German player Paul Michaelis emerged victorious in the €5,300 European Poker Tour (EPT) Prague 2018 Main Event, outlasting a field of 1,174 players. The 27-year-old from Berlin took home €840,000 following a three-way deal with Artem Kobylynskyi and Aleksandr Merzhvinskii. Michaelis was also awarded a Platinum Pass to the PokerStars Players NL Hold'em Championship 2019, valued at $30,000.
"It feels pretty unreal," said Michaelis, who admitted that he'd need some time to let the accomplishment sink in. "I haven't really realized what it means for me."
Michaelis steam-rolled through the second half of the campaign. He seized the tournament chip lead on Day 4, then maintained in the pole position ahead of the final day, and he eventually closed things out to hoist the trophy. Michaelis became the 15th EPT Main Event champion from Germany and the first since 2015 when Hossein Ensan triumphed here in the Czech capital.
Michaelis had already been in a similar position. He dominated the PokerStars Championship Prague for two consecutive days. That time, however, he couldn't squeeze out more than a 28th place.
"I just feel even since a year ago, I have a lot more experience in these main event fields," he said. "I have a calmer approach than I had before."
Michaelis faced off against Kobylinskyi in a heads-up match which started with Michaelis holding a two-to-one chip-advantage. Michaelis kept his foot firmly on the pedal, extending his lead. The final hand saw both players peel premium hands, and Michaelis' pocket jacks remained superior to Kobylynskyi's tens after a preflop all-in contest.
Kobylinskyi secured himself €571,910 in the aforementioned three-way chop while the third-place finisher Aleksandr Merzhvinskii picked up €631,500.
Lithuanian player Laurynas Levinskas walked away with the €316,600 fourth-place prize after getting his last chips into the middle when he was drawing dead against Michaelis. Carlos Branco from Portugal notched €242,560 for a fifth-place finish, following his clash with sevens against Kobylinskyi's aces. The first player who left the finale was Canadian Twitch star Parker Talbot who spent only a short stint on the six-handed table. Talbot received €179,360 for his efforts.
The EPT Prague 2018 Main Event drew the second-biggest attendance in the tournament's history, creating a €5,693,900 prize pool. The top 175 players shared the prize money.
Complete coverage of the EPT Prague Main Event can be found on the PokerStars Blog.
Final table payouts:
1st - Paul Michaelis, Germany, €840,000
2nd - Artem Kobylinskyi, Ukraine, €571,910
3rd - Aleksandr Merzhvinskii, Russia, €631,500
4th - Laurynas Levinskas, Lithuania, €316,600
5th - Carlos Branco, Portugal, €242,560
6th - Parker Talbot, Canada, €179,360