When the final day of action kicked off, Norwegian player Jon Kyte was in charge, leading the action after having taken control of the table. His stack was bigger than all four of his remaining opponents combined. Over the course of several hours, however, Padraig O’Neill went from short stack to EPT champion as he won the biggest prize of his poker career to date in the final EPT Main Event of the 2023 season.

EPT Prague 2023 Main Event Final Table Results:
PlacePlayerCountryPrize
1stPadraig O’NeillIreland$1,124,200
2ndJon KyteNorway$701,800
3rdUmberto RuggeriItaly$501,250
4thCheng ZhaoChina$385,500
5thAdam WagnerCzech Republic$296,500
6thGrigorii RodinRussia$228,100
7thGovert MetaalNetherlands$175,400
8thMarle SpraggUnited States$135,000
9thVincent MeliFrance$103,700

Massive Main Event Closes EPT Season

With an incredible 1,285 entries, the final stop of 2023 on the European Poker Tour would yield a massive $1.1 million to the winner. With over $6.3 million in the prizepool, only nine players reached the final table, and it was the Frenchman Vincent Meli who was first to depart. All-in for just 12 big blinds with pocket jacks, Meli’s move managed to send Govert Metaal’s hand into the muck. That was a shame given Metaal held pocket tens. Meli’s caller, chip leader Jon Kyte had the much better pocket queens, however, so Meli needed to improve. The board of 9-7-3-K-9 didn’t help him at all, and he made his way from the felt with a score of $103,700.

There was an even higher-profile bust-out in eighth place. Marle Spragg, a content creator in the form of her life on camera as well as at the felt, moved all-in when short herself with ace-four. Spragg, married to PokerStars ambassador Benjamin, was ahead of Kyte’s king-queen until the river when a king send her spiralling from the event, out in eighth to cash for $135,000 after the ride of her poker life according to her socials. Onto the next, and her fans will be hoping before the end of the year.

Metaal Melted Down  

With seven left, the poker action stretched out for hours as the penultimate day of the event threatened to leave the final day with half a dozen eliminations still to execute. What began as a fairly deep-stacked day ended as nothing of the sort, as finally, Dutch poker player Govert Metaal busted. Calling all-in on a board of Q-8-5-7 with ace-queen, Metaal was correct to do so as Kyte – again the executioner in the hand- held jack-nine. A ten on the river sent the Dutchman home with $175,400 as only six players remained.

Out in sixth place was the Russian player Grigorii Rodin after he moved all-in with pocket deuces. They both started and ended the final hand of his tournament behind Kyte’s pocket queens, with a board of Q-9-8-4-2 giving both players a set. Rodin’s sixth-place finish was worth $228,100 and that gave Kyte 22.87 million chips, with all of his remaining opponents only stacking up 15.4 million between them.

Adam Wagner was the next player to bust as the final day restarted with O’Neill the short stack. That changed quickly as the Irishman bounced off the canvas and began climbing the leaderboard. So much so, in fact, that when Wagner shoved with ace-five, O’Neill was covering his stack when he called with pocket tens. A board of 8-4-2-J-Q sent Wagner to the rail and O’Neill continued his ascent at the expense of Wagner who busted for $296,500 in fifth place.

Luck of the Irish

“Three-handed, I thought, ‘Right, I’m winning this.’” – Padraig O’Neill, EPT Prague Champion.

Four players chased the top prize, and the first player to be disappointed in that pursuit was Chinese player Cheng Zhao. He busted for $385,500 when his shove with ace-queen was toppled by Kyte’s ace-king. It was a big hand for Kyte, who piled up 26.1 million chips, with Padraig O’Neill (8 million) and Italian player Umberto Ruggeri with just 4.3 million chips.

Out next was Ruggeri, who, after a long period of play where O’Neill and Kyte changed positions in the leaderboard, busted to the Norwegian. All-in with ten-nine, Ruggeri’s hand was no match for Kyte’s king-queen as a board of A-T-6-4-K fell. Ruggeri left with a huge score of $501,250, but Kyte was focused on attacking the final duel, and he might only have had 20% of his opponent’s stack, but that was about to change.

Heads up, Kyte improved, doubling through his opponent then going on a tear to take the lead. O’Neill, so dogged as short stack, now returned to that role and played fearless poker to retake the lead. Grabbing a 3-to-1 chip lead, O’Neill shoved with king-ten and Kyte called it off for just under 12 big blinds with ten-five. A board of Q-9-3-2-9 ended the Norwegian’s hopes of glory and handed O’Neill only the second victory on the EPT for an Irish player in the history of the festival.

“It feels amazing – it hasn’t sunk in.” O’Neill told Joe ‘Stapes’ Stapleton after the event. “I was hoping to get fourth, third would’ve been amazing. To get heads-up, I never thought it would’ve happened. Three-handed, I thought: ‘Right, I’m winning this.’ I’m relieved the heads-up is over – it’s going to hit in the next few days.”

As the dust settled and the confetti fell, Joe ‘Stapes’ Stapleton handed over the trophy to Irishman Padraig O’Neill for the young player’s first-ever EPT Main Event victory, his win worth an incredible $1.124 million.

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Paul seaton

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Paul Seaton, a poker luminary with over a decade of experience, has reported live from iconic poker events, including the World Series of Poker, European Poker Tour, and World Poker Tour. He's not just a spectator; he's been the Editor of BLUFF Europe Magazine and Head of Media for partypoker. Paul's poker insights have graced publications like PokerNews, 888poker, and PokerStake, where he's interviewed poker legends such as Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel, Phil Hellmuth, and The Hendon Mob’s, entire lineup. His exceptional work even earned him a Global Poker Award nomination for Best Written Content. In the poker world, Paul Seaton's expertise is a force to be reckoned with, captivating enthusiasts worldwide.
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