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Michael Soyza’s victory in the $75,000-entry Event #8 of the Northern Cyprus leg of the Triton Poker Series should come as no surprise to anyone. Soyza’s incredible record of late has seen him surge up to 62nd on the all-time money list, and his latest win came at the expense of one of the most in-form players in world poker.
With 55 unique players and 87 total entries, a prizepool of $6.25 million saw just 13 players rewarded with profit. It was the Danish player Henrik Hecklen who burst the money bubble, losing with pocket tens to Dan Smith’s king-jack to leave the tournament empty-handed. Smith would surge into the final table of eight, but others fell before that took place, with British player Ben Heath, Event #1 winner Santosh Suvarna and German powerhouse Christoph Vogelsang all missing out on a seat at the last table in the room.
Nine still needed to go into eight for the official final table to be reached, and it was Mikalai Vaskaboinikau from Belarus who busted in that position, cashing for $182,500 when the Russian player Artur Martirosian’s pocket queens were better than his ace-jack on a jack-high flop. Behind them both, however, was Michael Soyza, who had been lurking with pocket aces, and scooped two scalps, sending the Russian for $241,500 in eighth place too.
That hand propelled Soyza into a big lead, allowing him to play hands he couldn’t with a lower chip mountain. Anyone who has seen Soyza in action knows how dangerous he is with chips. He can turn a hand worth absolutely nothing into the best bluff of the event.
With seven players remaining, Soyza’s quest got a little easier in that the American player Dylan Linde was eliminated from proceedings for a score of $310,000. The home brew fan and most successful live player in Idaho’s history ran king-jack into Michael Addamo’s pocket queens, missing out on the final half dozen and handing Addamo another chance at winning a seven-figure score, something Linde himself has only achieved once in his career in the 2018 WPT Five Diamond Classic.
Out next was the Austrian co-owner of the GTO poker site Pokercode, Matthias Eibinger. He was all-in with pocket tens, needing to hold against the ace-king of Soyza but couldn’t do so, crashing out instead for $391,500.
It was no time at all before five became four, as the Russian player Viacheslav Buldygin made his way to the rail to join the other victims of a tough final table that was being dominated by Soyza on a hot streak. Buldygin shoved with a short and ace-jack, but ran out of luck, with Soyza’s own pair of pocket tens managing to hold, and sending the Russian to the rail with $502,500, not bad together with his previous event win for $1,342,000 in the same series.
Just four players remained, but each of the four men still in with a chance of victory were looking for the latest win in a career full of them. Each player was a modern hero to many but it was ‘The Cowboy’ Dan Smith who busted in fourth place for $623,000. Smith was short too and he moved all-in with ten-eight of hearts hoping to hit against Soya’s pocket queens. No miracle came as Soyza flopped a set of ladies, and Smith bowed out before the podium places.
Three remained, but Michael Addamo would miss out on the chance to put his enviable heads-up record to the test once again. Addamo flopped a pair of aces holding ace-nine, but Soyza, who had pocket jacks, made a straight to eliminate the dangerous antipodean player just when he might have turned into a genuine threat. Addamo’s latest cash of $796,000 meant he went past $21.8 million in live tournament earnings in his poker career.
Heads-up, Soyza had a big lead, but despite Mikita Badziakouski being down to around 17 big blinds, the Belarussian fought back, doubling up not once but twice through Soyza. Eventually, however, the Malaysian got his man, winning the $1,735,000 top prize when his ten-five made top pair on the flop and a hero call on the river proved good against Badziakouski’s busted straight draw, sending the Belarussian home with the $1,200,000 runner-up prize.
Having won a career-high score of $2.2 million on the Triton Poker Series earlier this year, Michael Soyza’s latest victory puts him in the form of his life going into the biggest tournament of the year – the World Series of Poker.
Jackpot! You’ve flopped a winning hand! This article has surely added some extra chips to your stack. Tune in for more valuable insights and pro-level strategies!
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