Czech Player Wins Historic 2021 Wsop Europe Main Event

Just a few weeks ago, the 2021 World Series of Poker wrapped in Las Vegas. That wasn’t the end of the action, though, as the WSOP Europe was already underway in the Czech Republic. As had been the case before the pandemic, King’s Casino hosted the WSOP Europe in the little town of Rozvadov, Czech Republic. This year, they overcame obstacles and hosted a very international crowd to do it.

In the end, the 2021 WSOPE completed its 15 tournaments. It also awarded tens of millions of dollars in prize money and crowned a Main Event winner in his home country.

King’s Casino Makes It Work

Prior to the start of the 2021 WSOP Europe, King’s Casino made sure to be ready, as the pandemic was far from over. The property boasted of an entirely vaccinated staff and protocols in place to protect players. This included verifying vaccinations, showing results from an antigen or PCR test, or proof of a recent recovery from Covid-19. They had tests on site for anyone needing or wanting one. They also saw that the vaccine verifications worked at the Las Vegas series and were ready to carry on.

However, just as the WSOPE got started on 19 November, two things happened. As the number of positive cases began to rise, Czech Republic President Milos Zeman entered the hospital with Covid-19 symptoms. More people entered hospitals for care. And word of a new Covid-19 variant escaping from South Africa set off alarms.

All of that prompted the Czech government to implement new restrictions to try to stop the spread of the virus. One of those restrictions focused on clubs and sporting events…including poker. The government limited venues to 1,000 people.

King’s Casino had to then juggle its schedule and subdue some cash games to make it work. They did just that.

In the end, some tournaments changed dates. King’s Casino even removed some tournaments and replaced them with others. New ones didn’t have prize pool guarantees like the originally scheduled events. And tournaments like the Colossus, which originally offered six starting flights, reduced it to just three flights. By doing it all carefully and being willing to adapt, King’s Casino saw every event exceed corresponding 2019 WSOPE numbers and surpass all guarantees.

First Half WSOPE Results

When the first tournament kicked off in the middle of November, players showed up from all over the continent. Most players hailed from Europe, but its diversity was a stark contrast from the games hosted in the United States.

The results for the first seven events were as follows:

  • Event 1: €300 NLHE Opener = 1,789 entries, €535,358 prize pool (€300K GTD) to pay 269 players, Antonello Ferraiuolo of Italy won for €77,570
  • Event 2: €550 PLO 8-Max = 623 entries, €295,925 prize pool (€200K GTD) to pay 62 players, Bjorn Verbakel of Netherlands won for €59,250
  • Event 3: €1,350 NLHE Mini Main Event = 1,397 entries, €1,592,580 prize pool (€600K GTD) to pay 211 players, Emil Bise of Switzerland won for €250,175
  • Event 4: €2K PLO = 241 entries, €423,557 prize pool to pay 37 players, Samuel Stranak of Slovakia won for €101,764
  • Event 5: €550 NLHE Colossus = 2,478 entries, €1,177,050 prize pool (€1M GTD) to pay 308 players, Edmond Jahjaga of Kosovo won for €147,775
  • Event 6: €1,650 NLHE-PLO Mixed = 339 entries, €483,075 prize pool to pay 51 players, Antoine Vranken of Netherlands won for €113,000
  • Event 7: €5K PLO = 184 entries, €830,300 prize pool (€150K GTD) to pay 28 players, Maximilian Klostermeier of Denmark won for €204,010

Of note, Event 3 winner Emil Bise became only the third Swiss player to ever win a WSOP bracelet. Event 4 winner Samuel Stranak beat friend and fellow Slovakian Alan Sabo in the heads-up portion of the tournament.

Second Half WSOPE Results

No matter the restrictions, players continued to play WSOPE events at King’s. The casino still navigated capacity limitations but pushed through to the end.

  • Event 8: €2,500 Short Deck = 98 entries, €214,130 prize pool (€200K GTD) to pay 15 players, Julien Martini of France won for €60,009
  • Event 9: €1,100 NLHE Turbo Bounty = 604 entries, €392,600 prize pool (€200K GTD) to pay 91 players, Sergiu Covrig of Romania won for €79,282
  • Event 10: €25K NLHE Platinum High Roller = 72 entries, €1,682,640 prize pool (€1M GTD) to pay 11 players, €andriy Lyubovetskiy of Ukraine won for €518,430
  • Event 11: €1,650 NLHE 6-Max = 535 entries, €762,375 prize pool (€200K GTD) to pay 81 players, Simone Andrian of Italy won for €158,616
  • Event 12: €2K 8-Game Mix = 61 entries, €107,207 prize pool to pay 10 players, Julien Martini of France won for €33,910
  • Event 13: €10K NLHE 6-Max = 73 entries, €672,695 prize pool to pay 11 players, Romain Le Dantec of France won for €207,267
  • Event 14: €10K NLHE Main Event = 688 entries, €6,536,000 prize pool (€5M GTD) to pay 104 players, Josef Gulas Jr of Czech Republic won for €1,276,712
  • Event 15: €3K NLHE Closer = 228 entries, €606,480 prize pool to pay 35 players, Alessandro Pichierri of Italy won for €148,008

You might notice that Julien Martini won two events, a tough feat when there are only 15 on the schedule. Not only that, by collecting his third career bracelet, Martini surpassed Bertrand Grospellier and Roger Hairabedian in WSOP bracelets. Each of them has won two.

It is also notable that Event 9 champion Sergiu Covrig became only the second Romanian to ever win a bracelet. And while Joni Jouhkimainen’s name was not in the list above, he came close to victory twice, finishing second in Events 7 and 10.

More About the Main

As noted above, the 2021 WSOP Europe Main Event brought in 688 entries. That number made it the largest WSOPE Main ever. And the resulting prize pool of €6,536,000 wildly surpassed the €5M guarantee.

This tournament started with two flights and hundreds of players, only to work its way into the money on Day 3 and play down to 32 survivors. Day 4 played to the final table, comprised of nine players each seeking a first piece of WSOP gold.

Josef Gulas Jr of the Czech Republic – playing on home turf – was the chip leader then. The night played on to find two of the shortest stacks eliminated. That allowed seven players to bag chips for Day 5. Gulas remained in the lead, and Alexander Tkatschew wasn’t far behind. Johan Guilbert was in a distant third, and the others were relatively short stacked with 30 or fewer big blinds.

Athanasios Kidas was one of the shorter stacks but climbed by busting Thomas Denie. Guilbert eliminated Aleksandar Trajkovski, and Gulas took care of Stanislav Koleno. Things took a turn at that point, though, when Guilbert doubled through Gulas. Those two battled back and forth for the chip lead while Kidas and Tkatschew tried to gather chips when possible. Ultimately, Gulas busted Kidas in fourth place, and Guilbert sent Tkatschew home in third.

Guilbert took more than double Gulas’ chip stack into heads-up play, but Gulas doubled into the lead. They continued their battle until Guilbert pushed a shorter stack all-in with pocket deuces against the A-8 of Gulas. The board delivered an eight on the river to give Gulas the championship title.

The full Main Event final table payouts were:

  • 1st place: Josef Gulas Jr (Czech Republic) €1,276,712
  • 2nd place: Johan Guilbert (France) €789,031
  • 3rd place: Alexander Tkatschew (Germany) €558,505
  • 4th place: Athanasios Kidas (Greece) €401,344
  • 5th place: Stanislav Koleno (Slovakia) €292,862
  • 6th place: Aleksandar Trajkovski (Macedonia) €217,854
  • 7th place: Thomas Denie (Netherlands) €163,434
  • 8th place: Ilija Savevski (Macedonia) €125,052
  • 9th place: Brian Kamphorst (Netherlands) €97,260



Rose Varrelli avatar
Rose Varrelli
Senior Casino & News Writer

Hi there! I’m Rose, and with nine years behind me in the iGaming industry, I craft engaging narratives at CasinoAus. My education in Communication across Europe has sharpened my skills in fintech, casino legislation, and digital marketing. Backed by a strong foundation in SEO, storytelling, and cross-cultural communication, I’m passionate about creating content that resonates globally and educates our audience.

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