888Live King’s Festival is a Big Success

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888live main event winner Catalin Pop - 888Live King’s Festival ME champion. Image by Fabfotos

888Live King’s Festival was a blast with record numbers coming out for the entire event. The Opening event attracted 783 entries, and we were well on the way to building a great poker festival story.

In addition, a featured table was streamed live at the festival, giving players and viewers an inside look at how the event went down. We brought in top Poker Twitch celeb and newest 888poker ambassador, Parker “TonkaaaaP” Talbot along with sports-commentating celebrity David Tuchman in the booth.

High Roller Hi-Jinx

The High Roller Event kicked off on 1st February with 21 players vying for a newly-designed 888Live Festival trophy, but with just three players making the money, this battle was destined to be a hard-fought one:

1st Place paid €49,875

2nd Place paid €29,925

3rd Place paid €19,950

It was a 2-day event, and in the end, German player Jonas Kraft pipped Czech Pro Martin Kabrhel at the post to take home the top prize.

Stacy Matuson vs Will Kassouf – The Re-Match

The match-up that most punters were looking forward to seeing was the grudge match between Will Kassouf and Stacy Matuson. 

It was billed as “best-of-three” with the winner taking home $888 in cash, a ticket to a WSOP event worth $888 and a very worthy trophy!

Match #1 lived up to all the hype, and the two foes felt each other out as they jostled for every slight edge and advantage. In the end, Round 1 went to “StacyAcey”.

By the time, Match #2 started, Kassouf had picked up the pace, but Stacy managed to pick up some pots as Will’s stack dwindled. It was only a matter of time before all the chips were going to have to go into the pot.

At one point in the match, Stacy was able to reverse Will’s confident table talk by raising his raise with nothing more than ace-high.

In the final hand, Stacy insta-called Will’s pre-flop shove with Ah7c. The board ran out, 6h-2s-3s-5h-5s – no help for Will and Matuson took Round 2 and the best of 3!

It was a game well-played and well-fought and the best player – on the day – won.

Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi. Image by Fabfotos

Action from the Main Event Day 1s

The 888Live King’s Festival Main Event attracted 531 entries on the Day 1s creating a prize pool well in excess of the €300,000 guarantee.

72 players showing up on Day 1a of which 14 made it to Day 2.

Day 1b of the 888Live King’s Festival Main Event brought out the big guns. Team888 ambassadors, Chris Moorman, Natalie Hof, Dominik Nitsche, Kara Scott and Sofia Lovgren, joined the action determined to make it to Day 2 and bag that magnificent 888Live trophy.

Aside from the 888poker pros, other big names like Scotsmen Niall Farrell and Ludovic Geilich – who just happened to be mates – also made it to the tournament. In fact, “Ludo” only made the trip once he found out that Niall was going! Speech-play artist, William Kassouf was another well-known name in the Main Event. He just happened to bust another poker celebrity, Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi on Day 1c.

Day 1c of the 888Live King’s Festival Main Event attracted another 284 entries making the total 511 so far with registration permitted up until the start of Day 2. 

William Kassouf was back for more, hoping not to shoot another blank. Stacy Matuson, fresh off her revenge match with Will, also played Day 1c. She started off well, but fell short after a run of dead cards.

The Ladies Queens Clash Crash Day 2 of the Main

In between Days 1 and 2 of the Main, the Queens Clash Tournament took place. It was a tag team Ladies Only event, featuring Team888’s Kara Scott, Sofia Lövgren and Natalie Hof. They were primed to take down internationally-known pros, Oanh Bui, Joanna Kwak and Änna Katharina Wegscheider.

It was a hard-fought best-of-three battle that saw the home team down 1-0 at one point before evening the score in Match 2. The decider pitted Lövgren against Kwak for the final hand that gave the trophy and bragging rights to Team888.

Day 2 of the 888Live King’s Festival Main Event

Day 2 lived up to all the hype. Brit, William Kassouf and Scotsmen, Niall Farrell and Ludovic Geilich all looked set to go deep.

The prize pool was skyrocketed up to €407,596 with 55 places paid and a min-cash of €1,997. First place was a whopping €80,000 – almost 20% of the prize pool.

A total of 138 players returned on Day 2 to battle it out for the big cash top prize. After the Bubble burst, everyone was in-the-money and guaranteed €1,997. Despite making the money and playing at the featured table, Kassouf had the worst run.

Short-stacked and desperate for chips, he got it all-in with A3, but ran into Ludovic “Ludo” Geilich’s pocket Sevens and finished in 23rd place for €3,628.

Around 4am in the morning, the count was down to 8 players and the table for the final of the 888Live King’s Festival was set.

Final Day of the 888Live King’s Festival Main Event

Action on the final day kicked off at 2pm with Ludovic Geilich in the lead and his fellow countryman Niall Farrell third in chips.

Here is the state of the union – according to seat position - before the first card was dealt:

Position Name Country Chip Counts
1 Ludovic Geilich United Kingdom 3,845,000
2 Niall Farrell United Kingdom 2,230,000
3 Bernd Schonwalder Germany 755,000
4 Alexander Dmitrienko Russia 1,605,000
5 Juan Carlos Vecino Spain 1,240,000
6 Catalin Pop Romania 2,195,000
7 Pavel Berka Czech Republic 760,000
8 Lukasz Tomeck Poland 3,280,000

The game was tight from the start, as the gap between first-place and eighth was substantial – over €70,000.

Final Table Payouts:

1st paid - €80,000

2nd paid - €50,023

3rd paid - €36,113

4th paid - €29,184

5th paid - €22,785

6th paid - €17,730

6th paid - €13,247

8th paid - €9,619

The first to fall by the wayside was Pavel Berka. He ran his pocket Sixes into Dmitrienko’s pocket Sevens – and lost.

Lukasz Tomeck was the next to bust at the hands of Niall Farrell. It was Niall’s countryman, Ludo, who busted the next two players, Alexander Dmitrienko and Juan Carlos Vecino. However, perhaps he made a misstep when he pushed pre-flop over the top of Catalin Pop’s pocket Queens with A7o.

Now severely shortstacked, he was the next to leave the final table.

Play was now three-handed.

The next big hand starred Pop and Farrell. They got it all-in pre-flop. Farrell had pocket Jacks and Pop held pocket Fives. Catalin didn’t have to sweat it. He flopped a set of Fives – sending Niall to the rail in third place.

Play was now heads-up.

This event was Bernd Schonwalder second live poker tournament, so Pop definitely had the upper-hand. They played a few hands before Bernd was all-in and all out of chips – crowning Catalin Pop the champion.

888Live King’s Festival was a great success, proving that a big event can satisfy both the players and the organisers.

888Live Festival will be back in May – this time in Barcelona!

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