It’s the second tournament series of the year for 888poker LIVE, and we went huge! The Main Event absolutely obliterated the €288K guarantee bringing in €360,192 in prize money with 469 entries.

Our city of choice, this time around, was the lovely “Little Paris of the East” Bucharest in Romania. A tale of two cities – with one leg tentatively placed in the 21st Century and one still firmly planted in the post 2nd World War Era.

However, there is so much to see and do in this city with beautiful architecture, wonderful places to eat and hot clubs to party – not to mention the poker.

With 27 nationalities in the Opening and 30 in the Main, including many locals, coming out to play, this event was destined to be one for the books!

888poker LIVE Bucharest Packed Chock-a-Block

Our Bucharest LIVE event spanned 6 days – 28th February through 5th March. We kicked off with the Opening Event, then led into the Main Event and adding a Bounty, Ladies, High Roller, Super Progressive Knockout, Deepstack, Turbo Deepstack – finishing up with a Hyper-Turbo.

With reasonable buy-ins starting as low as €60 in the Ladies Event and €115 in the Hyper-Turbo, this series was certain to bring out the locals in force.

Opening Event at 888poker LIVE Bucharest

The Opening Event set the mood for the rest of the series. The weather wasn’t cooperating, but the cards certainly were when Team888’s Martin Jacobson announced the “shuffle up and deal” getting the tournament underway.

Despite the snow, Day 1A saw 159 players make their way to the JW Marriot Hotel, coughing up the €230 buy-in for this €50K GTD event.

Joining in on the early fun was fellow countrywomen, Sofia Lovgren. Unfortunately, neither went deep in this tournament, but there was still loads more poker (and fun) to be had.

Day 1B say another 195 players brave the cold to play this tournament for a total of 385 entries and smashing the €50K guarantee by €27K.

Day 2 saw 76 players battling it out for the top 45 payout spots with a min-cash of €425 and €14,055 up top. It didn’t take long for Romanian Pro, Nedelcu Narcis Gabriel, to rise to the top, bagging the money and the title.  Well played, Sir!

888poker party

Main Event Smashes Numbers 888poker LIVE Bucharest

The Main Event kicked off on 2nd of March with 3 Day 1s. The €888 buy-in guaranteed players the chance of winning a piece of the €288K GTD. 

When the final numbers were tallied, 469 entries contributed to a prize pool of over €360K, making this one of the most successful 888poker LIVE tournaments yet.
All players started out with 30K in chops with unlimited re-entries available for the first 7 levels.  And, with the affordable €230 buy-in players busting on any of the Day 1s were able to play again and battle their way to Day 2 – whhad the 30-second 888ShotClock on hand, which proved to be a massive success with the players – receiving the approval of the majority.

Here are the entry numbers from each of the Day 1s:

2/3/2018 Day 1A 110 entries 26 survived to Day 2
3/3/2018  Day 1B 281 entries 69 survived to Day 2
3/3/2018 Day 1C 78 entries 25 survived to Day 2
4/3/2018 Day 2  469  entries  120 survivors start Day 2

Joining in on the action on Day 1A of the Main Event were 888poker ambassadors, Natalie Hof and Vivian Saliba. Unfortunately, due to weather flying restrictions, Dominik Nitsche was unable to attend. Both Vivian and Natalie made it to Day 2.

Day 1A was especially important for one lucky player. Florin Tatu, flopped a Royal Flush, bagged a win – adding more chips to his stack – and won a GoPro camera for his efforts.

Main Event 888poker LIVE Bucharest – Day 2

Day 2 of the Main Event, as well as portions of the Day 1s, had a featured table, which was broadcast on, and The commentary was provided by the inimitable, David Tuchman. 

Thousands of fans tuned in to listen to Tuch’s dulcet tones – and also to watch a bit of poker, of course!

Of the 120 runners making it to Day 2, 54 were guaranteed at least €1,800. The bust outs came fast and furious. Natalie went out before the money in 66th place, but Vivian just made a min-cash in 52nd.

Here are the top 20 payouts:

Place Payout
1st €71,042
2nd €44,000
3rd €32,000
4th €25,800
5th €20,500
6th €15,700
7th €11,700
8th €8,500
9th €6,900
10-11th €5,700
12-13th €4,900
14-15th €4,400
16-17th €3,950
18-20th €3,600

It took a while, and after a lot (and, we mean a lot) of poker, we got down to 11 players at the end of Day 2. Three Romanians led the way into the Final Day of play and 9 of the 11 returning players from the tournament country namesake.

We had three qualifiers making the final eleven: Sinisa Radovanovic and Krzysztof Chmielowski who are 2nd and 3rd in chips, respectively.

Here were the chip counts as we headed to Day 3:

Pos. Name                            Country            Chip Count 
1 Stefan Fabian Romania           2,460,000  
2 Krzysztof Chmielowski Poland              2,000,000
3 Sinisa Radovanovic Serbia              1,590,000
4 Madalin Cornel Petraru  Romania 1,450,000
5 Bogdan Diaconu  Romania 1,415,000
6 Marian Strachinescu  Romania 1,365,000
7 Andrei Racolta  Romania 1,225,000
8 Ferenc Csaba Pal  Romania 900,000
9 Catalin Pop  Romania 895,000
10 Radu Pitic Romania 475,000  
11  Andrei Alecu Romania 315,000    

Main Event 888poker LIVE Bucharest – Final Day

The final day kicked off at 1pm with 11 players vying to make the final table of nine. Andrei Alecu came in as the shortstack, so it was no surprise that he was the first out. His A♣5♣ losing to Strachinescu’s A♠9♦. Alecu left €5,700 richer.

Out next was Ferenc Csaba Pal who pushed with K♣J♥ on the button but ran into Strachinescu’s A♠K♥. Pal went out in 10th for €5,700.

Here are the chip counts heading to the Final Table:

Pos.  Name   Country Chip Count
1 Krzysztof Chmielowski Poland            2,580,000
2 Marian Strachinescu  Romania          1,365,000
3 Bogdan Diaconu  Romania          1,895,000
4 Andrei Racolta Romania          1,860,000
5 Catalin Pop Romania          1,770,000    
6 Stefan Fabian  Romania          1,500,000
7 Madalin Cornel Petraru Romania          1,095,000
8 Radu Pitic    Romania          630,000    
9 Sinisa Radovanovic  Serbia            560,000

888poker LIVE Bucharest Main Event – Final Table

As we headed to the final table, we had two 888poker qualifiers in the running. Chmielowski (chip leader) and Radovanovic – clinging in there in ninth. Chmielowski qualified via €109 satellite on 888poker and was guaranteed at least €6,900, as he entered the final table.

But, it was Fabian who went out first – in 9th place. He ran J♠J♦ into chip magnet, Chmielowski’s A♥K♣. A king flopped, and that was “all she wrote” for Stefan who took home €6,900 for his efforts.

Catalin Pop, an 888poker LIVE London winner in 2017 popped up and down, but it was Pitic that was out next – losing all his chops to the unstoppable Chmielowski. He bagged €8,500 for the long weekend of work.
Diaconu was quiet at the final table, and with the blinds going up, he decided to make a play under-the-gun with A♥8♦. Chmielowski struck again with a suited king – K♥8♥. The flopped and river kings sealed the deal and Diaconu hit the rail in 7th for €11,700.

Chmielowski finally lost a hand – doubling up Strachinescu when he ran into Kings. He was still sitting strong when Petraru was eliminated a few hands later. Finding A♦Q♦ on the cut-off, 6-handed, is usually a dream – but, not when your opponent picks up K♦K♠ in the small blind. He went out in 6th for €15,700.

Catalin Pop hung in there for quite a while. When he picked up A♠8♦ in the cut-off and shoved, he was met by Racolta’s A♥10♣. His Main Event run came to an end with a €20,500 payday. 
888poker qualifier, Sinisa Radovanovic, had been quietly climbing up the ladder but, perhaps the long days, finally got too much. He made a play on the river with A♦8♥ on a board: 8♦6♥4♠9♠7♣. Unfortunately for him, Racolta had the stone-cold nuts - J♠10♦. Radovanovic had parlayed a qualifier on 888poker into a payout of €25,800. Well played!

And, then there were three – but not for long!

Racolta struck again when he woke up with A♠K♥ on the button and shoved. Strachinescu had 10♥10♦ and made the quick call from the small blind. It was quick and painless for Strachinescu as the flop came down K♦K♣8♣. Neither the 5♣ on the turn nor the 8♦ on the river were of any help. He walked away from €32,000.

Just like that, we were heads-up for the top prize of €71,042 and second-place of €44,000. Racolta held an almost 6:1 chip lead.


888poker LIVE Bucharest Main Event – Heads Up

After a no-deal break, the players went back to work. And, it easy to understand why, with a €27K+ difference between first and second and a 6:1 chip lead to Racolta’s advantage.

Chmielowski just wasn’t able to get any traction heads-up, and after about 45 minutes of play, he was faced with the inevitable all-in that would put him all out.

Finding himself severely short-stacked, Chmielowski pushed with J♦2♦. Unfortunately, his opponent Racolta woke up with A♠8♣.

The board brought no joy for Krzysztof: Q♥K♦6♥K♥Q♣. The ace kicker takes the hand down – sending Krzysztof Chmielowski to the rail. 

Well played to both Racolta, who walks away with €71,042, and Chmielowski who bags a not-to-shabby €44,000.
Here are the Final 9 Finishers and their respective Payouts:

poker winner

Pos. Name                        Country      Payout 
1 Andrei Racolta Romania €71,042
2 Krzysztof Chmielowski Poland €44,000
3 Marian Strachinescu Romania    €32,000
4 Sinisa Radovanovic  Serbia        €25,800
5 Catalin Pop    Romania    €20,500
6 Madalin Cornel Petraru  Romania    €15,700
7 Bogdan Diaconu Romania    €11,700
8 Radu Pitic Romania    €8,500
9 Stefan Fabian  Romania    €6,900

888poker LIVE Bucharest – Other Action

The Ladies Event drew in quite a few players on the fourth day of the series. A total of 26 women paid the €60 buy-in to vie for a portion of the €1,222 prize pool and an 888poker LIVE Barcelona package worth €1,880. Maria Cuceanu took home the top prize of €500 and the package.

Another big tournament that started on the 4th of March was the High Roller.  The €2,200 buy-in event was tagged with single re-entry and drew a total of 32 entries.

Our very own, Sofia Lovgren, made a run – going deep into the final table. The birthday girl didn’t have luck on her side and lost a flip to Ana Marquez when she pushed all-in with pocket Deuces into Ana’s KQ-off. 

Ana flopped a straight, and it was all over on the turn for the 888poker ambassador. Still, Sofia bagged a respectable €6,500 for her fourth-place finish.

From that point on, Ana was on a role, taking out Nedelcu’s pocket Nines with A♣K♣ - and then we were heads-up. Ana took on Bordei for the title who entered 4-handed play last in chips. But, being severely short-stacked, he had an uphill struggle. 

woman poke player
It was over quickly, as Bordei got it in with 10♣10♦ into Marquez’ K♥9♣. Ana turned a King and bagged herself the title and a €26,000 payday.

Well, that’s all from Bucharest!

We certainly had fun in this “Little Paris of the East”. 

Next stop – WPT500 London with $1,000,000 GTD!


About the Author
Hyacinth Swanson is a part-time live and online poker player who enjoys writing and editing poker content. She currently runs marketing firm
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