Breaking Down the Action:
  • A Thousand Players Fall
  • The Final Table Slows Down the Action
  • A Flurry of Bust-Outs
  • Heads-Up Sees Skyscraper of a Clash Ended by a Deal

The best of the best played it, but of all the big names at the final table, the GGPoker Spring Festival Main Event was conquered by King Kong… sort of.

With a lengthy 10-hour battle for supremacy on Day 2, the GGPoker Spring Festival Main Event had a mammoth $10 million guarantee, which for a $1,500-entry tournament, is the stuff of poker players’ dreams. That guarantee was just missed, meaning an incredible 6,803 entries were playing for $300,000 of overlay and a top prize of over $1.1 million.

A Thousand Players Fall

With so many Day 1 entries, there were still 1,177 players in seats when Day 2 began. That number plummeted over the next 10 hours to find a winner, and along the way, we lost some big names.

Just 700 players would make the money and players including Fedor Holz, Lucas Greenwood and Mikita Badziakowski all fell by the wayside in their efforts to claim the crown. Down the ‘back nine’ with just 100 players left, Scottish poker legend and Triple Crown winner Niall Farrell led the way. He didn’t stay in front, however, with the British poker hero crashing out in 38th place, as other big names such as Adrian Mateos,Bertrand ‘Elky’ Grospellier, Rainer Kempe, Connor Drinan and WSOP champion Damian Salas dropped out of the running too.

With three tables left, it was the American poker everyman David Peters who held the ‘yellow jersey’. He couldn’t hold onto the chip lead, either, as he would eventually bubble the final table in 10th place. While he at least had the excuse of winning the Bounty Hunters Main Event for a shade under $300,000 at the time, Peters would have been gutted to miss being part of the final nine.

Here’s how the chips stacked up when Peters made his way to the virtual rail.

Position Player Country Chips
1st Benjamin Chalot France 162,189,695
2nd Christopher Puetz Germany 112,298,837
3rd KingKongJoel Austria 101,222,268
4th Lucky-Lucky Ukraine 74,860,994
5th Mats Ullereng Norway 66,783,804
6th gipotenuza Mexico 46,989,238
7th seefaceng China 41,697,416
8th Zhuang Ruan Japan 23,057,539
9th Samuel Vousden Finland 18,958,604

The Final Table Slows Down the Action

The final table kicked off in style as Samuel Vousden of Finland was busted with a dominated hand, his ace-ten shot down by chip leader Benjamin Chalot’s ace-queen to leave Vousden on the rail, albeit $119,197 richer.

Next to go was the Mexico-based player ‘gipotenuza’, who cashed for $125,952 when they were extremely unlucky to bust with pocket queens when all-in pre-flop against the pocket tens of the eventual winner, ‘KingKongJoel’, who flopped a ten in the window.

German player Christopher Puetz lasted until Level 29 of the event, but could go no further, his big blind call for his tournament life needing help against the small blind shove of ‘lockdownmode’ with ace-six. The six-high flop was a disaster for Puetz, but he had real hope of a vital double-up on the king turn. All that hope was for nothing, however, as another six on the river delivered him from the event, a cash result of $211,966 scant consolation for that brutal river card.

A Flurry of Bust-Outs

It wasn’t long before four more players were collecting their winnings and watching the heads-up with envious eyes. ‘seefaceng’ was the next to go, crushed when their ace-queen was put down by Japanese player Zhuang Ruan’s pocket aces. Ruan was on a run, and he would win the next big all-in and call, too. This time it ws against the final table chip leader in Ben Chalot, whose ace-king could not hit against Ruan’s pocket tens to see the field reduced to four and Chalot out for a $376,935 result.

It was Norwegian player Mats Ullereng who went out in fourth place for just over half a million dollars, with ace-seven no good against Ukraine-based ‘Lucky-Lucky’. That name may have proved prophetic in that they won that confrontation, but fortune was reversed when they shoved from the small blind for 88 million chips and were called by Ruan with 260 million.

Ruan had ace-jack and Lucky-Lucky was not so lucky holding ace-nine, a jack on the flop only confirming the winning hand. Third place was worth over $670,000, but Ruan won it and gave himself a lead of 349 million to 328 million going into the duel to win it all.

Heads-Up Sees Skyscraper of a Clash Ended by a Deal

While KingKongJoel started with a deficit, it didn’t continue that way. The Austria-based player continued to win small pots and managed to reverse the lead, particularly by pushing the luckless Ruan off the pot on some awkward rivers. Another big bet on the turn of a board showing two nines and two jacks forced Ruan into a painful fold, and the Austrian took a 4:1 chip lead.

The final hand took place after a short pause to discuss a deal and with the two players agreeing some figures, the money all went in after the break. Ruan had moved all-in with king-deuce, with KingKongJoel calling with the five-four off-suit. A four on the river ended the tournament in the Austrian’s favour, but with a slight smoothing of the payouts, Ruan could be happy with the $952,195 he won for finishing as runner-up, while the Austrian champion banked just over $1.1 million.

GGPoker Spring Festival Main Event Final Table Results:

Place Player Country Prize
1st ‘KingKongJoel’ Austria $1,133,634
2nd Zhuang Ruan Japan $952,195
3rd ‘Lucky-Lucky’ Ukraine $670,296
4th Mats Ullereng Norway $502,651
5th Benjamin Chalot France $376,935
6th ‘seefaceng’ China $282,662
7th Christopher Puetz Germany $211,966
8th ‘gipotenuza’ Mexico $125,952
9th Samuel Vousden Finland $119,197


Paul Seaton

Paul Seaton has written about poker for many years, travelling the world to report live from such poker events as the World Series of Poker, European Poker Tour and World Poker Tour. As well as reporting live from the felt, Paul was Editor of BLUFF Europe magazine and has written for major poker brands including PokerStars, 888poker and partypoker where he was Head of Media. Paul has interviewed many of the world’s greatest poker players, such as Sam Trickett, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth and Bryn Kenney, the current all-time money list leader.

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