Simeon Spasov prevails in an epic heads-up duel and wins the Merit Poker Cup

Simeon Spasov

They both went back and forth Simeon Spasov And Giorgiy Shkhulkhiya I’m trying to get this done Merit Poker Carmen series with a win in Merit Poker Cup and have an epic heads-up duel.

It took until the clock here passed midnight Merit Crystal Cove Hotel and Casinobut Spasov ultimately emerged victorious, taking the trophy and the $149,600 grand prize home to Bulgaria.

Spasov is no stranger to success in No-Limit Hold’em events. He won a WSOP bracelet in a $2,000 No-Limit Hold’em event in 2022 and finished fourth in the Merit Poker Carmen Series Main Event last year. His win today, beating a field of 459 entrants, brings his live winnings to nearly $2,000,000

“I put in a lot of work and I have a lot of friends who help me,” Spasov explained after his grueling heads-up battle with Skhulukhiya. “I invested a lot of volume to keep getting better.”

For Skhulukhiya, the ending was a bittersweet end to a final table series that ran smoothly until the end. The Merit Poker Gangster Series high roller champion built a massive chip lead at the final table, at one point holding more than double his nearest five-player challenger. He was involved in almost every pot and always asked his opponent to choose one of his cards to show after winning a hand. The Georgian high roller was well on his way to securing the title until fate and a bit of luck intervened for Spasov, forcing him to settle for second place.

Merit Poker Cup final table results

rank player country Price (USD)
1 Simeon Spasov Bulgaria $149,600*
2 Giorgiy Shkhulkhiya Georgia $140,000*
3 Maher Achour Tunisia $74,100
4 Ivan Zabiia too Russia $56,600
5 Mikhail Zavoloka Russia $42,500
6 Aleksandr Ivanov Jr Russia $34,000
7 Simone Andrian Italy $28,300
8th Nenad Dukic Serbia $22,600
9 Boris Smuskevicius Lithuania $16,900

*Denotes heads-up deal

Day 4 action

Day 4 began with 20 players returning to play at 1 p.m Matthew Davenport fell victim to a brutal river against Mikhail Zavoloka in the first hand of the day and lost most of his stack. A few hands later he was eliminated in 20th place.

One of the biggest stories of the day came to an abrupt end. Alexander Ivanov and his son, Aleksandr Ivanov JrThey were both still chasing the trophy, but their father crashed out early in 19th place. Maxim Shornikau then retired in 18th place after losing a race with ace-king against Spasov’s nines.

Alexander Ivanov
Alexander Ivanov

Emad Ghadamian (17th), Krzysztof Spisak (16.) and Milen Bakardjiev (15th) were the next to fail. Ivanov Jr. then woke up with kings in the big blind and defeated both of them Edgard Raffoul And Antonio Aversa on the same page.

Spasov’s tournament almost came to an early end when he was all-in against him with just queen-high Maher Achour‘s jacks. However, Spasov caught a running flush and doubled. Nikolai Fal caught a big pair in two consecutive hands and doubled with the queens against him Nenad Dukic, and then getting kings in the next hand. Unfortunately, this time Achour woke up with aces that defeated him in 12th place.

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Spasov eliminated Nathan Chauskin in 11th place ahead of the chip leader at the start of the day Tony Kaukua pushed the river in Boris Smuskevicius‘ straight. With only one big blind left, Kaukua was eliminated on the next hand to secure the nine-handed final table.

Spasov led with 9,200,000 at the start of the final table, but Skhulukhiya wasted no time in climbing to the top. Skhulukhiya built a big pot against Smuskevicius, hit the river and Smuskevicius made a snap call for his final 1,700,000 with trip kings. However, Skhulukhiya had a full house as Smuskevicius was eliminated in ninth place.

Dukic then got his short stack with top pair against Simone Andrian‘s jacks, but Andrian rivered a flush and eliminated him in eighth place. Andrian, who made back-to-back final tables after winning this event at the Merit Poker Western Series in January, then pitted his ace-queen against Spasov’s ace-king and fell to seventh place.

Simone Andrian
Simone Andrian

Ivanov Jr., whose father was watching intently at the rail, then moved all-in on a king-high board for 2,075,000 and both Skhulukhiya and Spasov called. Skhulukhiya bet 3,000,000 on the turn to drive out Spasov and revealed a set of jacks. Ivanov could only show a pair of kings and ended up in sixth place.

Aleksandr Ivanov Jr
Aleksandr Ivanov Jr

Skhulukhiya took a commanding lead over the field and climbed to over 20,000,000 with almost half of the chips in play five-handed. Zavoloka was eliminated in fifth place when Achour flopped two pair Ivan Zabiia too tried a big bluff with ten-seven, but Spasov fended him off with ace-queen and beat him in fourth place.

Spasov was all-in with two aces against Skhulukhiya’s ace-queen for 9,050,000 and doubled to close the gap. Achour fell to third place when he was all-in with pocket tens against Skhulukhiya’s ace-five with his final 4,000,000, but he brought an ace on the turn, giving Skhulukhiya another bustout.

Skhulukhiya had a big lead over Spasov at the start of heads-up, 37,100,000 to 8,800,000. But it wouldn’t stop there. Spasov came from behind and doubled with ace-nine against ace-ten for 10,500,000, hitting a nine on the flop. He took the chip lead until Skhulukhiya called Spasov’s river shove with two pair and doubled to take the lead again.

Giorgiy Shkhulkhiya
Giorgiy Shkhulkhiya

Both players eventually agreed to a deal and received $140,000 each, leaving aside the additional $9,600 and the trophy to play for. Spasov doubled again with king-jack against jack-ten and then took a big lead when Skhulukhiya called a raise of 8,200,000 on the river and Spasov showed a straight. Spasov then moved all-in from the button and Skhulukhiya called his final 10,000,000 with king-queen. Spasov held two fives and won the race, bringing the nearly three-hour heads-up match to an end.

Simeon Spasov and Giorgiy Skhulukhiya
Simeon Spasov and Giorgiy Skhulukhiya

Spasov sang loudest as the curtain finally came down after almost two weeks of action on the Carmen Series in Northern Cyprus.

That’s the end of it PokerNews‘ Coverage of the Merit Poker Carmen Series. Stay tuned for live updates from tournaments around the world.


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