Living the Dream: Luiz De Melo Becomes WPT Micro Main Event Champion for Biggest Career Result After Turning $109 into $148,985

By Lisa Yiasemides Five more winners were crowned last night, and most notable of all was Luiz De Melo’s colossal spin up, turning $109 into a life-changing sum of money. The final day rounded off three days of action on and though it was undoubtedly the story of the night, Jan-Eric Schwippert, Joao Manuel…

Lisa Yiasemides
Sep 2, 2020

By Lisa Yiasemides

Five more winners were crowned last night, and most notable of all was Luiz De Melo’s colossal spin up, turning $109 into a life-changing sum of money. The final day rounded off three days of action on and though it was undoubtedly the story of the night, Jan-Eric Schwippert, Joao Manuel Goncalves De Brito, Christopher Hunichen and Luis Arodriques Dono also reaped the rewards of taking down their respective tournaments.

The night was full of drama and excitement but there really is only one place to begin, and that is with the story of De Melo’s victory in the Micro Main Event Championship, which you can read all about below.

Yesterday’s winners

Event #07: $109 Micro Main Event Championship ($1M GTD)

It all started a few days ago and over the course of two starting flights, 8,465 entries were counted as players flocked to try and win big and become a WPT Champion in the process. By the time the final day got underway, just 56 players remained, and they all pulled up a chair at 7 pm to continue battling it out for the title.

The departures were fast and furious at the start, with Matt Staples and Christopher Andler among the notable early eliminations, the former departing after running his short stack into pocket rockets with pocket-tens. In total, it was two and a half hours of play before the final two tables were reached, at which point the live stream stepped in to provide cards up coverage of all the action.

Artem Korohodov ($6,780) came so close but fell in 10th place, bubbling a seat at the final table and confirming the nine finalists in the process. He was eliminated by Patrick Leonard after moving all in with ace-deuce and running into Leonard’s ace-king. That hand was the latest in the partypoker pro’s rise throughout the final day, but his incredible run was about to be cut short.

Anis Homaidan ($8,540) busted first on the final table after three-bet shoving with pocket-sevens over Leonard’s under-the-gun raise. Leonard had pocket-queens and when Philipp Zeckai flat-called, Leonard went over the top only to run into pocket-aces. It wasn’t the first time a situation like this had happened to Leonard – he managed to eliminate start-of-the-day chip leader Alexandre Andrade 16th place with pocket-kings after spiking trips to crack pocket-aces. He failed to get out of it this time though and that clash left him short.

Patrick Leonard

Patrick Leonard

Things went from bad to worse when Joris De Baas went all in with ace-eight suited and rivered an eight against Leonard’s ace-king. With just six big blinds left, the last of it went in with pocket-tens over Hamish Crawshaw’s queen-jack suited open and he lost the flip, taking $10,450 for the result.

The rest of the table presumably breathed a sigh of relief that one of the most formidable opponents at the table was now out of the running. De Baas ($13,950) had made one extra ladder as a result of his double up, but he couldn’t get further than 7th place in the end.

It took a while for the next elimination to occur and this time it was seasoned online grinder Andre Felipe De Medeiros Figueiredo’s turn to depart. The Brazilian put in a strong performance, even making a big laydown (correctly) with pocket-queens. Ironic that he would lose to that same hand, after three-betting all in with ace-queen suited and finding no help from the board.

The next casualty was Hamish Crawshaw ($29,770). One of the shortest stacks at the table, Crawshaw had done extremely well to ladder this far but it was a blind on blind jam from Yin Zhang with seven-deuce suited that hit against Crawshaw’s ace-eight to send him to the rail in fifth place. It was a similar story for Philipp Zeckai ($43,630) just minutes later. Zhang moved all in on the button with jack-eight, covering both opponents behind and Zeckai called with ace-king but couldn’t fade the jack on the flop.

With three left, Kim Heidemann had managed to make it this far but had been short-stacked the whole way. It seemed likely that they would bust next, but once again their disciplined folds allowed them to make it into the six-figure cashes and leaving Zhang to bust in third for $66,686. Heidemann did what many others had hoped (but failed) to do, doubling twice against Zhang. Losing a couple of pots against De Melo, Zhang’s one billion chip lead stack dwindled. Down to 25 big blinds, he lost pocket-fives against Heidemann’s pocket-eights and couldn’t recover from there.

Luiz De Melo 2

Luiz De Melo

The final two had been playing for around eight hours at this point but the heads-up stage of the competition ended relatively quickly after one of the worst beats of the night unfolded at around 3:15 am (BST). De Melo and Heidemann both had ace-jack offsuit in the hole and the chips flew into the middle preflop. The overwhelming likelihood of chopping saw Twitch hosts James Dempsey and Ludovic Geilich continue to chat as the flop came out with two spades. Their attention was grabbed when a third spade came on the turn, giving De Melo a freeroll for almost $45,000 and a WPT Championship title…

The fourth spade on the river locked it up for De Melo as Dempsey and Geilich stared in disbelief and horror at what had just unfolded. Despite that brutal beat it was an incredible run for Heidemann, far exceeding expectations given their short stack all the way through.

For De Melo, it was a deserved victory. The road to the top wasn’t always a smooth one and he managed to weather the ups and downs, remaining calm throughout. The result is that they can now call themselves a WPT Champion and have lived the ultimate poker dream of turning $109 into a six-figure, life-changing sum. Congratulations!

Micro ME Championship FT results

$530 Second Chance PKO ($100K)

The guarantee may have been $100,000 but 254 entries ensured that was beaten, with a total of $127,000 in prizes up for grabs. Day 1 paused when the final 32 players were reached, which coincided with the bubble bursting.

Antonio Pedro was the first one out, taking $657 from the main prize pool, as well as $187 in bounties. They were in good company at the virtual rail, with the likes of Jerry Ödeen (31st, $375) and Tomi Brouk (26th, $875) also banking a $657 min-cash.

Alex Foxen (21st, $750), Dzmitry Urbanovich (20th, $437) and Day 2 chip leader Dmitrii Shutenko (17th, $1,421) all made one ladder for a $791 cash plus their respective bounties. Recent WPT Knockout Champion Daniel Smyth was still in the mix too but the Irishmell fell in 11th place, taking $1,126 + $1,828 in bounties, while Marc Berger who pure bubbled the final table left in 10th place but won slightly less, owing to the smaller $1,500 in cash he collected via knockouts.

Pascal Hartmann (8th, $1,582 + $687) and Thomas Boivin ($2,057 + $1,492) were among the familiar names on the final, with Central Europe represented by no less than four of the nine finalists. Two of those were the eventual winner and runner up.

Jan-Eric Schwippert

Jan-Eric Schwippert

Jan-Eric Schwippert ($10,188 + $16,519), an established German pro who was playing from Austria, came out on top after beating Daniel Smiljkovic ($10,175 + $1,242) heads up, to bring an end to five hours of play. Schwippert’s dominance at the end was apparent with the poker superstar collecting more than five times the amount of bounties compared to Sergei Koliakov, who collected the second biggest sum.

Second Chance 02.09

$109 Mini Second Chance PKO ($75K)

The Mini event also far exceeded its guarantee with $105,500 collected via the 1,055 registrations and when the 32 players returned, they were already well within the money stages of the competition.

Daniel Österbacka (32nd, $236 + $243) departed first and that set off a flurry of eliminations with the event all wrapped up in less than four hours. Many of the most well-known players made it into the top 20. Douglas Ferreira Souza (20th, $304 + $237), Viktor Ustimov (14th, $409 + $361), Frederico Lopes David (9th, $662 + $1,623) and Bertil Andreas Samuelsson (7th, $1,009 + $590) all did well, with the latter two making the final table.

In the end though, it was Joao Manuel Goncalves De Brito versus Joel Lehtinen and the former took the title and the biggest chunk of the prize pool, after he bested Lehtinen, the last obstacle standing in his way. De Brito takes $7,095 + $8,368 for first, while Lehtinen won a very respectable $7,084 + $1,513 for placing runner up.

Mini Second Chance 02.09

$530 7-Max Knockout ($100K)

The second Knockout event of the night was similar to its predecessor in buy-in, guarantee and PKO structure, but it differed in that this was a 7-Max event, designed to play out in one day.

A total of 206 players (including re-entries) stumped up the buy-in, generating $103,000 for the prize pool. By the end of seven and a half hours of play, American pro Chris Hunichen ($8,982 + $13,582) who was playing from Costa Rica, had risen to the top. It was a tough field, that culminated in Hunichen beating Alexandru Papazian heads up, just one of the main tricky opponents standing in his way.

Parker Talbot (5th, $2,872 + $2,265) and online star Andreas Berggren (8th, $1,312 + $125) made it all the way to the final table, outlasting players such as partypoker’s Dzmitry Urbanovich (10th, $1,063 + $1,015), Andras Nemeth (13th, $871 + $890) and WPT Mix-Max Champion Andrey Kotelnikov (4th, $871 + $531) who had deep runs too.

7-Max PKO 02.09

$109 7-Max Knockout ($75K)

The final title of the night went to Luis Arodriques Dono ($5,458 + $5,630) and though the buy-in was smaller, the 792 entries meant five-figures were still up for grabs for the winner. With the size of the field, it took seven hours and 20 minutes to reach a conclusion. Ilia Plaxin put up the best challenge but finished in second place ($5,450 + $1,028).

A total of 105 places were paid, with Felipe Theodoro Da Costa (105th) adding the $119 min-cash to his $25 bounty winnings. The difference between PKO comps and regular freezeouts was illustrated perfectly when Dino Budiša technically bubbled in 103rd place, but their $162 knockout winnings meant they walked away with a bigger profit than Da Costa did.

Mini 7-Max PKO 02.09