The inaugural European Poker Tour stop in Cyprus is in the books and this story couldn’t have played out better for either event-sponsor PokerStars or the winner, Gilles Simon, who binked his biggest prize yet: $1,042,000, or nearly five times his lifetime total.
Simon was the last of 896 (424 rebuys) standing who came to Merit Royal Diamond Hotel Casino and Spa to play in the $5,300 Main Event, a five-day affair that generated a $6.4 million prize pool.
Poker fans might recognize Simon as a former Twitch streamer who won a PokerStars promotion in 2019 called “Dare2Stream,” which gave him a $25,000 Platinum pass he could use for tournament entry fees. At the time, he was streaming $10 tourneys. Now the 24 year-old is an EPT PokerStars champ and newly-minted millionaire.
Here’s what he had to say after the victory:
“It was very close and I think it was just very much for everyone involved. The battle of who can just hold on, who can keep playing steady and not make too many big mistakes because the pressure is on, has been on for multiple days already.
And it just gets bigger and bigger and bigger, and everyone just has that feeling of ‘I want it to be over with. I want to be done with it. But you also want to keep playing long game. So yeah, What did it take? I don’t know. Good cards.
And I like to think also mostly good decisions as a couple of spots where I was like, I don’t know if I played that optimally, but yeah, I like to think that I made some good decisions in the end to maneuver my way to heads up and eventually to win.”
Sometimes quitting pays off
After Simon won his Platinum pass, he quit his budding online streaming career to put all his energy into the game of poker.
And after four years of a bucketful of min-cashes and not-so-near misses, the decision paid off for the young Dutchman. His only victory besides this big bink is a win in a €200 event at the Sylvester Poker Event Valkenburg in 2017. But his results are trending upwards — this is his third final table since last November. He managed two fourth-place finishes for $89K and $44K before popping the big one in Cyprus.
Jose Gonzalez pushed his tournament winnings over $1 million with the $465,424 that came with third. It surpassed his previous best of $377,842 for winning the EPT Prague Main Event in March 2022.
Fourth-place finisher Halil Tasyurek never bagged a six-figure score until he won $358,075 in his home country of Cyprus. But he did spend the last two years cashing 21 tournaments, mostly in Turkey.
Yannick Schumacher started the year with his largest tournament cash by finishing fourth at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure for $70,700. He made the year even better with a fifth in Cyprus for $275,425.
Rounding out the top six is Nikita Kuznetsov, who brought in about $1.2 million in tournament winnings to the final table in Cyprus. Of that, $1.4 million came for a third-place finish in the $10,000 WSOP.com championship in August 2021. A month later he was the runner-up in the live WSOP $10,000 6-Handed championship for $445,892. The $211,850 for sixth in Cyprus is his third best.
The entire final table can be viewed on YouTube:
Top nine of $5,300 EPT Cyprus
- Simon Gilles, $1,042,000
- Andrea Dato, $652,200
- Jose Gonzalez, $465,425
- Halil Tasyurek, $358,075
- Yannick Schumacher, $275,425
- Nikita Kuznetsov, $211,850
- Bjorn Kozenkai, $162,925
- Viktor Yugay, $125,350
- Priit Parmasto, $96,425