The 2023 Kings of Tallinn Summer Showdown has crowned its Main Event champion, and Finland’s Kai Lehto is the man who will forever be remembered as being the king of Tallinn.
The €1,100 buy-in Main Event attracted 564 players from across Europe and further afield, proving the lure of this incredible series is as strong as ever. Those entrants created a €530,160 prize pool that the top 71 finishers shared. A min-cashed weighed in at €2,000, progressing to the final table increased that payout to €7,700, with a cool €108,260 reserved for the eventual champion.
Kings of Tallinn Summer Showdown Main Event Final Table Results
A double elimination late into Day 2 resulted in the money bubble bursting and the curtain coming down on proceedings. The surviving 71 in-the-money players bagged up for the night, knowing they had locked in at least a min-cash for their efforts.
Day 3 saw 71 players reduced to only ten over the course of 13 hours of intense poker action. Lehto bagged up the chip lead, but he had the chasing pack breathing down his neck.
Main Event Final Day Action
It did not take long for the official final table to be set because Tapio Altonen made a move for his last five big blinds with king-deuce and found himself up against Tarmo Tammel‘s suited ace-six. Tammel flopped an ace and faded a gutshot Broadway straight draw, sending Altonen home in tenth.
Ninth place went to Sweden’s Jakob Linden, who was down to a shade over 11 big blinds at the start of his final hand. Linden moved all-in with jack-ten of clubs from middle position, and Magnus Pukk called with ace-king in the small blind. Both players missed the flop, with the ace of club on the turn improving Pull to top pair, but it also gave Linden outs to a flush. Another ace on the river was no help to Linden, and his tournament ended.
A cooler of a hand sent Pukk to the showers in eighth. Pukk min-raised to 120,000 with king-queen, and Ville Keranen called with pocket sixes. The flop fell king-queen-six, and the writing was on the wall for one of the players. Pukk checked, Keranen jammed for 1,400,000, and Pukk called. The turn and river were bricks, and Pukk was gone.
Arponen Runs Into Aces
Pukk’s seat had not yet gone cold when Tomi Arponen found himself with fresh air where his chips once stood. Arponen open-shoved for 12 big blinds from under the gun with ace-four of diamonds. Unfortunately for him, Tammel was lying in wait with pocket aces. Tammel flopped top set on an all-heart board before improving to an unnecessary full house on the river.
The final six became five with the untimely demise of Mikael Haapaniemi. Urmo Velvelt opened to 175,000 during the 40,000/80,000/80,000a level, Germany’s Phil Gross called before Haapaniemi shoved for 1,400,000 shove. Velvelt ducked out of the way, but Gross found a call. It was king-jack for Gross against pocket fives, a typical coinflip scenario. A jack on the flop was more than enough to halt Haapaniemi in his tracks. Although disappointed not to win, Haapaniami did captured a Summer Showdown title, taking down the €250 NLH/PLO/PLO5 event earlier in the series.
The popular Tammel was the next player heading to the cashier’s desk, something he has done almost 70 times in events held at the Olympic Park Casino. Lehto min-raised to 200,000 from the cutoff, Gross responded with a three-bet to 500,000 on the button, only for Tammel to rip it in for 1,200,000 in the small blind. Lehto had seen enough and mucked, but Gross tossed in calling chips. Gross flipped over ace-six, and was way behind the dominating ace-king of serial casher, Tammel. That was until the board ran out to give Gross the most unlikely of ten-high straights, eliminating the dangerous Tammel in fifth place.
Keranen had managed to win a few flips to keep his head above water, but Lehto ended any hopes of a miraculous comeback. Blinds were now 50,000/125,000/125,000a, and Lehto min-raised to 250,000 with king-ten of diamonds. Keranen three-bet all-in for 2,300,000 with king-jack, and Lehto called. Lehto was rewarded with a ten on the flop, and Keranen crashed out when neither the turn nor river was a jack.
Heads-up was set when Velvelt had his snowmen melted by Gross. Gross moved all-in on the button with ace-jack, and Velvelt called off his last 15 big blinds with pocket eights. Velvelt’s hand remained the best on the flop and turn, but a cruel ace on the river ended his participation in this massive event.
That hand gifted Gross a substantial lead going into the one-on-one battle with Lehto. Gross’ stack was 12,600,000 chips deep compared to Lehto’s 4,325,000 arsenal. Lehto clawed his way almost level before winning a huge pot when his pair of kings held against a diamond flush draw.
However, Gross refused to throw in the towel. The final hand saw Gross min-raise to 400,000 with jack-nine, and Lehto defended his blinds with six-four offsuit. A nine-six-three flop saw Lehto check-call a 300,000 continuation bet. An eight on the turn saw Lehto check-call again, this time a chunkier 500,000 bet, which led them to another six on the turn. Lehto expertly checked his trip sixes, and Gross took the bait, firing a 1,300,000 bet. Lehto tanked before check-raising all-in. Gross did not believe Lehto’s story, but he should have, and he called, only to see his two pair was an expensive second-best hand.
Gross crashed out in second place for €72,700, leaving Lehto to capture the €108,260 top prize. Lehto loves Kings of Tallinn festivals, having reached the final table of a €1,100 Main Event in 2016 and having won a €3,000 High Roller in 2021. Lehto is now a Kings of Tallinn Summer Showdown champion, a superb result that bagged the Finn his first six-figure haul.
WSOP Circuit Tallinn Runs September 14-24
Do not worry if you missed out on experiencing the Kings of Tallin Summer Showdown because the next major festival is right around the corner. The World Series of Poker Circuit Tallinn takes place between September 14-24 at the Olympic Park Casino in Tallinn, and it will be spectacular.
Players from far and wide will descend on the Estonian capital as they attempt to capture on of the 12 gold circuit rings on offer. One of those ring-awarding events in a €1,500 WSOPC Main Event, which comes with a €1 million guarantee on its prize pool! Watch this space for more details about the inaugural WSOPC Tallinn festival.
Lead image courtesy of Kings of Tallinn and Elena Task