Derk van Luijk Triumphs at the 2024 EPT Monte Carlo Main Event

In a stunning display of skill and fortune, Dutch player Derk van Luijk claimed the title at the 2024 EPT Monte Carlo Main Event, taking home a grand prize of €1,000,000 as he defeated Boris Angelov at the end of an epic heads-up match. This year’s main event had a record-breaking number of entries, totaling at 1,208.

Van Luijk, a 43-year-old investor and semi-professional poker player, demonstrated remarkable resilience and strategy and also had the right amount of luck to secure his place in history as one of the European Poker Tour champions. This victory marks his most significant achievement, surpassing his previous best at the EPT Barcelona side event in 2022.

Final Table Drama

Van Luijk faced numerous all-in situations where his tournament life hung by a thread. One of the most remarkable moments came when van Luijk, holding ace-jack against a dominating pair of aces, miraculously pulled running jacks to stay in the game. His knack for landing the needed cards at critical moments earned him the nickname “Baby Run Good,” a term affectionately used in poker for someone experiencing an uncanny streak of good luck coinciding with a new addition to their family—van Luijk is expecting his third child later this year.

Van Luijk’s path to victory was anything but straightforward. Starting the final day as one of the shortest stacks, he navigated through a field of seasoned competitors, including Boris Angelov, who was a formidable opponent throughout the event. Each time van Luijk was at risk, the cards seemed to fall in his favor, allowing him to survive and progressively build his stack.

One of the pivotal hands occurred during a clash with Rania Nasreddine, where van Luijk, after a series of raises and calls, found himself all-in with a pair of jacks against Nasreddine’s two pair. The river card brought a ten, improving van Luijk’s hand to a better two pair, a hand that initially he thought had lost the pot. This win catapulted him into a chip lead he would not relinquish.

Climactic Heads-Up Battle

The heads-up match against Angelov was a rollercoaster, with the lead swapping multiple times. Angelov’s aggressive play put van Luijk to the test, but key hands where van Luijk made strong hands against Angelov’s bluffs or lesser holdings allowed him to regain and then maintain the upper hand. The final hand saw van Luijk’s ace-queen dominate Angelov’s king-seven, sealing the deal with a pair of queens on the flop.

Reflections on a Monumental Win

Post-victory, van Luijk was elated yet seemed almost in disbelief at his achievement. “It’s an amazing feeling. I cannot even realize still that I’ve won. It feels like I’m spacing right now,” he commented. The win was not just a personal triumph but a shared joy among his family members, who supported him from the rail, making the victory even more special.

Derk van Luijk’s remarkable win at the EPT Monte Carlo not only adds a significant chapter to his poker career but also sets him up as a prominent figure to watch in future tournaments. With plans to continue participating in EPT events, the poker community will surely be seeing more of van Luijk’s strategic brilliance and perhaps, a little more of that “Baby Run Good” magic.

Final Table Results

1Derk van LuijkNetherlands€1,000,000
2Boris AngelovBulgaria€620,500
3Rania NasreddineUnited States€442,900
4Jovan KenjicSerbia€340,500
5Jonathan PastoreFrance€261,700
6Niclas ThummGermany€201,000
7Jonathan GuedesBrazil€154,900
8Jozef CibicekSlovakia€119,000

Derk van Luijk’s victory at the EPT Monte Carlo 2024 will be remembered not only for his exceptional play but also for the incredible support and spirit of sportsmanship displayed by all participants. His story adds another fascinating chapter to the storied history of the European Poker Tour.

Images and hands courtesy of

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