Watson and Badziakouski Dominate PokerStars EPT Monte Carlo
Last Updated: November 6, 2023
Another major PokerStars-sponsored event on European soil has come to an end, as EPT Monte Carlo 2023 becomes another page in poker history.
As expected, the festival brought together hundreds of elite poker players from all parts of the world, including some of the biggest names out there.
Over a thousand entries were made into the EPT Monte Carlo Main Event alone, with the €5,300 PokerStars tournament ending up with a €5.3 million prize pool.
At the end, this leg of the European Poker Tour proved to be most successful for two legends of the game in Mike Watson and Mikita Bazdziakouski. The two went on to take down major tournament titles and further establish their names in the poker community.
Mike Watson became the third-ever player to win two EPT Main Events in their career after winning the most prestigious title of the festival. Badziakouski continued his impressive run in high-rollers with a win and a second place finish good for close to €2 million.
While many other players enjoyed a successful trip to Monaco, these two certainly stole the spotlight as they continued to build their impressive poker legacies.
Mike Watson Makes History in EPT Monte Carlo Main Event
The Main Event of the 2023 Monte Carlo leg of EPT brought together 775 individual players. Add to this a further 323 re-entries, and the tournament ended up with almost 1,100 entries in total.
The €5,300 price tag did not seem to deter too many players, as hundreds came out to Monte Carlo in search of a monster payday and the prestigious EPT trophy.
In the end, it was one of the most successful tournament poker players out there, Mike “SirWatts” Watson, who took down the most prestigious title of the Main Event champion.
🏆 🏆 Victoria Coren Mitchell
🏆 🏆 Mikalai Pobal
🏆 🏆( 💻) WhatIfGod
🏆 🏆 Mike Watson
— PokerStars LIVE (@PokerStarsLIVE) May 6, 2023
This one was very special for the Canadian crusher as well, as it was the second EPT Main Event of his career. He has previously won the 2016 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event, also part of EPT.
Watson has won numerous other EPT events in his career, including a Turbo Six-Max event in Baden and high rollers in both Barcelona and Paris, but this one had a different weight.
With this victory, worth €750,000, Watson became third-ever player to win two live EPT Main Events, joining Vicky Coren-Mitchell and Mikail Pobal in this exclusive club.
It was not all smooth sailing for the Canadian crusher though. He was one card away from elimination on Day 4, when he needed a queen and a queen only on the river to extend his tournament run.
Fortunately, the queen did arrive to help him beat the AK of Jose Astima, and SirWatts was good enough to use this good fortune, turn his tournament around, and go all the way to victory.
With this win, Watson has extended his all-time tournament winnings to over $19,000,000, putting him in fifth position of Canada’s most successful poker players behind the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Sam Greenwood, and Timothy Adams.
Mikita Bazdziakouski Dominates EPT High Rollers in Monaco
As we are used to by now, EPT Monte Carlo featured several high roller events designed to attract some of the best and most successful poker players in the world.
The big buy-ins and the promise of even bigger prize pools certainly did the job. The likes of Patrik Antonius, Justin Bonomo, Isaac Haxton, and Steve O’Dwyer were only a few of the high rollers who made the trip to Monte Carlo.
In the end, it was the name of Belarus high roller Mikita Bazdziakouski that stood out. He managed to take down the title in the €25k and come second in the €100k High Roller, cashing for just under €2 million in those two events alone.
The €100k High Roller was one of the early events of the festival, and it attracted 37 of the best and most well-known high stakes poker players in the world.
The final table included the likes of Ben Heath and Adrian Mateos, but the final battle came down to two players from Eastern Europe.
Bulgarian Alex Kulev, another well-known name in the high stakes poker scene, ended up capitalizing on his final table chip lead and going all the way, as he defeated Bazdziakouski heads up to take down the trophy.
That said, the two players made a deal and both made just over €1 million, as only some €37k was left to play for.
Second time was the charm for Mikita at this EPT stop, as he managed to go all the way at an equally stacked final table of the €25k High Roller event.
Having finsihed runner-up in the Super High Roller, Mikita Badziakouski went on better in the €25,000 High Roller, taking it down, after a heads-up deal with Ben Heath, for €938,042. #EPTMonteCarlo pic.twitter.com/Xrvd8eRnoI
— PokerStars LIVE (@PokerStarsLIVE) May 7, 2023
Another very international field of 211 entrants came down to Bazdziakouski and Ben Heath. The two also made a deal but played for quite a bit of cash on top.
The Belarus high roller managed to defeat the Brit in a heads up battle and add another piece of silverware to what is becoming one of the most impressive trophy cabinets in the poker world.
It is worth noting that EPT Monte Carlo was very successful for Ben Heath as well, who, despite not winning any titles, managed to come 3rd in the €100k and 2nd in the €25k for more than €1.3 million in cashes.
PokerStars EPT Travels to Barcelona Next
Historically speaking, Barcelona has been one of the top poker destinations in Europe and certainly the most attractive EPT stop for the majority of players.
While summertime is typically the part of the year dedicated to the World Series of Poker, the EPT will be coming back shortly afterward, with the Barcelona leg scheduled to start on August 21.
EPT Barcelona will be played alongside ESPT Barcelona for players looking for lower buy-in events, while a number of high-roller tournaments will be available for all the high-stakes players out there.
Satellite tournaments for the next stop of the EPT are already running at PokerStars, so head on over and try to book your seat at one of the most attractive poker destinations in the world for a fraction of the buy-in right now.