Kraft Wins High Roller, Matuson Wins Grudge Match vs. Kassouf


It was a busy day in Rozvadov yesterday at the 888Live Poker Festival. The €888 buy-in Main Event took off, the High Roller finished and Stacy Matuson and William Kassouf played their best-of-three grudge match.

Jonas Kraft Wins the High Roller

Jonas Kraft outlasted a star-studded table to win the 888Live Rozvadov €5,300 High Roller for €49,875. With just three players making the money, Kraft finished ahead of overnight chip leader Martin Kabrhel (2nd – €29,925), and Philipp Zukernik (3rd – €19,950) who rounded out the money spots.

Kraft eventually emerged triumphant when his ace-queen cracked the pocket sevens of Czech pro and home favorite Martin Kabrhel, shortly before 2 a.m. local time. This marks his largest live cash to date, and it comes just five days after a 28th place cash in the Opening Event of the 888Live Festival here in Rozvadov.

1Jonas KraftGermany€49,875
2Martin KabrhelCzech Republic€29,925
3Philipp ZukernikCanada€19,950

With a small field, it was always going to be a who’s who of high roller regulars, and when nine players emerged overnight it was expected that more players would join the field at the start of the day. Two players entered the fray – or re-entered the fray, as was the case with Niall Farrell. The other player joining the field was Oshri Dahan who was promptly eliminated within the first level of the day by Pavel Binar.

As the players slowly trickled towards the exit, a final table of some great names emerged into view. Martin Kabrhel lead going into the final table with more than double his nearest competitor’s chip stack, but he was joined by November NinerPierre Neuville, Scottish pros Ludovic Geilich and Niall Farrell, and ninth place finisher from the 888Live London Main Event Enzo Del Piero.

Del Piero was first to be eliminated, when his river bluff was caught by the evergreen Pierre Neuville who showed some true class, and luck of the deck, to keep pace with the young guns at the final table.


Joining Del Piero on the rail was Pavel Binar and Aleksandar Tomovic, and as play reached five-handed the players all tightened up. With only three places paid, and a min-cash worth almost €20,000, many expected a bubble deal to be made, but none was forthcoming so play continued.

Ludovic Geilich’s jacks were flushed away at the hands of Jonas Kraft to leave just four players remaining, and finally, the hopes of many poker fans were crushed when septuagenarian superstar Pierre Neuville exited in fourth.

Three-handed play didn’t last long, with Philipp Zukernik exiting promptly in third place for €19,950 to leave overnight chip leader Martin Kabrhel and Jonas Kraft heads-up for the money and the title of High Roller champion.

Much of the heads-up, and indeed the final table, was marred by tanking from the Czech pro and an incident where Kabrhel was acused of angle shooting. Controversy aside, Kabrhel battled back from a 2:1 chip deficit to level things up, but eventually lost out when his pocket sevens were cracked by his opponents Ace-Queen, with the German holding a slight chip lead.

Speaking to David Tuchman on the live-stream shortly after his victory, Kraft said some of his opponent Kabrhel’s antics were “disgusting.”

“I already know him from playing cash games with him. One minute you can just be talking normally to him, and then he’s doing some crazy stuff to get you to play out of line. But I just tried to stay cool and play my very best game,” said Kraft.

“So what are your plans now,” asked Tuchman, who was joined in the live stream by new Team888 Pro Parker ‘tonkaaaap’ Talbot.

“Now? A beer,” replied Kraft.

16 Players Bag Chips on Day 1a of the 888Live Rozvadov Main Event

A grand total of 14 players advanced to Day 2 from the first of three flights of the €888 Main Event at the 888Live Festival in Rozvadov. 72 players started and after 12 levels of play in the shadow of the High Roller table, only a select few survived.

Players were given the option of surrendering their stack, as if they didn’t they wouldn’t be able to play any of the two other flights which follow over the next couple of days.

With play finishing shortly after 4 am local time, it was a long one for players who had chosen today as the day to start their Main Event odyssey. By the time the High Roller finished, with Jonas Kraft emerging triumphant, only three tables remained. Among the names still in the frame included Opening Event day 1a chip leader Bartosz Szafraniec, who failed to add a second Day 1a chip lead to his poker resume.

Leading the way is Opening Event final tablist Alexander Dmitrienko with 256,9000 in chips. Hailing from Russia, Dmitrienko finished 7th in the Opening Event which was eventually won by Marek Blaško.

The second flight of the Main Event starts at 4 pm today. The tournament’s €300,000 guarantee will ensure that both flights 1b and 1c will be packed, with players looking to ensure their place on Day 2

Stacy Matuson Defeats William Kassouf in Heads Up Grudge Match

Stacy Matuson called out William Kassouf on Instagram Jan. 11, calling for a redemption heads-up match at 888Live Poker Festival at King’s Casino Rozvadov. The invitation followed after a much debated hand between the two at the WSOP Main Event where Kassouf got Matuson to lay down pocket queens in a big hand early on.

Yesterday, the match was played and it was Matuson who won the best-of-three match winning both first games. First, watch the interviews we did with Matuson and Kassouf before play began, and the winner interview with Matuson afterwards: