The 2023 The Festival Series Bratislava was a massive success at Banco Casino thanks to an amazing vibe and tons of excitement at the tables with 54 numbered events in poker tournaments and casino championships including Blackjack, Roulette, and Slots Championships at Banco Casino from Nov. 26 to Dec. 3, 2023.
While Gabriel Rymar may not have won the Player of the Series he will be forever remembered for a huge week. He came into The Festival Series as a relatively unknown player from Poland with just crumbs appearing on his The Hendon Mob profile. His rise to The Festival Series fame and glory all began when he recorded by far his largest cash to date when he defeated a field of 354 entries to win the two-day Event #3: €250 Bratislava Deepstack for €14,400.
While this was one of the largest tournament prizes awarded, Rymar was far from done. Rymar began the final day of the four-day €500,000 guaranteed The Festival Series Bratislava €550 Main Event in sixth place with 16 players remaining and was the chip leader by the time the final table kicked off. He maintained the chip lead for nearly the entire final table and amassed more than seven times the chips of Greece’s Christoforos Christoforou during heads-up play. Rymar made quick work of his opponent to win the €80,000, while Christoforou secured a healthy €57,750 runner-up prize.
Before the final table began, there was buzz brewing throughout the poker community with Michel Molenaar still in action with a quest to become the first two-time The Festival Series Main Event champion. He bowed out early on the final day after his ducks didn’t win a flip against WSOP bracelet winner from North Macedonia Ilija Savevski. Shortly after, Molenaar joined The Festival Series commentator George Sandford in the booth to analyse the late game of the Main Event including witnessing Savevski advance to the podium with an impressive third-place finish for €36,750.
2023 The Festival Series Bratislava Final Table Results
The 2023 The Festival Series Bratislava €550 Main Event attracted 1,025 entries to create a €486,785 prize pool. Check out the final table results below:
|3||Ilija Savevski||North Macedonia||€36,750|
Three The Festival Packages Awarded
Despite winning nearly €100,000, another player is believed to have won the Player of the Series as Rymar didn’t enter too many side events and focused on two of the bigger ones. The Player of the Series was a tight contest with Lithuania’s Rinatas Suleimanovas holding a one-point lead over British Twitch streamer Scott “Pokerbrahs” Kenyon. It is believed that Kenyon likely pulled ahead to win the competition, which he was also in the running for at the previous The Festival Series stop in Malta. It is also plausible that Andrew Hanak is in the running after winning three side events. Organizers will run through the figures with a fine-tooth comb before the official winner is announced as there is a bit on the line with a package to the next The Festival Series from Feb. 25 to March 3 valued at €1,600.
Meanwhile, The Festival Series founder Martin “Franke” von Zweigbergk became the first two-time winner of the Cash Game Challenge after winning 1,239 big blinds in the €5/€5 PLO4 Cash Game Challenge table a few evenings ago. Franke gave away the package in The Festival Photo Competition after winning the package in Malta and already shared plans to do something similar with the package he earned this time around after securing back-to-back victories.
Estonia’s Keito Kaljulaid also won a package to the next stop thanks to winning 11 flips during the nightly Franke’s Flip Flops. These were unraked affairs at €20 a flip. Kaljulaid ran hot early and held on. Assuming he ran at least break-even on the plethora of side bets he accepted against fellow flippers, chances are he won more than just the package in the process.
Hanak, Ponnio, and Smith Win Titles on Final Day
Andrew Hanak pulled off an unheard-of trifecta (or hattrick for football fans) at The Festival Series Bratislava as he won three separate events. Early in the week, he shipped the €125 Half n’ Half for €2,800. He followed this up with a victory in the €250 PLO Freezeout near the end of the week for €4,620. His third and final cash was also a victory on the final day when he won the €60 Low Roller for €1,450. This is not all as even though it seems unlikely despite the three victories that Hanak wins a package for winning the Player of the Series, he won a package anyway as a fourth free package to the next The Festival Series was generously added for the winner of the Low Roller.
Meanwhile, Risto Ponnio bested a field of 15 players in the €1,100 OFC High Roller on the final day to win the €7,150 top prize and Daniel Smith came out on top of the two-day €250 Mystery Bounty for €6,290.
Get Ready for Four Stops in 2024
The Festival will be back for four more stops in 2024. You should reserve the dates now and stay tuned as we release the locations one by one from the latest to the earliest over the next week or two. Check out the dates below:
- February 25 to March 3, 2024
- May 31 to June 9, 2024
- September 9-15, 2024
- November 18-24, 2024