Legends were made and a new King was born. Finland’s Kai Lehto defeated Germany’s Phil Gross heads-up to win the 2023 Kings of Tallinn Summer Showdown €1,100 Main Event for €108,260.
“I feel pretty good,” Lehto said to Kings of Tallinn Summer Showdown host Evely Pihela. “I’m tired (after four long days) but happy.”
Lehto came into the final day on top of the pack with 10 players left. It wasn’t all smooth sailing with several lead changes but Lehto maintained his composure throughout the final day and had the confidence to turn down a heads-up deal en route to hoisting the coveted trophy.
Even without a guarantee, the Main Event established a new gold standard for the summer edition of the Kings of Tallinn with a record-breaking 564 entries creating a €530,160 prize pool.
Kings of Tallinn Summer Showdown Main Event Final Table Results
Final Day Action
Kai Lehto entered the final day with the chip lead and quickly became the final table captain after Finland’s Tapio Aaltonen (10th – €6,300) lost his short stack.
Jakob Linden was the first to go at the final table in ninth place after he ran his jack-ten into the big slick held by Magnus Pukk. Pukk’s fortunes were short-lived as Ville Keranen snagged his chips shortly after in a cooler of a hand where Keranen flopped a set of sixes and Pukk flopped top two pair with king-queen suited.
Keranen came into the final table with the second shortest stack and a potential Cinderella story was in the making as he had the chip lead after this hand. However, for a short while it appeared local poker legend Tarmo Tammel would be a force to be reckoned with expecially after Tomi Arponen lost his stack to Tammel after running his ace-four suited into pocket rockets.
However, a massive cooler decimated Tammel’s stack and a new chip leader was born after calling off a four-bet jam with big slick. Urmo Velvelt with aces won the hand and was the new chip leader in what was the biggest pot thus far in the tournament.
Despite losing most of his stack, Tammel stuck around while Phil Gross won a flip to eliminate Mikael Haapaniemi with king-jack against fives. However, time ran out for Tarmo and he hit the rail in fifth place on a bad beat when his big slick was unable to hold against Gross’s ace-six.
Lehto then snagged the lead back after winning a big hand against Velvelt. Lehto was in jeopardy of losing a chunk of his stack but instead eliminated Keranen in fourth place when his king-ten suited improved to beat king-jack.
Gross managed to snag the lead before eliminating online poker beast Velvelt when his ace-jack won a flip against pocket eights.
It appeared at this point Gross was in the driver’s seat with triple the stack of Lehto. However, Lehto was down but not out and eventually took the lead and had Gross on the ropes. Gross battled away and asked about a deal when stacks were evened up. Lehto politely declined and it didn’t take him too long to be crowned the winner after the following hand.
Gross opened the button with jack-nine and Lehto defended his big blind with six-four. Both players snagged a piece of the nine-six-trey flop with Gross holding the better pair with Gross still ahead after an eight on the turn. Thus far, Lehto was check-calling value-bets by Gross. Lehto improved to trips after the six hit the river and he gave his opponent the opportunity to take his foot off the gas by checking one last time. Gross bet for value once again before Lehto jammed over the top. Gross called off his stack and the rest was history.
Congrats to Kai Lehto for winning the 2023 Kings of Tallinn Summer Showdown! While this epic record-breaking festival is in the history books something even bigger is just around the corner with players coming from across the globe to Olympic Park Casino and the Hilton Tallinn Park for the inaugural WSOP Circuit Tallinn where 12 coveted WSOP gold rings are on the line from Sept. 14-24.
AUTHOR: JASON GLATZER