Wiktor Malinowski has already established himself on the high-stakes poker scene, although to this point the Polish pro known to many by his screen name ‘limitless’ has primarily focused on online cash games. The former professional handball player has won plenty of six-figure pots online, but until recently his largest recorded tournament score was the $296,643 payday he earned as the seventh-place finisher in the 2019 European Poker Tour Monte Carlo €100,000 buy-in high roller. Malinowski absolutely blew that previous high-water mark away on Sept. 1 by emerging victorious in the 2021 Super High Roller Bowl Europe $250,000 buy-in championship event. He took home $3,690,000 for the win after overcoming a field of 41 entries and a stacked final table that included several of the best players in the game.
In addition to the title and the money, Malinowski also earned 600 Card Player Player of the Year points after coming out on top in this event. This was his first POY-qualified score of the Year. He also earned 600 PokerGO Tour rankings points as the champion, enough to see him shoot up the standings and into 26th place on that leaderboard.
The final day began with Malinowski leading the final six players, all of whom had locked up at least half a million dollars for their efforts. The very first hand saw medium stack David Peters double through second-ranked Zhuang Ruan, who shoved on the turn with the nut flush draw. Peters called with trip queens and improved to quads on the river. Shortly after that strong start to the day, Peters lost a massive pot with pocket kings against the flopped set of nines of Ivan Leow to plummet back down the leaderboard.
Viacheslav Buldygin came into the day as the shortest stack. He lost a sizable chunk of his remaining chips when his A-7 failed to outrun the pocket tens of Ruan and was eliminated shortly after that in sixth place ($512,500). Peters followed Buldygin to the rail, with his 44 falling to the A9 of a surging Leow who made queens and nines to eliminate Peters in fifth place ($820,000). The score increased the three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner’s career earnings to just shy of $38.5 million, enough to see him surpass Dan Smith and move into fifth place on poker’s all-time money list. Peters also earned 250 POY points and for his eighth final-table finish of the year, with three titles won along the way. As a result. Peters climbed into 17th place in the 2021 POY race standings, sponsored by Global Poker.
Peters has now cashed for more than $2.9 million in events that qualify for PokerGO Tour rankings points. With 1,392 points, he now occupies the sixth-place spot on that in the standings for that race.
Bracelet winner and two-time SHRB champion Timothy Adams’ run in this event came to an end when his J10 was unable to crack the AA of Malinowski. Adams flopped an open-ended straight draw, but failed to improve any further and was knocked out in fourth place. He earned $1,127,500 for his strong showing, increasing his career earnings to more than $26.7 million.
20-year-old Zhuang Ruan exploded onto the live tournament scene in August by taking down the $50,000 buy-in high roller event at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open for $562,600. Ruan had managed to recover from his loss in the first hand of the day to survive to the final three. His final hand in this event began with him raising to 120,00 from the button with AA. Ivan Leow defended his big blind holding 87 and the flop came down J74. Leow checked and Ruan bet 200,000 with his overpair. Leow called with his pair of sevens and the 9 came off the deck on the turn. Leow checked a second time and Ruan moved all-in for 755,000. Leow went deep into the tank before making the call with his pair and straight draw. The 10 on the end completed Leow’s straight, giving him the lead and sending Ruan packing in third place ($1,640,000). This was his first-ever seven-figure tournament score. His career earnings grew to over $2.3 million as a result, while also moving into 19th place in the PokerGO Tour points race.
With that, the marathon heads-up showdown commenced, with Leow initially sitting on 5,635,000 to Malinowski’s 4,615,000. The two proceeded to battle it out for over five hours, with multiple lead changes along the way, but no preflop all-in showdowns until the pivotal hand of the heads-up clash. With the blinds having climbed all the way to 100,000-200,000 with a 200,000 big blind ante, Malinowski min-raised to 400,000 on the button with AK. Leow three-bet shoved from the big blind with A4. Malinowski called all-in for approximately 4.7 million and the board ran out 86589. Malinowski’s superior side-card played, earning him the massive double up to leave Leow on fumes. Shortly after that Malinowski shoved with 98 and Leow called all-in for a few big blinds more with J4. Malinowski hit a pair of eights on the turn and held through the river to secure the pot and the title.
Leow earned $2,460,000 as the runner-up finisher. This was his largest career payday, topping the $1,439,173 he earned as the winner of a €100,000 buy-in side event at the 2018 WSOP Europe. The score increased Leow’s earnings to just shy of $11.9 million.
Here is a look at the payouts and rankings points awarded in this event:
Winner photo credit: PokerNews.