One of the most prestigious events on GGPoker’s 2021 World Series of Poker Online Series schedule was the $10,000 Heads-Up Championship. The event was originally capped at 128 players, but due to popular demand, GGPoker extended the field to allow for a maximum of 256 players. The Heads-Up Championship would eventually build up a prize pool of $1,561,700 with 161 entrants. The heads-up bracket played down to one player, and it was Arthur Conan who would win the highly-coveted WSOP gold bracelet and the first-place prize of $466,167.
Conan cashed in 10 events during the 2020 GGPoker WSOP Online Series, but was unable to crack the top ten in any of those cashes. This year, Conan has cashed eight GGPoker WSOP events, including a ninth place finish for $21,047 in the $5000 PLO Championship (Event #13), a fourth place finish for $63,391 in the $500 BIG 500 (Event #14), and this victory in Event #15.
The $10,000 Heads-Up Challenge started on Saturday, August 21, and played down to the final four players. Those four players resumed play on Saturday, September 4 and played down to a winner. Here’s a recap of the three heads-up matches that determined the winner.
Semifinals: Arthur Conan vs. Adrian Mateos
Arthur Conan defeated Shota Hirao, Ben Maya, Roman Hrabec, Stuart Wallensteen, and Miguel Capriles to advance to the final four. Adrian Mateos carved his path into the semifinals with wins over Bryan Micon, Ioannis Angelou-Konstas, Roman Emelyanov, Mizra Muhovic, and Vlad-Stefan Lache.
While Conan has an impressive resume in poker, he had to be considered an underdog coming into this heads-up matchup against Mateos. Adrian Mateos has won three WSOP bracelets and has over $20 million in documented tournament earnings to his name including over $10 million won on GGPoker.
But it was Conan who controlled the tempo for most of the time during his heads up match with Mateos. Conan took a commanding lead when Mateos tried bluffing into him when he had top trips on the board. The final hand dealt was a cooler as Mateos held the 10♥2♥ and Conan hold the A♥Q♥ on an all-heart flop. The board and river both bricked out, prompting Mateos to move all-in for value on the river before being snap-called by Conan who held the nuts.
Semifinals: Aleksejs Ponakovs vs. Daniel Soltys
Daniel Soltys beat Tamas Adamszki, Francisco Benitez, Feng Chen, Joakim Andersson and Max Kruse to punch his ticket into the final four of this event. Aleksejs Ponakovs made his way through Blaz Zerjav, Daniel Smith, Renan Bruschi, Yen-Liang Yao and Aliaksei Boika to make his way to the semifinals.
The script in this semifinals match was very similar to the one in the Conan vs Mateos match. Ponakovs built up a comfortable lead and then was on the right side of a cooler to close the match out. After limping in with 9d7d, Ponakovs called Soltys’ raise to 3,960 with Q♦10♥. The flop of 10♣ 8♣ 6♦ brought a straight for Ponakovs and top pair for Soltys. Soltys checked, Ponakovs bet 1,980, and Soltys moved all-in for his last 29,160. Ponakovs quickly called and held on for the win.
Adrian Mateos and Daniel Soltys each earned $155,389 for their semifinals finishes.
Final: Arthur Conan vs. Aleksejs Ponakovs
Both of the semifinals matchups each took less than an hour to determine the winner. This finals matchup between Arthur Conan and Aleksejs Ponakovs took nearly two hours. While Conan held the lead for most of the match, Ponakovs was a resilient foe that kept battling back to even.
With the blinds up to 1,500/3,000, Ponakovs raised on the button with pocket fives. Conan three-bet all-in with J♣9♣ and Ponakovs made the call for his last 69,194. The flop came down K♣ 9♥ 3♣ to give Conan the commanding lead. He held on for the victory, and Aleksejs Ponakovs settled for a $279,700 payday as the tournament’s runner-up finisher.
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