Dragos Trofimov, a poker player from Moldova, topped the field of the PokerStars Festival London £2,200 High Roller, besting some seasoned professionals, including Italy’s Sergio Castelluccio. Trofimov collected £73,990 for his efforts as well as one of the Platinum Passes offered throughout PokerStars’ London festival.
The Platinum Pass allows the young player to participate in next year’s PCA $25,000 PokerStars Players Championship.
The PokerStars Festival London High Roller kicked off at the host venue, the emblematic Hippodrome Casino, on Tuesday. The £2,200 buy-in event attracted 164 entries, of whom 22 re-entries, to generate a prize pool of £318,160. The money was split into 24 payouts, min-cashes starting from £3,690.
It took two days of play before the official eight-handed final table was reached on Wednesday night. As mentioned above, it included Trofimov, Castelluccio, and an international mix of players from the UK, Spain, Lithuania, France, and Greece. Jonathan Wong from the UK entered that final stage of play as the chip leader and the only player to have passed the one-million chip mark with a total of 1.065 million in chips. Castelluccio was second in chips at the time cards were thrown in the air for a final day of play with 993,000. Trofimov held the fourth largest stack at that point with 584,000 in chips.
After several hours of action, it got down to a heads-up match involving Trofimov and his seasoned Italian opponent, who boasts a poker bankroll of over $2 million.
Trofimov entered the two-handed duel with a commanding chip lead over his final opponent. The player had a total of 3.8 million to Castelluccio’s 1.12 million. The two players were exchanging blows for some time, which allowed Castelluccio to pull some chips in his direction.
However, Trofimov made it clear that he would not give up on the title easily, and through aggressive play yielded the chip lead and directed action at the table for the greater part of the heads-up match.
On what turned out to be the final hand in play, Trofimov raised to 150,000 pre-flop, blinds standing at 30,000/60,000, and Castelluccio shoved for around a million. Trofimov called and tabled [Ac][10h] to his opponent’s [As][8c]. The board ran out [2d][5h][3s][7h][5c] to lock the title and the Platinum Pass for the Moldovan. His Italian opponent collected £50,110 for his runner-up finish in the High Roller tournament.
Trofimov had only two previous cashes in live tournaments prior to last night. In his post-victory interview, the player told PokerStars staff that he had actually just returned from the Bahamas, where he had participated in the PCA festival. Trofimov further noted that it was a big thing for him that he would be able to return to the Bahamas next year and participate in the $25,000 PokerStars Players Championship.
The player started playing poker three years ago. He took a break from the game for around a year, then resumed playing. He has been playing online quite a lot over the past several months, looking to learn more about the game and to improve.