2024 WSOP: Georgios Skarparis Triumphs in $1,000 MINI Main Event

Georgios Skarparis

The title might say “mini,” but there was nothing small about Event #78: $1,000 MINI Main Event at the 2024 World Series of Poker (WSOP). The event drew an incredible 6,076 entries, creating a massive prize pool of $5,361,840. After three days of intense competition, Georgios Skarparis from Cyprus emerged victorious, claiming the largest piece of the pie with a $554,925 payout and his first-ever WSOP bracelet.

In the heads-up finale, Skarparis defeated Italian Alexandre Barbaranelli, who earned a commendable $369,994 for his runner-up finish. Turning pro just four years ago, Skarparis has rapidly risen through the ranks, and this victory pushes his live tournament earnings close to the $1,000,000 mark. Before this bracelet win, his most notable achievement was finishing runner-up in the $3,000 Merit Poker Retro Series Main Event in 2022, which earned him $167,070.

The MINI Main Event attracted a diverse field of players, all vying for their moment of glory as only a few bracelet winners made deep runs. Among those who did, Notably, Stoyan Madanzhiev, GGPoker’s 2020 WSOP Main Event champion, made an impressive deep run, finishing in 51st place. Meanwhile, Ryan Hughes, a three-time WSOP bracelet winner, bowed out earlier, ending his run in 89th place.

Event #78: $1,000 MINI Main Event Final Table Results

PlacePlayerCountryPrize
1Georgios SkarparisCyprus$554,925
2Alexandre BarbaranelliItaly$369,994
3Mikhail ZavolokaRussian Federation$276,695
4Kyle WilliamsonUnited States$208,444
5Dirk BrunsGermany$158,191
6Joshua PragerUnited States$120,950
7Kaihung HuUnited States$93,171
8Stefan WidmerSwitzerland$72,316
9Hunter FreyUnited States$56,557

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Event #78: $1,000 MINI Main Event Final Table Recap

486 players started Day 2 of Event #78: $1,000 MINI Main Event, and the plan was to play down to five tables before the end of the day. The unofficial final table formed late at night when Kyle Case was eliminated in eleventh place. At this point, Kaihung Hu led the pack with 44 big blinds, closely followed by Georgios Skarparis with 31. The remaining players had 21 big blinds or less, expecting fireworks at the table.

Kaihung Hu

Two of the shortest stacks, Seungjun Noh and Stefan Widmer, clashed in a hand. Noh’s ace-three couldn’t hold up against Widmer’s pocket queens, with Hu also in the pot holding pocket jacks. Widmer tripled up, and Noh was out for the day.

Hunter Frey was the next to go despite flopping a flush with KJ on a 1083 board. Kyle Williamson jammed on the turn with A10 and needed a spade on the river to eliminate Frey, which is precisely what happened.

Despite his newly acquired chips, Widmer didn’t last much longer. First, he lost with pocket jacks against Joshua Prager’s ace-ten when an ace hit the flop. Soon after, Widmer’s pocket queens fell to Skarparis’ ace-queen when another ace appeared on the board.

Skarparis propelled himself into a big lead with another elimination. Both Skarparis and Hu flopped top pair kings on a 7KQ board, but Skarparis had a better kicker with a ten compared to Hu’s nine. Hu checked-called all three streets only to find out the bad news and was eliminated in seventh place.

The last elimination of Day 2 was courtesy of Williamson, who knocked out Prager in sixth place. Williamson pushed all-in with ace-five suited, and Prager quickly called from the big blind with pocket queens. Yet again, an ace on the flop sealed Prager’s fate and ended the day.

Kyle Williamson

Williamson took a slight lead from Skarparis, holding 49 to 48 big blinds. Alexandre Barbaranelli was trailing with 12 big blinds, while Mikhail Zavoloka and Dirk Bruns were in dangerous waters with seven and six blinds, respectively.

As expected, the action moved quickly on the final day. Bruns looked down at ace-king and called Barbaranelli’s all-in with pocket eights. The board missed Bruns completely, sending him to the payout table in fifth place with $158,191.

The chip leaders collided in numerous pots, with Skarparis emerging unscathed, leading to Williamson’s unexpected elimination. Skarparis used his big stack, moving all-in with queen-jack suited against Williamson’s ace-king. The flop of J106 paired Skarparis’ jack, but despite numerous outs, Williamson couldn’t improve and was out in fourth place for $208,444.

Mikhail Zavoloka happily secured a pay jump, putting his last chips in without looking at his cards. Both Skarparis and Barbaranelli joined the pot and checked down to the showdown. Skarparis showed six-high, Barbaranelli queen-high, and Zavoloka’s “Doyle’s” hand ten-deuce couldn’t beat them.

Alexandre Barbaranelli

Skarparis had almost a 4:1 lead over the Italian and didn’t take long to claim all the chips. Five hands into the heads-up battle, Skarparis raised with ace-nine, and Barbaranelli pushed over the top with ace-three. Skarparis called, and Barbaranelli hoped for a three. The flop opened 577 for some additional chop outs, but the turn 10 and river [invalid notations]2c[invalid notations] sealed the deal and Skarparis celebrated his first-ever WSOP bracelet win with his supporters on the rail.

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* Images and hands courtesy of WSOP and PokerNews.

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