Most poker fans had their eyes on either the World Poker Tour (WPT) Prague or the Grosvenor United Kingdom Poker Tour (GUKPT) Grand Final in London – but there was also €400,000 in prize money on offer from the last stop on the Unibet Open series in Latvian capital city Riga.
Dutchman Peter Harkes outlasted 307 opponents to leave with €90,073 after defeating Arkadiusz Olszowy, of Poland, in their heads-up clash. The Pole picked up €61,218 for finishing in second place.
Third place went to home favourite Maksim Martynov, who exited thepoker tournament with a €41,850 pay day.
A massive fan of Ajax football team, Harkes – who finished fifth at the Unibet Open Dublin back in late August – provided many eliminations before taking down his one-on-one clash with Olszowy.
His victory was not at all surprising, though, as he entered the heads-up fight with a 9 to 1 chip lead over Olszowy.
In fact, it appeared there would be just one hand played between the pair when Harkes, with K-9, and Olszowy, who held Q-9, went at it immediately. The board showed 2♦ 2♥ 9♠ 5♥ before an ace on the river resulted in a chop.
However, it was all over for veteran Olszowy not long after, when the Dutch player sealed his win after he had flopped a straight to defeat the Polish player’s top pair.
On the button, Harkes raised it up to 100,000 and Olszowy called to see a flop of 9♠ 8♦ 6♦.
Olszowy quickly moved all-in and was immediately called Harkes. The Pole showed 9♥ 4♦ for top pair, but Harkes had completed a straight with his 7♦ 5♥.
Olszowy needed running cards to pick up a full house to secure his survival, but the turn of K♦ left him beaten. The dealer placed the unimportant 7♣ on the river and the event was over with Harkes crowned champion.
The Unibet Open takes a short break for Christmas now, but returns in Prague for a February 16 to 19 tournament.
Final placing and payouts from the Unibet Open series
1. Peter Harkes (Netherlands) – €90,073 ($121,110/£77,353)
2. Arkadiusz Olszowy (Poland) – €61,218 ($82,312/£52,585)
3. Maksim Martynov (Latvia) – €41,850 ($56,270/£35,948)
4. Jarkko Mamela (Norway) – €30,837 ($41,461/£26,490)
5. David Janssen (Belgium) – €24,228 ($32,569/£20,812)
6. Vytautas Milvydas (Lithuania) – €18,942 ($25,463/£16,269)
7. Loek van Wely (Netherlands) – €15,418 ($20,729/£13,243)
8. Rytis Grunovas (Lithuania) – €13,679 ($18,391/£11,749)
9. Ricardo Klaassen (Netherlands) – €11,892 ($15,990/£10,214)