Chess Grandmaster Ottomar Ladva Wins GGPoker Super MILLION$, $326K

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Estonian chess grandmaster Ottomar Ladva won his first Super MILLION$ title for $325,957.

The second season of the GGPoker Super MILLION$ got underway this week as Estonian chess grandmaster Ottomar Ladva outlasted another star-studded final table to pick up his first Super MILLION$ title and the $325,957 first-place prize.

It may be a new year and new season for the weekly $10K tournament but there were plenty of old familiar faces at this week’s final table. Joining Ladva in the final nine were Super MILLION$ reg ‘RRomashka’, Thomas Muehloecker, and a pair of previous champions in Adrian Mateos and Connor Drinan.

Ladva had previously shown that he could handle himself in the midst of top-tier competition. Not only had he won his way into this week’s Super MILLION$ from a $1,050 satellite, but he had also previously turned a $530 satellite victory into a win in February’s partypoker MILLIONS $25K Online High Roller. In that event, he outlasted a final table that included Jason Koon, Brock Wilson, and Laszlo Bujtas. Eventually, he bested high-roller endboss Justin Bonomo in heads-up play and walked away with the $525,089 first-place prize.

On the very first hand of the Super MILLION$ final table, with the blinds at 20,000/40,000 (5,000 ante) Ladva opened to 80,000 from the hijack holding 8h8c. Thomas Mueloecker three-bet shipped his short stack of just over 10 big blinds with a dominated 7s7d. When it folded back to him, Ladva quickly called and the AhJh5s2s4d board ran out clean for Ladva’s pocket eights as Mueloecker’s stay at the final table was cut very short in ninth place for $45,100.

Less than five minutes later is was Stoyan Obreshkov’s turn to tangle with Ladva. Sitting on the shortest stack, Obreshkov opened to 180,000 with the KhQc, leaving himself fewer than five big blinds behind. From the blg blind, Ladva made the call with the Ad8d and the pair saw a flop of 9d5s2c. Ladva then led for over 300,000, enough to put Obreshkov all-in, and Obreshkov committed the rest of his stack. The turn was the 2d, bringing a backdoor flush draw for Ladva, and eliminating two outs for Obreshkov. The river was the 7c though and Ladva’s ace was good enough to take the pot and send Obreshkov out in eighth for $57,750.

The bustouts kept coming when Connor Drinan called for 40,000 from early position with KdJd only to be shipped on by ‘RRomashka’ for 289,000 from the big blind with JsJc. Drinan, who started the hand with more than 2 million in chips, made the call. The flop came down 8d5h4d, keeping ‘RRomashka’s pocket jacks ahead but bringing a flush draw for Drinan. The Qc turn changed nothing but the Ks hit the river, sending ‘RRomashka’ home in seventh place for $73,948.

With the three short stacks at the start of the day gone, the eliminations slowed down and six-handed play lasted for nearly forty minutes before the next player hit the rail. With the blinds at 35,000/70,000 (8,500 ante) Juan Dominguez opened from under the gun to 154,000 with his KcTc. It folded around to ‘HaiFanFan’ in the big blind with the KdQh and they made the call, with less than 10 big blinds behind. The JhTd8c flop brought Dominguez middle pair and backdoor draws while ‘HaiFanFan’ hit an open-ended straight draw to go with their two overs. That was good enough for ‘HaiFanFan’ to open-ship his stack to which Dominguez wasted no time in calling. The turn was the 4c and the river was the 3d, giving the hand to Dominguez and ending ‘HaiFanFan’s day in sixth place for $94,689.

Adrian Mateos had been maneuvering his short stack, avoiding trouble spots, and looking to find a way back up the chip counts. With the blinds at 40,000/80,000 (10,000 ante), he opened the button for half his stack to 560,000 with Ac4c. In the small blind, Dominguez three-bet to just over 1 million with the 9h9d. Drinan folded 4d4s in the big blind and Mateos made the call and put his tournament on the line. The board ran out Jd6s6d5cQh, keeping the pocket nines of Dominguez out front the whole time and Mateos who started the final table fifth in chips, exited in fifth for $121,247.

Six hands after busting Mateos, Dominguez himself was felted. From the button, Igor Gofman, who had chipped up into the lead, opened to 176,000 with KsKc. It folded to Dominguez in the big blind with the 8d3d and he decided to defend with a call. The flop came 6c3c2h, keeping the pocket kings out front but giving Dominguez middle pair. Dominguez checked it over to Gofman who continued for 305,600. Dominguez called and the turn came the 2c. Dominguez then led for 208,000 and Gofman called. The river was the 7s and after Dominguez checked it over to him, Gofman shipped all-in with his overpair. Dominguez let his timebank nearly run dry before making the hero call and seeing the bad news. Dominguez fell in fourth place which was good for $155,254.

With the blinds up to 50,000/100,000 (12,500 ante), Gofman held a commanding lead. Drinan in the small blind called the big blind holding KdQh and Gofman put in a raise from the big blind to 350,000 with his As9s. Drinan responded with a three-bet shove of over 3.1 million and Gofman, who wasn’t afraid of playing big pots, made the call. The AdTh3c flop put Gofman in the lead, leaving Drinan looking to hit his gutshot straight draw. However, the turn was the 9c and the river was the Ks forcing Drinan to settle for a third-place finish and $198,800 payday.

With Gofman holding such a commanding lead, one that he built up to more than 12:1 at one point, it looked like heads-up play was going to wrap up quickly. However, Ladva, the chess grandmaster, picked up a number of key pots and made all the right moves to not only get back into the match but take back the chip lead.

Ladva kept chipping away at Gofman’s stack and nearly an hour into heads up, had taken a better than 3:1 chip lead. On the final hand, with blinds up to 80,000/160,000 (20,000 ante), Ladva flat called the 160,000 on the button with Jc8c. Gofman put in a raise to 560,000 with AdKc and Ladva called. The pair saw a flop of JdQhJs and Gofman stuck out a bet of 302,800, which Ladva called with his trip jacks. The turn was the 3s and this time Gofman checked it over to Ladva who bet roughly one-third pot. Gofman called and the 6c came on the river. Gofman checked and with no time left in his timebank, at the last second, Ladva shipped. Gofman took just a moment before calling off with his ace-high hand. Gofman finished as the runner-up, banking $254,559 for his deep run. Ladva completed the heads-up comeback and was rewarded with the $325,957 first-place prize.

Super MILLION$ Final Table Payouts (6/22)

  1. Ottomar Ladva – $325,957
  2. Igor Gofman – $254,559
  3. Connor Drinan – $198,800
  4. Juan Dominguez – $155,254
  5. Adrian Mateos – $121,247
  6. ‘HaiFanFan’ – $94,689
  7. ‘RRomashka – $73,948
  8. Stoyan Obreshkov – $57,750
  9. Thomas Muehloecker – $45,100