with news of two big-name pros netting decent scores on 888Poker this weekend.
Roman “Romeopro33” Romanovskiy took down the $1,050, $50k GTD Whale beating 75-entrants to net the $26,250 first prize, and the former PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) Main Event Champ, Steven “Kale33” van Zadelhoff finished runner-up in the $215 Mega Deep for close to $16k.
Romanovskiy is currently ranked #8 in the PocketFives World Rankings and takes down more 888Poker online events than whores take down trousers.