We have a winner! Martin Piik has won MPNPT Madrid – the final event in the tour’s history, collecting €52,000, the iconic trophy and cementing his place in history as the final MPNPT winner of all time. What an accolade.
“It’s incredible!” Piik gushed after defeating Richard Liu heads-up for the title.
“I won my seat on Olybet and came here with my Dad. To be honest, the money doesn’t mean anything – it’s the title and trophy I care about. It’s just amazing.”
We returned to the Gran Casino Madrid today with 30 players standing from the impressive 575 entries (including 217 online qualifiers from the MPN) we’ve seen over the past three days. This created a huge prize pool of €278,875 – a juicy target for the players to aim at, with 71 to be paid.
Once the action began, it was turbo-charged from the start, aggressive poker played throughout and variance scythed through the field like a threshing machine as we soon saw the roster cut right down to its final nine.
Jake O’Leary, a jovial and popular ever-present on the tour – was the unfortunate player to miss out on a final table berth, losing a key coinflip versus the now-rampaging Richard Liu – who had smashed his way to a crushing chip lead, leaving a wake of players’ hopes of glory in pieces behind him.
Here’s how the final nine players lined-up to contest the trophy:
The distribution of chips among the final nine players could not have been more uneven. The top two stacks held more chips than the rest of the table combined, with the lion’s share – over 6 million – in front of Liu.
Stuart McCormack, returning to the final table with just over ten big blinds, wasted no time at all getting them in preflop with ace-ten, only to find Sudworth calling with ace-jack. That one pip higher kicker made all the difference; McCormack headed out in 9th (€4,575).
Jay Yerby, too, fell victim to ace-jack with a smaller pocket ace, busting to Raido Ounapuu in 8th (€5,600).
A valiant attempt to double up (or pick up enough blinds to have the same effect) was then made by Polish cash game player Sebastian Lohunko. It worked until it didn’t; he was finally picked off by Liu who spiked a set of nines to crack his craftily-played pocket queens. Lohunko picked up €8,100 for 7th place, his best ever live tournament result.
Both Stylianos Kollatos and Mikael Gronvik had benefited from doubling through Liu in the last level (though the dents to the chip leader’s stack had slowed him not at all); the two of them now clashed in a hand ended the Greek trader’s run at the trophy. Gronvik’s ace-king flopped top pair, while Kollatos spiked second pair with his king-queen on the turn and had run out of wiggle room stack-wise, busting in 6th place (€10,500).
Raido Ounapuu began an impressive comeback five-handed with a double from a felt-skirting five big blinds. He went on to take most of Mikael Gronvik’s stack with an ace-high river call (worth a click-through and read); Gronvik was left with dust and was out in 5th (€14,000) soon after.
James Sudworth, despite a six year hiatus from poker, slipped back into his old tourney pro mode for the Main Event here in Madrid, coasting through the final day but ultimately unable to better fourth place. Martin Piik was his assassin, calling his three-bet shove (with king-three suited) with pocket nines and spiking a set to seal his fate. Sudworth picked up €20,000 for his snap return to form.
Ounapuu’s demise occurred over two hands – the first involving a dramatic getaway from a board that could easily have snagged his whole stack, and the second a bit of a cooler against chip leader Liu. His win of a staff tournament awarding a package to the last MPNPT (he works with the bot detection team) became a bonus worth €28,000 for the Estonian.
Heads up, the blinds reached an astronomical 100k/200k. A big cooler suddenly swapped the stacks of erstwhile leader Liu and Piik, who handled his new chip mountain with the sang-froid that had characterised his play throughout the day. Though Liu rallied briefly, the Main Event was Piik’s to lose at this point. He found a call with ace-four suited when Liu three-bet jammed for 24 big blinds with king-queen suited preflop, held, and sent his opponent to the rail in 2nd to pick up €38,000.
That left Martin Piik the last man standing to collect the trophy and €52,000 first prize, the Estonian showing incredible skill to conquer this gargantuan field, fight off difficult moments and turn round a huge chip deficit heads up. He’s a worthy winner of the final MPNPT and we can’t give him enough credit. Well done Martin – you’re a star and you’ve forged your place in MPNPT mythology.
Quick account of the side events courtesy of blogger extraordinaire Dana Immanuel:
“The Main Event was not the only event that took place here in Madrid this week. After a couple of side events had to be cancelled owing to every single poker table in the casino being required to accommodate the vast Main Event field, the schedule finally returned to normal on Sunday, with the €200 + €20 Madrid Cup. The eventual winner – at well after 5am – was UK circuit fixture Katie Swift, who bested a 109-string field and defeated Juliane Papazian heads up to win €6,345.
Two women heads up in an open event might seem unusual on other tours, but this final MPNPT stop drew a gratifying number of women throughout, including in the Main Event. Of 575 entries and nearly 500 unique players in the Main Event, an impressive 35 of them were women, according to Betsson Ambassador, FLIP founder and all-round champion of women’s poker, Daiva Byrne. That may not sound like a lot, but it is by a long way the highest proportion of women in a tournament of this size that any of we seasoned bloggers can remember.
The sisterhood was well in evidence when a sizeable rail including Kelly Saxby and KerryJane Craigie turned out to support Deborah Worley-Roberts for her impressive final day run (17th place, €2,200). Saxby and Craigie both got their day in the sun taking third and fourth place respectively in the Ladies’ Event – although hilariously, it’s Worley-Roberts who has just this minute taken down the Ladies’ for €1,780. In other side event news, Joni Liimatta triumphed in the Doubles Event for €2,340. The staff bounty event is ongoing at time of writing, although no-one seems to care too much who wins any more, it’s just all about having fun playing cards with friends. As it was always meant to be.”
Normally this is where we direct you to the next MPNPT event. As we’re sure you’re aware this won’t be happening so instead here’s a choice selection of quotes from some of the people at the beating heart of the tour who have the events so memorable for the players over the years:
PAF’s Linda Jansson: “The best things about the tour are the people. Meeting old friends, meeting new friends and the atmosphere is pure fun and joy!”
Mad Harper Media Coordinator: “I haven’t been to too many but the atmosphere is through the roof good. Incredibly friendly, welcoming.”
Blogger Rod Stirzaker: “Poker can be a selfish game where you make money for your own pocket. On the MPNPT tour, you never feel this way, players root for each other and are genuinely glad to see each other do well. The bar stories are legendary as well. What a tour – what great people. When you work with people who are your friends, life becomes very special and tough tasks seem easy. It’s a sad day but I’ve only happy memories.”
Managing Director of Poker Alex Scott: “Since its launch, the MPN Poker Tour really has been a very special series of events and that’s entirely down to our staff, partners, media, sponsors, venues and, of course, the players. I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved on the tour; we’ve been very fortunate in having a really an amazing team. These are people who really do put players first and work incredibly hard to give them an exceptional experience. I’m delighted that our very last event here in Madrid has proved such a huge success and I’d like to thank everyone who came and helped make this a wonderful end to the tour.”
32Red’s Nick Diaz: “The tour goes to show how people from all walks of life can come together and unify, can unite in spirit through the beautiful game that is poker. There’s nothing we can’t achieve when we work in harmony.”
Videography Director Franke von Zweigbergk: “Family.”
Poker Tour Manager Rich Cunningham: “Clodagh was the MPNPT for me. She built the tour and I was lucky to step into her shoes. As for the tour itself, it’s like meeting family every 3 months and having a damn good time.”
Blogger Jen Mason: “I’ve never overheard players who didn’t know they were being overheard say such positive things about a live tour. It’s like a bunch of poker enthusiasts booked simultaneous holidays following the MPNPT wherever it went – and had a blast all over Europe (and Morocco). The bosses just let us loose on the blog and for that we’re eternally grateful. Clodagh, Rich, Alex, Spurr – may you prosper in whatever you’re up to next (and I do mean “up to”).”
Blogger/ Commentator and player Jason Glatzer: “Sometimes all good things have to come to an end and this is one of them however the memories will never leave. The family feeling and good spirits of this tour from the staff and the players made everything great.”
Player Julie Whitworth: “I love this tour and everyone on it. They’re family to me.”
Blogger Dana Immanuel: “As we pack up the MPN-branded tchotchkes and attempt to scrounge leftover player bags for the very last time, all that’s left is to reflect on all the precious memories that we have made together over the past five years. Who could forget that time a naked player locked himself out of his room in Morocco and rode the lift up and down all night? Or the hero who suffered a suspected heart attack in Dublin, whose only concern while in the ambulance was that he was losing blinds? (In the true spirit of the MPNPT, he survived, and returned to play the rest of the tournament!) If we laid all the beers we’ve drunk at MPNPT events end to end, how many times over would they stretch to the moon? And how many of those beers were purchased for us by Franke? How many friendships have been forged; how many nights have flown by in a haze of camaraderie, bad beat stories and laughter; how many brain cells have we lost that we probably didn’t need anyway because at the MPNPT we found something much better – as those prophetesses Sister Sledge put it, We Are Family.”
We could continue with the tributes forever. Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of players have played this tour and enjoyed their trips and forged special memories. It’s a sad day that it’s come to a close. From all the staff, bloggers and people associated with the tour, we love all of you. You’ve made this unique and beautiful for us. Now we have to sign off. Take care special people. We’ll see you again.
Here are the full results for MPNPT Madrid.
|1||Martin Piik||Estonia||Olybet||52,000 €|
|2||Yu Cheng “Richard” Liu||China||38,000 €|
|3||Raido Ounapuu||Estonia||MPN||28,000 €|
|4||James Sudworth||UK||20,000 €|
|5||Mikael Gronvik||Sweden||14,000 €|
|6||Stylianos Kollatos||Greece||10,500 €|
|7||Sebastian Lohunko||Poland||32Red||8,100 €|
|8||Jay Yerby||UK||5,600 €|
|9||Stuart McCormack||UK||4,575 €|
|10||Jake O’Leary||UK||3,500 €|
|11||Keimo Souminen||Finland||Paf||3,500 €|
|12||Simon Hemsworth||UK||3,500 €|
|13||Declan Rice||Ireland||32Red||2,800 €|
|14||Mart Rinken||Estonia||Olybet||2,800 €|
|15||Rikard Andersson||Finland||Paf||2,800 €|
|16||Manue Lopez Fonseca||Spain||2,200 €|
|17||Deborah Worley-Roberts||USA||2,200 €|
|18||Kevin Houghton||UK||2,200 €|
|19||Matthew Bird||UK||1,700 €|
|20||Mariusz Lewoniewski||Poland||Betsafe||1,700 €|
|21||Aleksandr Lebedev||Russia||Redstar||1,700 €|
|22||Dimitri Dudakov||Estonia||Olybet||1,700 €|
|23||Krisztian Arvai||Hungary||Redstar||1,700 €|
|24||Ole Martin Fure||Norway||Betsafe||1,700 €|
|25||Jari Rattya||Finland||Paf||1,700 €|
|26||Markus Ganglbauer||Austria||1,700 €|
|27||Martin Dean||UK||32Red||1,700 €|
|28||Mateusz Moolhuizen||Netherlands||1,500 €|
|29||Jonathan Reynolds||UK||32Red||1,500 €|
|30||Niko Pakalén||Finland||Olybet||1,500 €|
|31||Milthon Boldewijn||Netherlands||1,500 €|
|32||Alan Hayter||UK||32Red||1,500 €|
|33||Joni Liimatta||Finland||Paf||1,500 €|
|34||Marco Keskel||Estonia||1,500 €|
|35||Kilver Orvar||Norway||1,500 €|
|36||Ilija Savevski||Macedonia||1,500 €|
|37||John Bousfield||UK||1,400 €|
|38||Khaled Hammoud||Austria||1,400 €|
|39||Johan Goslings||Netherlands||Betsson||1,400 €|
|40||David Lappin||Ireland||32Red||1,400 €|
|41||Joel Holmberg||UK||32Red||1,400 €|
|42||James Spencer||UK||Grosvenor||1,400 €|
|43||Daniel Stacey||UK||Grosvenor||1,400 €|
|44||Suzie Williamson||UK||Betsson||1,400 €|
|45||George Everatt||UK||Grosvenor||1,400 €|
|46||Ilya Baydyushev||Russia||Redstar||1,300 €|
|47||Toni Jarvisalo||Finland||Olybet||1,300 €|
|48||Anne Meri||Finland||Olybet||1,300 €|
|49||Cristian Biemmi||Italy||1,300 €|
|50||Marcel Leuker||Germany||Betsson||1,300 €|
|51||Madis Ormisson||Finland||Olybet||1,300 €|
|52||Janis Saulitis||Latvia||32red||1,300 €|
|53||Pete Pihlstrom||Sweden||Paf||1,300 €|
|54||Margus Tuvikene||Estonia||Olybet||1,300 €|
|55||Raymond Forsland||Norway||Guts||1,200 €|
|56||Jaagup Luhakooder||Estonia||1,200 €|
|57||Michael Fletcher||UK||Grosvenor||1,200 €|
|58||Petter Fjerstad||Norway||Guts||1,200 €|
|59||Nicholas Savins||UK||Grosvenor||1,200 €|
|60||Thomas Naess||Norway||NordicBet||1,200 €|
|61||Luke Vinnicombe||UK||1,200 €|
|62||Jonathan Klingenberg||Germany||32red||1,200 €|
|63||Alberto Villanueva Ghisleri||Spain||1,100 €|
|64||Mati Pirn||Estonia||1,100 €|
|65||Herbert Hinterndorfer||Austria||1,100 €|
|66||Jari Hurri||Finland||Paf||1,100 €|
|67||Thomas Lind||Malta||1,100 €|
|68||Marek Selgeveer||Estonia||Triobet||1,100 €|
|69||Phil Huxley||UK||1,100 €|
|70||Angela Houghton||UK||1,100 €|
|71||Remco Schaafsma||Netherlands||32Red||1,100 €|