Mike “Sir Watts” Watson Becomes Third Two-Time European Poker Tour Champion

Mike Watson, a pro from Canada, became the third player in European Poker Tour history to win two events on the prestigious international circuit hosted by PokerStars. Watson won the 2023 European Poker Tour Monte Carlo Main Event for his second EPT title.

British pro Vicky Coren-Mitchell was the first player to ever win multiple European Poker Tour titles. Coren-Mitchell won the 2006 EPT London, and became the first dual champion. She was the last player standing at the 2014 EPT San Remo in Italy.

In 2019, Belarusian pro Mikalai Pobal became the second player to win multiple EPT titles. Pobal shipped the 2012 EPT Barcelona for his initial title, and added a second victory at the 2019 EPT Prague.

Watson became only the third player in EPT history to win two titles. He won his first crown in 2016 with a victory at the PokerStars Carribbean Adventure (PCA), which was included as a stop on the EPT. It took seven years before Watson could claim a second title with a dominating run in Monaco.

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Watson Victorious at 2023 EPT Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo, located in the principality of Monaco, has always been a popular destination among the affluent gamblers in Europe. Monte Carlo has been a tournament stop since the inception of the EPT with its inaugural season in 2004-05.

The 2023 EPT Monte Carlo Main Event took place inside the Salle des Etoiles tournament room at the opulent Monte-Carlo Casino. The no-limit hold’em Main Event championship had a €5,300 buy-in, and attracted 1,058 total entrants including 323 re-entries. The prize pool swelled to over €5.3 million.

Jason Wheeler, an American pro and bracelet winner, bubbled the final table when he was knocked out in seventh place. The legendary Erik Seidel cashed in 49th place.

Final Table Drama

When the EPT Monte Carlo final table of six began, Watson was among one of the two biggest stacks along with Leo Worthington-Leese from the United Kingdom. A pair of French players — WSOP bracelet winner Arnaud Enselme and Samy Boujmala — advanced to the final table in Monaco. Germany’s Leonard Maue and Norway’s Joachim Haraldstad filled out the table

The two French players did not have much of a chance because they were short-stacked at the onset of the final table. Enselme was the first player to get knocked out, and the pro earned a €180,900 for a sixth-place finish. Boujmala busted shortly after in fifth place, but secured his highest cash to date with €235,150.

Joachim Haraldstad, the token Scandi at the final table, met his fate in fourth place when Watson came from behind to eliminate him with trip tens.

Worthington-Leese missed a chance to stave off elimination with a flush draw that never materialized against Maue’s pocket Jacks. Worthington-Leese earned €397,450 for an impressive third-place finish.

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Heads Up Action

When heads-up began, Watson and Maue were close in chips but Watson had a minor edge. The two agreed on a money chop and ICM deal. They played out for the coveted EPT champion’s trophy and an additional €33K in cash to the last player standing.

On the decisive final hand, Maue missed a double gutshot draw with the four of spades and three of clubs on a board that included the 10h-7h-5c-Ad-7s. The stoic German bluffed on the river in an attempt to double up with nothing but a busted straight. Maue flopped a gutshot draw, but turned an additional gutshot when he picked up a Wheel straight draw. However, the river was a brick for Maue and the only chance he had to win the pot was to bluff by moving all-in on the river.

Watson tanked and considered his options. He made a hero call with the ten of clubs and nine of clubs after he flopped a pair of tens. He then rivered two pair. Watson correctly sniffed out a bluff and had put Maue on a range of hands that included a busted flush and/or straight draw.

Maue won €697,175 for second place based on the terms of their heads-up deal. Watson emerged as the victor with a first-place payday worth €749,425. With his win in Monte Carlo, Watson stepped into the winner’s circle for a second time on the EPT.

SirWatts Crushing Online Poker for Two Decades

Watson is a 39-year-old pro from St. John’s, Newfoundland. He developed a love of poker during the height on the internet poker boom in the mid-2000s. The young Canadian was known on multiple online poker sites as “Sir Watts.”

Watson emerged as one of the premier online players from Canada. During his career as an internet grinder at PokerStars, Watson won three titles at the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) and shipped seven titles at the Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP).

Watson first made a name for himself on the live tournament circuit with a victory at the World Poker Tour Bellagio Cup in 2008. He banked $1.67 million, which marked his largest score to date.

After his victory in Monte Carlo, Watson is closing in on $20 million in live tournament winnings. He’s ranked fifth on the all-time money list among Canadian pros. Daniel Negreanu ($50.6 million), Sam Greenwood ($30.9 million), Tim Adams ($30.8 million), and Dan Dvoress ($23.4 million) are the only Canadians who won more money than Watson.

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