888Live Season in Review: London, Sao Paulo, Barcelona, Oh My!

Catalin Pop took home the first 888Live title in 2017

2017 was a year of big fields and bigger prize pools for the popular series of 888Live Events. As the current 888Live Season comes to an end we look back on the major events and the players who found themselves fortunate enough to lift the 888Live trophies and call themselves champions.

In February, the King’s Casino in Rozvadov played host to the first 888Live Festival of the year. In the Main Event, 531 entries put up the brand appropriate €808 +80 buy-in to create a prize pool of over €407,000. The broad coalition of international players included some big names and top-tier professionals including William Kassouf (23rd), Ludovic Geilich (4th) and Niall Farrell (3rd). But it was Germany’s affable Catalin Pop that outlasted them all to take home €80,000 ($86,246) and be crowned 888poker’s first festival champion of 2017.

Just two months later, in April, 303 runners hopped into the 888Live Easter Edition at Aspers Casino Stratford in London generating a prize pool of £121,200 ($151,438). 888poker brought out their ambassadors to play host as Sofia Lovgren (30th) and Chris Moorman (13th) found their way into the money for the first time in the season. At the final table with five players left, local grinder Krzysztof Pregowski found himself at the bottom of the pack. He laddered up to make the final three where a deal was made guaranteeing him £15,000. Finally, he battled all the way to the winner’s circle, defeating runner-up Terry Jordan for a grand total of £21,118 ($26,386). While Jordan didn’t get to take home the trophy, he was the chipleader when the deal was made and ended up celebrating with, basically, a first place of £21,000 ($26,239).

Hot on the heels of the London festival, 888Live was back in action at Casino Barcelona in Barcelona. The Main Event carried with it a €500,000 guarantee but the 609 entrants ensured that the guarantee was smashed, generating a purse of over €584,000. The field saw a slew of talent including Patrick Antonius, Alec Torelli, 888poker ambassadors Dominik Nitsche and Sofia Lovgren, on-the-felt adversaries Stacy Matuson (55th) and William Kassouf (11th) as well as the powerful personality of Cate Hall who finished at the final table in fourth. Collecting all the chips, and the first place prize of €110,000 ($122,248), was Italian online pro, 23-year old Luigi Shehadeh. It was Shehadeh’s second six-figure score in under a month.

After the summer World Series of Poker grind, the series returned with the 888Live Festival Sao Paulo in September. The event, throughly embraced by the Brazilians, attracted 757 runners taking their shot at their piece of the $1,000,000 BRL guarantee. Local player Haroldo Ferriera de Silva, short stacked for the much of the way leading up to the final table, grinded his way to the win, taking home the $200,000 BRL ($63,862) first place prize – far and away a career best for the Brazilian.

The final major event of the 2017 season, the 888Live London Festival at Aspers Casino Westfield drew 427 entries to the £1,100 Main Event, augmenting the prize pool to surpass the £400,000 guarantee. It was also the debut of the new 888 shot clock, helping speed the game along and giving players what they want – more action. Plenty of notable names made the trip to the UK including 888poker ambassadors Kara Scott, Natalie Hof, Sofia Lovgren and Parker ‘tonkaaaa’ Talbot (15th), 2017 WSOP charmer John Hesp, Valentin Vornicu and UK based pro Tom Hall, who ended up getting through the field taking home £78,888 ($104,170), the trophy and the title of 888Live champion.

888Live Events continue to emerge as one of the premiere poker circuits of any given year. Now that 2017 is in the books, all that’s left is to wonder is…where will 888Live land in 2018?