After nearly 12 hours of play on Day 2, PokerStars ambassador Sam Grafton has topped a field of 74 entries to claim the title in the €10,200 Mystery Bounty event. The 2023 PokerStars EPT presented by Monte-Carlo Casino® is well underway now, and the first winner has been crowned, pocketing Grafton a total of €145,400.
Grafton overcame a huge heads-up deficit in order to claim the victory, his first of 2023. Grafton was on the edge of defeat multiple times in his heads-up battle with Sam Greenwood but managed to avoid disaster each and every time. The big turning point for the British poker pro was a two-outer he hit with pocket threes against the pocket jacks of Greenwood. Grafton took a commanding lead after the big double-up and finished the match just moments later.
The two players embraced in a hug after the match, and Grafton admitted that he was very lucky to come out as the winner. “You deserved that one, Sam. Very unlucky, sorry about that.” Grafton will take it any way he can as he joked earlier in the day that he was playing with the top 0.1% luckiest players in the world.
€10,200 Mystery Bounty Final Table Results
|Place||Player||Country||Prize (EUR)||Prize (USD)|
|1st||Sam Grafton||United Kingdom||€ 97,900||$107,604|
|2nd||Sam Greenwood||Canada||€ 63,200||$69,464|
|3rd||Conor Beresford||United Kingdom||€ 45,150||$49,625|
|4th||Artur Martirosian||Russia||€ 34,750||$38,194|
|5th||Maksim Vaskresenski||Poland||€ 26,700||$29,347|
|6th||Julien Sitbon||France||€ 21,250||$23,356|
|7th||Nacho Barbero||Argentina||€ 17,000||$18,685|
|8th||Guram Andronikashvili||United Kingdom||€ 13,600||$14,948|
Day 2 Action
There were 29 players who returned to their seats from Day 1 with late registration open for an additional two levels into Day 2. That encouraged plenty of action for the first hour with stacks coming and going throughout. When all was settled, a total of 74 entries were recorded, and just 26 players made it to the first break.
In total, there was €370,000 up for grabs in the bounty prize pool, spread across 26 envelopes. The largest prize was the €50,000 envelope, and two of them were made available. The first one belonged to Conor Beresford, who was one of the first players to draw from the treasure chest. Couple that with four additional bounties, Beresford managed to walk away with €127,650.
The other top bounty went to Nacho Barbero, who only picked up one knockout on the day. Barbero made good use of it, picking up €50,000 to go along with his seventh-place finish. The other big bounty winners included Erik Seidel (€25,000), who failed to cash, and Artur Martirosian (€25,000) who bowed out in fourth place for an additional €34,750.
The chip lead in the early part of the day belonged to Felipe Ketzer, who was dominating the field, but a slight overstep in aggression while chasing down the bounties led to Ketzer becoming the short stack at the hands of Grafton. Ketzer was eliminated just short of the money but was able to pick up a couple of bounties in the process.
The unwanted bubble belonged to Sosia Jiang, who was grinding the short stack bit couldn’t make it last any longer. Her big slick was no match for the suited connectors of Beresford and the money bubble burst on the very first hand. The rest of the field was guaranteed at least €8,700 and some of the min-cashes went the way of Kayhan Mokri, Joao Vieira, Paul Newey, and Guram Andronikashvili.
The eliminations at the final table slowed drastically with just six players left at the dinner break. Over the next two hours, Julien Sitbon was the only player eliminated in that time frame. Eventually, the blinds would catch up with the short stacks as Maksim Vaskresenski and Martirosian were forced to get their chips in the middle with subpar holdings.
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It was a swingy match for the final three players, who took turns taking the chip lead and spent their fair share on the short stack. Beresford eventually bowed out in third place but not without the dramatics as all three players had their entire stack in the middle at the same time. Greenwood’s pocket jacks prevailed, which left him as a massive favorite entering heads-up with Grafton.
Greenwood was on the brink of capturing another title multiple times in the heads-up match, but a combination of bad luck or no luck at all left the Canadian frustrated. In the end, Greenwood went for the hero call on the river, but Grafton was able to turn over the goods with a straight to earn the victory. It is expected that many, if not all of these players, will be back in the ring tomorrow when the single-day €25,000 event takes place.
That wraps up this event for PokerNews but keep it tuned in here as there will be plenty more action over the next week at the 2023 EPT Monte Carlo.