The Weekly Round-up – 29 March 2021:
29 March 2021: The Tip Top Fox brings you the top poker and gambling industry stories of the week; Vanessa Kade wins PokerStars Sunday Million 15th Anniversary for $1.5M; Artur Martirosyan Wins EPT Sochi Main Event for $325K; Amateur Poker Players Make Headlines With Six Marathon Plan
Vanessa Kade wins PokerStars Sunday Million 15th Anniversary for $1.5M
The big story of the last week involved PokerStars Sunday Million 15th Anniversary Event, which Canadian online professional Vanessa “Niffller” Kade took down for $1.5M. This marks the end of a rollercoaster three months for Kade.
After a Twitter spat with GG Poker ambassador Dan Bilzerian, GG Poker terminated Vanessa Kade’s affiliate contract. However, this led to Kade getting snapped up as an online pro for a rival site, joining Chris Moneymaker in the ranks of Americas Cardroom pros.
Usually, the headlines would be more focused on the size of the event – a field of 69,876 is nothing to be sniffed at – and the fact this was the largest first prize in the online tournament’s 15-year history.
This marked only the third time in the iconic online tournament’s history a player has won outright with no deal in play, with the $1,514,920 top prize the largest single prize a player has won in this event, ever.
Any player turning $215 into $1.5M would be understandably chuffed, and this result is Kade’s largest-ever career score. What makes Kade’s victory all the sweeter, however, is the fact that Bilzerian’s tweet has aged rather poorly.
The Final Table
The victory was almost fairytale-like in quality, with Kade coming into the nine-handed final table as the seventh shortest stack with around 20 big blinds. With the two other remaining short stacks, Russia’s “Vvlankov” (9th for $72,132) and “kefirchik106” (8th for $105,538), both hitting the rail in quick succession, that left Kade at the bottom of the pecking order.
Down to just six big blinds, Kade doubled up through frontrunner “ikkedus”, from the Netherlands. Kade’s J♦8♥ besting the latter’s A♣9♥ to climb the leaderboard, while “ikkedus” dropped down the counts. “ikkedus” would bust shortly afterward at the hands of chip leader “Talibenes” to finish in 7th place for $154,416.
Kade sent “malinga” to the rail in sixth place, her A♣Q♦ holding against the Norwegian’s A♠7♠ to climb into second in the chip standings. After Russia’s “peu3ep” hit the rail in 5th for $330,564 – their Q♦Q♣ outdrawn by the A♦5♦ of “Transylvanian” – there was talk of a deal but none materialised.
The Canadian then went on a roll, busting all three remaining players to take the title and the $1.5M top prize. Kade started by showing “Transylvanian” the door. The Romanian was eliminated in 4th place for $483,652 after they shoved K♠J♦ from the cutoff and Kade called with K♣Q♣ from the big blind, running out a flush.
Bulgaria’s “PanchoVetin” made a spirited run at the title, spinning a seven big blind stack up to the chip lead, before an ill-timed three-barrel bluff ran into Kade’s flopped two pair. “PanchoVetin” hit the rail in third for $707,640 after a flip that proved to be close to a million dollars in equity – Kade’s 5♣5♦ holding against the Bulgarian’s A♥K♦.
That saw Kade come into heads-up against Poland’s Pawel “Talibenes” Ladniak with close to a 7:1 chip lead, with the confrontation lasting all of two hands. The final hand saw Kade move all-in from the big blind with 8♠8♥ after ‘Talibenes‘ limped the button. The latter made the call for their tournament life with K♥9♦ and Kade’s snowmen held to grant her the title, and her best career result to date.
“I feel like there’s no way for this not to change my life,” Kade said after her win in an interview on the PokerStars Blog. “But at the same time, I’m not very materialistic. I’m not going to go buy a bunch of toys or anything like that.”
“But this win gives me freedom. That’s what I get from this. If I don’t mess this up, then for the rest of my life, I don’t have to do a single thing that I don’t want to do.”
No matter what happens in the future, one thing is for certain – everyone knows who Vanessa Kade is now.
Artur Martirosyan Wins EPT Sochi Main Event for $325K
While live poker has been pretty sparse for the last 12 months or so, the European Poker Tour has been chugging along online and has just completed its first live event of 2021. The ten-day EPT Sochi concluded on Sunday, 29 March, with the ₽175,000 (~$2,300) Main Event attracting 852 entrants (including 304 re-entries) and generating a ₽131,899,810 (~$1.73M) prize pool. This is the largest-ever field for EPT Sochi, which has been running since 2018.
It was Russia’s Artur Martirosyan who emerged victorious, with the 23-year-old defeating fellow countryman Vladislav Naumov heads-up to take the title and the ₽24,633,000 (~$325,000) top prize. Naumov earned ₽14,957,600 (~$197,440) for his runner-up finish. You can view the full tournament results on the PokerStars Blog.
This is Martirosyan’s second sizable score in the space of a month, having taken down the ₽52,500 + 5,250 World Poker Tour – WPT Russia opening event back in mid-February for a ₽3.06M ($41k) payday.
The Russian player, who plays under the online handle “mararthur1” is no stranger to success, with two huge online victories in the PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) back in May 2020. Martirosyan took down the $5,200 Midweek Freeze and the $10,300 High Roller for combined winnings of $429,217.
Martirosyan’s most recent victory takes his total live earnings over the seven-figure mark, moving him up from 64th to 49th on the Russia All Time Money List with career winnings of over $1.16M.
Amateur Poker Players Make Headlines With Six Marathon Plan
Proving that you don’t have to be famous to make the media spotlight you just have to do good things, seven amateur poker players are making headlines this week. The group from a small village called Lingwood near Norwich, who call themselves the ‘The House of Snacks’, are planning to run six marathons each for a cancer charity over the next six months.
According to a Press Association article in the Evening Standard, after one of the group – carpenter Graham Preston, 43 – lost his mother to bowel cancer he decided to run a marathon to support Cancer Research UK. Preston’s other six friends, Carl Eady, 51, Phil Barnes, 45, Carl Johnson, 40, Pete Daines, 50, Rob Dye, 43, and Steve D’Souza, 41, who play in a regular poker game together, all agreed to join him.
“When my mum died I told the guys that I was going to run a marathon in her memory and that’s when they all said they wanted to sign up and support me – so we came up with the crazy idea of each one us running a marathon a month for six months,” Preston told reporters in the article.
There has been a great deal of support from the poker community, with the UK’s top-ranked player Stephen Chidwick, and PokerStars ambassadors Ben Spragg, Fintan Hand, Felix Schneiders, and Arlie Shaban all sending pledges to donate and messages of support.
To date, the seven have already raised £3,000 (~$4,150). To donate visit: https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/team/grahams-team-10