888poker has kicked 2023 off in style — on live and online fronts alike. The first LIVE event was held in Madrid, Spain, and the operator had big expectations for it. Those expectations were met and exceeded, as the entire festival was a colossal success.
Things got underway in Spain’s capital on January 13, with several side events leading to the pinnacle of the series, the €300,000-guaranteed Main Event. The already-generous initial guarantee was crushed, as the event saw 514 entries, resulting in the final prize pool of over €415,000.
All fans who could not join the action could still keep up with things as they developed, thanks to 888poker live-streaming the Main Event final table on its Twitch channel. The tournament concluded on January 23, with Spain’s own Adrian Garcia booking the win and a €92,000 payday for his efforts.
Team888 Players Running Hot
The Madrid Main Event action started on January 20, with Day 1A, followed by three more initial flights. Out of 514 entries combined, 216 players made it through to Day 2. The tournament ended up paying 53 players, with the min-cash being €1,600 — almost twice the €888 buy-in.
Naturally, the tournament saw many Team888 players take their seats, and quite a few had a good showing. Ian Simpson finished ahead of the pack on Day 1B, bagging the chip lead, while Lucia Navarro, the recent addition to the team, bagged a top-ten stack on Day 1C.
By the conclusion of Day 2, the number of 888poker representatives in the field had reduced, but four were still in the running, with just 39 players remaining in contention for the title.
Besides Navarro, who made good use of her chips, her fellow ambassador Alexandre “Cavalito” Mantovani and two 888poker streamers, Josh Manley and Ricardo Mateus. Mateus and Navarro did not stop there as they made their way to the final table to claim the title.
Wrapping Up in Style
The final table action was fast and furious. The nine remaining players had their eyes fixed on the trophy and the big first-place prize, but that dream would come true only for one of them. Navarro and Mateus had additional motivation as 888poker representatives, but it was not their time to go all the way.
Lucia started the day on a shorter stack but outlasted five other players. She eventually busted in fourth for a solid payday of €27,000, leaving Mateus the last remaining Team888 member.
Ricardo tried his best, but Lady Luck was not by his side at the most critical moment as Adrian Garcia, the eventual winner, called his all-in off. Although Mateus started ahead, Garcia rivered a straight to send him packing, albeit €37,000 richer.
With this elimination, the Spaniard accumulated a massive stack, starting the heads-up battle against Oleg Bystrenin with a 4-to-1 chip lead. Bystrenin closed the gap a little, but never enough to threaten Garcia’s chances.
Eventually, all the chips found their way into the middle, with Garcia starting the hand as a slight favorite and finishing as the tournament winner. For his tremendous run, the Spaniard pocketed €97,000, while Bystrenin took home €60,000 for his runner-up finish.
With this, the first 888poker LIVE event of 2023 is officially in the books, and it was a successful one by all standards. This was only the beginning, as the operator has a few more stops already planned for the first half of the year, promising more exciting tournament action and huge guarantees.