The 2022 Mediterranean Poker Party ran from Aug. 19 to Sept. 4 at the Merit Crystal Cove Hotel and Casino. While there were several big events on the schedule, the festival’s centerpiece was the MPP $5 million guaranteed $5,300 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event. A total of 1,032 entries were made by the time registration closed, but only one would walk away with the title. That player was ultimately Germany’s Hannes Jeschka, who secured the trophy and the top payout of $542,000 as the eventual champion.
This was by far the largest score of Jeschka’s career, easily surpassing the $44,340 he earned as the fifth-place finisher in a 2021 Wynn Summer Classic $600 buy-in event. He now has more than $700,000 in lifetime cashes to his name.
Arsenii Karmatckii finished as the runner-up in this event, earning $471,000 just days after he took down a $2,200 buy-in event at the same series for $310,000. Karmatckii’s one-two punch in Cyprus, combined with his fifth-place finish in a $3,500 buy-in event at the Wynn Summer Classic, were enough to see him surge up the leaderboard and into 25th place in the 2022 Card Player Player of the Year race sponsored by Global Poker.
Jeschka earned a massive haul of 1,920 POY points as the outright winner in this event. Even though this was his first POY-qualified score of the year, this victory was impactful enough on its own to see him move within one spot of the top 100 in the rankings.
From the field of 1,032, only the top 155 finishers would make the money. A number of big names made deep runs in this event, including the likes of Paulina ’Poker Bunny ’Loeliger (83rd), Bruno Volkmann (75th), bracelet winner Nadar Kakhmazov (71st), bracelet winner Niall Farrell 950th), four-time bracelet winner David Peters (47th), and bracelet winner Erik Cajelais (16th).
The final day began with 21 players still remaining and Jeschka in the lead. By the time the final table was set, Jeschka had slid to the middle of the pack, while Karmatckii moved into pole position. Karmatckii had a big bluff picked off to give up the lead, but soon knocked out Riccardo Saraniero (9th – $53,000) to make up some of those losses.
Following the eliminations of Gabriel Akiki (8th – $65,000) and Manuel Fritz (7th – $80,000), Karmatckii sent a second opponent to the final-table rail when his Q-J held against the Q-9 of Koray Korkmaz (6th – $110,000). He then won a battle-of-the-blinds preflop race with 10-8 suited besting the pocket deuces of Nuri Hadioglu (5th – $160,000) to narrow the field to just four contenders.
Karmatckii continued his elimination spree when he shoved from the button into the two short stacks in the blinds. Yiannis Liperis called off his last 6.4 big blinds with K-J, but was unable to hold up against the Q-4 of Karmatckii, which made queens full of nines by the river. Liperis took home $230,000 as the fourth-place finisher.
Jeschka was the clear short stack when three-handed play began, but he found a timely double-up through Karmatckii early on to narrow that gap considerably. With things tightened up a bit, the final three paused the action to discuss a deal. They ultimately came to an agreement that locked up the following payouts for each of them, while leaving $100,000 and the title to play for:
Steven Warburton – $534,000
Arsenii Karmatckii – $471,000
Hannes Jeschka – $442,000
Jeschka cracked the pocket aces of Warburton, catching two pair on the turn and river before betting all-in on the end to double up and take the lead. Warburton was soon all-in and at risk with 109 trailing the A10 of Karmatckii. A 1042J6 runout brought some drama, but Karmatckii held in the end to send Warburton packing in third place.
Jeshka entered heads-up play with the lead, and needed only a few hands to convert that advantage into the title. All of the chips got in preflop with Jeschka’s AQ dominating the AJ of Karmatckii. The board came down 762910 to secure the pot and the title for Jeschka.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:
Photo credits: Merit Poker / Oleg Novruzov.