German professional Julian Thomas needed only two heads-up hands to win the 2013 World Poker Tour (WPT) Prague Main Event. He sealed the deal three-handed shooting his competition out of the sky with his bullets – pocket Aces.
Thomas started the seventh and last day of the tournament third in chips, after chip-leader Belarussian Vasili Firsau and Russian Andrey Shatilov. All three players eliminated opponent after opponent, setting the stage for an epic finish.
Firsau started the show snap-calling a big river bluff. Serbian Ognjen Sekuralac limped on the button and led on a Q-8-6 flop. The turn doubled the board and this time Firsau decided to take action, with Sekuralac calling. The river brought yet another bet from the Belarussian but the Serb didn’t want to let go of the hand and pushed all-in. Firsau called with trips only to see that Sekuralac made his move with seven-high. “I was stupid,” the Serb admitted later. He finished the tournament in fifth place, earning $64,683.
Thomas continued the action by eliminating Lithuanian Gintaras Simaitis. Simaitis open-raised 2.5x and was three-betted by the German. After careful thinking, Simaitis took a shot and moved all-in with his Ace-Eight suited. Thomas had an easy decision to make and called with pocket queens. After a dream flop, catching both a flush draw and an open-ender along with his overpair, Simaitis left the table defeated, finishing fourth and winning $86,703.
It was Thomas who eventually took care of business and ended the last WPT Main Event of 2013 faster than anyone had expected. The German won the tourney thanks to one crucial hand: during level 28 (30,000 – 60,000 with 10,000 ante), he opened the button with a 2x raise and shortstack Shatilov shoved all his chips. The chip-leader Firsau re-raised his whole stack to isolate the Russian but was immediately called by Thomas. The showdown was one to remember: Shatilov held the Queen-Ten of hearts, Firsau had pocket jacks and Thomas was comfortably in front with his pocket aces. The board didn’t bring anything new to the table, with Shatilov being eliminated in third place ($116,982) and Firsau dealing with a huge blow and a nine big blind stack.
The heads-up play started with a double-up by the Belarussian after making a flush on the river. The second hand, though, was a knock-out. Thomas re-raised all in with Ace-King and was a 62% favorite over Firsau’s Queen-Ten suited. The Big Slick held and Firsau finished second, winning $185,796.
Thomas won $283,827. Besides the WPT Prague, the German has only one other major cash – in the 2013 EPT Berlin where he finished seventh for $144,190.