Zhugralin’s Comeback Seals 2023 Merit Poker Retro Series $10,500 High Roller Win
- The tournament attracted 153 entries to create over $1.4 million in total prize pool
- Zhugralin overcame a massive chip disadvantage in heads-up play to claim the title
- With his win, the Kazakhstani’s total live cashes climbed to nearly $482,000
Damir Zhugralin emerged as one of the big winners at the ongoing 2023 Merit Poker Retro Series after he took down the $10,500 High Roller for $350,000 in top prize.
The poker player from Kazakhstan pulled off a come-from-behind victory when he ultimately defeated Uri Reichenstein heads-up despite entering the one-on-one match with a massive chip deficit.
Final Table Results
The $10,500 High Roller attracted 153 entries, generating $1,407,600 in total prize pool. The field dwindled down to just 22 when the final day kicked off. All but two walked away with some cash, with Adj Rajkovic becoming the official bubble player when he fell short of winning the $16,500 min-cash after busting in 21st place.
When the nine-handed final table was reached, it was Reichenstein who was in possession of most of the chips. The Israeli poker pro dominated most parts of the game, eliminating six of his eight opponents, including Daniel Kyosev (9th, $35,700), Hassan Barakat (8th, $47,500), Sonny Franco (7th, $59,100), Maxime Chilaud (6th, $70,900) and Denis Kapustin (5th, $88,500).
Milos Petakovic escaped Reichenstein’s knockout prowess but eventually finished 4th for $117,600. The Israeli went on to eliminate Mustafa Biz in 3rd place for $158,600, leaving only him and the eventual winner Zhugralin in contention for the title.
Great Comeback for Zhugralin
Reichenstein enjoyed a comfortable chip advantage – 12,500,000 chips versus Zhugralin’s 3,000,000 – when the heads-up battle began, but a double-up by Zhugralin on the first hand reduced that lead. Zhugralin moved all in with Kd9c versus Reichenstein’s Js9h. The Kazakhstani won the pot with the better kicker.
Soon after, double-ups became the theme of the match in favor of Zhugralin. In his last double-up, Zhugralin held 9h7h against the AdJh of his opponent. With a nine on the flop and no help for Reichenstein from the turn or river, Zhugralin’s hand held as he took over the lead.
The Kazakhstani never looked back from there and finished off his opponent in epic fashion for $350,000 in first-place prize. Prior to entering the tournament, Zhugralin only had $131,648 in total live cashes.
The more experienced Reichenstein meanwhile settled for second place with $246,300 in winnings which pushed his total live earnings to over $4.5 million.