The year 2020 was nothing like we initially planned it to be. The pandemic affected all industries, and poker was one of them — especially live poker that takes place in land-based casinos and poker rooms.
With Europe being hit hard by the second wave of COVID-19, there are still some casinos that work regularly. In fact, the land-based casino industry in Lithuania is alive and thriving. The country of just 2.7 million hosts the popular Vilnius Olympic Casino Poker Club, which was home to the 2020 Betsafe Fisherman’s Challenge, also called Žvejo Išš?kis in Lithuanian. The live poker event lasted from October 8th to 19th.
The Lithuanian Poker Club is not really that big. It is smaller than all the major rooms in Europe, as its maximum capability is eight tables. However, poker players were hungry for some live-action and made the Betsoft Fisherman’s Challenge one of Lithuania’s biggest live poker tournaments.
The most important part of the festival was Besafe Fisherman’s Challenge €220 Main Event. A total of 934 entries (and a total of 548 unique players). They managed to generate a prize pool of €186,8000, which is the biggest poker prize pool that ever took place in a Lithuanian live tournament.
You should take into account that this all took place when people were scared to visit large social gatherings. In other words, if it weren’t for COVID-19 restrictions and individual fear, many players from neighboring countries, such as Poland, Belarus, and Latvia would visit the poker festival.
Apart from the Main Event, there were several other interesting tournaments, including the €110 Warm Up Bounty, the €1,100 High Roller, and the €220 Progressive knockout. There was also the female-only €55 Ladies event.
The Main Event Action
The Main Event was topped by the Lithuanian poker player Martynas Ra?inskas, who earned €26,392, which is the largest live cash in his poker racer. Ra?inskas made a four-way deal with the remaining three players during the final table action. They only left the trophy and €2,000 for the winner.
Ra?inskas already had the largest amount of chips when the deal was made, so he managed to get the most cash overall. He said that he had won five-figure scores before the Fisherman’s Challenge but never exceeded $20K. His final opponent was Vilardas Zumaras, who won a total of €21,843.
Third-place belonged to Dainius Žukauskas for €21,981, and Adam Mikelevi? earned €21,154 as the fourth-placed player.
Other players who were not part of the deal received a lot less. Fifth-placed Ant Gokcek earned €9,580, and he was followed by Art?ras Saulis for €7,380.
The next one in line was Artras Daukševi?, who earned €5,250, and the eight place belonged to Tadas Pranculis for €3,520. The first player to leave the final table was Rytis Strig?nas for €2,420.
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