In a dramatic turn of events, Ireland’s Padraig O’Neill, affectionately known as “Smidge,” staged a sensational comeback to win the 2023 EPT Prague Main Event, securing a prize of over €1 million. This remarkable victory marks Ireland’s first EPT triumph since Steve O’Dwyer’s win in 2013, and O’Neill’s incredible performance has undoubtedly etched his name in the annals of poker history.
The tournament’s final day was marked by intense action.
Final Table Chip count
Entering the five-handed final table as the short stack, O’Neill faced an uphill battle against the dominant Norwegian player Jon Kyte, who has been leading since the final 46 players left in Day 3. Despite Kyte’s significant lead, However, he quickly turned the tables, starting with a crucial double-up against Kyte, where his pocket fours miraculously turned a four against Kyte’s flopped king.
Adam Wagner from the Czech Republic was the first to leave the final table, finishing in fifth place, as he was unable to survive against O’Neill’s pocket tens. The next elimination was Cheng Zhao from China, who hoped to become the first Chinese EPT Main Event winner. Zhao’s tournament journey ended in fourth place, earning him €353,240, after his AQ fell short against Kyte’s AK.
Italian player Umberto Ruggeri, doubled up early in the final table, however, his journey ended in third place after his T9s couldn’t hold up against O’Neill’s KQ.
Kyte’s and O’Neill’s heads-up battle was a spectacle in itself – rollercoaster of skill and fortune, showcasing a series of lead. But it started with O’Neill turning down the deal, confident in his position. The decision that set the stage for a dramatic conclusion.
Despite starting with a 3:1 chip disadvantage, Kyte fought back, bringing the stacks to equality and eventually overtaking the lead with a series of bluffs. The lead have exchanged several times from here, too many times to squeeze all in one article.
Despite Kyte’s impressive comeback and the shifting dynamics of the match, O’Neill’s relentless pursuit of victory ultimately paid off. The final hand saw Kyte, critically short-stacked, push all-in with 10♣ 5♥, only to be called by O’Neill’s stronger K♠ 10♦. The board offered no salvation for Kyte, cementing O’Neill’s hard-fought victory.
“I didn’t think I’d get heads up. This is surreal,” O’Neill admitted during his winner’s presentation. He added: “I’m relieved the heads-up is over, that’s all. I’m tired. It’s going to hit in the next few days.”
2023 EPT Prague Main Event Final Table Results
This victory in Prague represents the pinnacle of 2023 for both O’Neill and Kyte, marking a perfect end to a year of remarkable achievements. Padraig O’Neill’s journey to the EPT title was preceded by a strong 8th-place finish at Dublin’s The Irish Poker Festival for €22,840. Jon Kyte’s 2023 was even more impressive. Fresh off his victory at The Festival Bratislava in the Mixed Main Event, Kyte also celebrated winning his first WSOP Circuit ring in Tallinn, Estonia. Their respective successes in Prague serve as a testament to their skill and dedication, capping off the year in grand style and setting a high bar for the upcoming poker season.
If you missed the exhilarating final day of the EPT Prague, be sure to check out the full replay below to catch all the action.