All over in a tidy nine hours or so, the GGPoker Spring Festival $10,300 Thursday Thriller Bounty would see one dominating force far outperform the rest of the competitors when it came time to tally the final scores.
Not only did Ukraine's Andrii Novak book the win in the 154-entry field, worth about $111K in prize money, but he so outpaced the other players in bounties in the progressive knockout format (PKO) that he nearly tripled second-place money with a $352,628 total prize. Despite a final hour or so that saw wild swings, things always seemed to end with Novak getting the crucial KOs, and keeping his own bounty proved quite the boon when all was said and done.
Official Final Table Results
Novak has been one of the hotter players of late online with huge scores both here on GGPoker — he snagged $91K in a recent $525 bounty in February — and in the recent WPT500 with a second-place finish worth $123K.
Here, Novak had the second-biggest stack to start the final table and grabbed two of the first three KOs to take the lead.
However, Ami Barer put together a strong stretch as well. One of the highest-volume players with several million in cashes on GGPoker, Barer looked to be in a great position to snag the win as he had about two-thirds of the chips three-handed after winning a flip worth more than 50 big blinds total to bust Bruno Volkmann.
Novak, meanwhile, had won a huge bounty just before that, knocking out the start-of-final-table leader Renan Bruschi with ace-ten against queen-jack suited. So, after he bluffed off to double up Sami Kelopuro, he was the prime target with less than 20 blinds left — the shortest stack plus the biggest bounty.
Things turned fast, as they tend to do late in PKOs especially. Three hands saw Novak vault from shortest stack to chip leader heads up, ousting Barer in a surprising third-place finish. Novak limp-called pocket sevens and held against five-four suited, then his queens held against ace-jack, then he got lucky shoving ten-eight offsuit in the blinds and prevailing against king-nine with a turned gutshot straight.
Heads-up play proved a short and unexciting affair as Kelopuro could barely drag a pot over the course of 40 hands or so, slowly being whittled down until he got his last few blinds in behind and failed to catch up.
That wraps up PokerNews' coverage of this event, but plenty more high-stakes action remains on the schedule so be sure to keep tabs on the GGPoker Spring Festival reporting hub here.