Aliaksandr Hirs Takes Down Merit Poker Carmen Series $5,300 High Roller ($204,700)

Aliaksandr Hirs

Event #13: $5,300 High Roller of the Merit Poker Carmen Series has drawn to a close after three days of play. Belarusian Aliaksandr Hirs emerged as the last player standing from an initial field of 187 to capture the lion's share of the $860,200 prize pool after defeating Fahredin Mustafov in a one-sided heads-up affair.

This marks Hirs' first live tournament victory, with the $204,700 first-place prize adding a significant chunk to his career earnings of $396,757. However, it's not his largest ever cash, which took place in August 2022 at EPT Barcelona when he finished third in the $2,200 ESPT High Roller for $284,668.

2023 Merit Poker Carmen Series Final Table Results

PlacePlayerCountryPrize Money
1Aliaksandr HirsBelarus$204,700
2Fahredin MustafovBulgaria$143,800
3Ryan MandaraUnited Kingdom$92,700
4Simeon SpasovBulgaria$68,900
5Eduard BarsegianRussia$51,900
6Anton IonelRomania$41,750
7Carlos AounLebanon$34,800
8Egor RomaniukCanada$28,050
9Lev KydatovRussia$21,250

Winner's Reaction

Although Hirs is relatively new to the live poker scene, he has been racking up a steady slate of impressive results online, a fact he reflected on after his victory.

"It's a similar game [online] but also a different atmosphere".

That different ambience is something Hirs points to as a reason why he is now playing more live events.

"It's interesting to play with different players because you can see them. Online, you can only see the icon. Now you can see the players and their emotions. It's really good".

Bubble Play

A total of 28 players returned for the final day, meaning none had yet made it into the money, as the top 23 would secure the min-cash.

With several short stacks in the field, bubble play did not last long. Ultimately, Alexandru Papazian, Romania's all-time money leader, was the individual unfortunate enough to burst the bubble after he got in his last few chips in with a dominated hand against Carlos Aoun and failed to improve. Everyone left was guaranteed $8,100, but with such big money up top, nobody would be happy heading home just yet.

Final Table Action

The tournament average stack rarely strayed above the 35 big blind mark and was often significantly below that point. As a result, the final table was set not too long into the day after Sakis Adrianopoulos jammed his ace-four right into Anton Ionel's ace-jack.

With that, the remaining nine took their seats to grind out what would be a relatively long final table. Lev Kydatov was the short stack entering the final table, and it came as no surprise that he was first out the door when his big slick failed to hold against the ace-jack held by Simeon Spasov.

Next to head to the exit was the congenial Egor Romaniuk. He flopped top-top to only to see a rampant Hirs turn over ladies for the overpair. Not long after, Aoun hit the showers in seventh place, as he was felled in a blind on blind encounter with Ionel.

It took some time for the next player to go, but eventually, Ionel, whose stack had been dwindling away for some time, lost a flip against Mustafov to send him to the rail in sixth place. Just a few hands later, Eduard Barsegian fell to the wayside, after being unable to overcome Hirs' tens.

Spasov displayed great skill throughout the day and was near or at the top of the leaderboard for a good portion of the final table. But after taking a few bad beats, he got his remaining chips in with jack-nine against the eight-seven of Hirs, who paired up to scoop the pot.

Start of day chip leader Ryan Mandara coasted for much of the day but succumbed to a seemingly unstoppable Hirs after check-jamming his flush draw on the flop and failing to hit.

That elimination set up a heads-up showdown between Hirs and Mustafov. Hirs entered with a sizable chip advantage, one that he never relinquished. Though Mustafov put up a good fight, it was Hirs' day. After flopping top pair, Hirs bet-called a shove from Mustafov, who had an open-ended straight draw. The draw failed to come in, and that was all she wrote.

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DATEEVENTBUY-IN
Mar 28 - April 02, 2023$3,300 Main Event$3,300
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Merit Poker Carmen Series Schedule

DateTIME (EET)BUY-INEVENTGUARANTEE
Weds, Mar 2211:00 AM$220+$20+$9NL Qualifier to Warm Up Day 1A win your seat at 100K chips$6,600 (3 Seats)
Weds, Mar 2212:00 PM$2.000+$200NL Warm Up Day 1A$700,000 ( INCL 9 TCK )
Weds, Mar 225:30 PM$500+$50NL Turbo Bounty $200 K.O.$20,000
Weds, Mar 229:30 PM$300+$30NL Satellite to Warm Up Day 1B$22,000 (10 Seats)
Thur, Mar 2311:00 AM$220+$20+$9NL Qualifier to Warm Up Day 1B win your seat at 100K chips$6,600 (3 Seats)
Thur, Mar 2312:00 PM$2.000+$200NL Warm Up Day 1B$700,000 ( INCL 9 TCK )
Thur, Mar 235:30 PM$220+$20+$9NL Qualifier to WUp Day 1C win your seat at 100K chips$8,800 (4 Seats)
Thur, Mar 239:00 PM$600+$60NL Hyper Turbo Deep Stack$20,000
Thur, Mar 239:30 PM$2.000+$200NL Warm Up Day 1C$700,000 ( INCL 9 TCK )
Fri, Mar 2410:00 AM$2.000+$200NL Warm Up Day 1D Turbo$700,000 ( INCL 9 TCK )
Fri, Mar 2412:30 PM$2.000+$200NL Warm Up Day 2$700,000 ( INCL 9 TCK )
Fri, Mar 2410:00 PM$500+$50NL Satellite To ME Day 1A$99,000 (30 Seats)
Sat, Mar 2512:00 PMClosedNL Warm Up Day 3$700,000 ( INCL 9 TCK )
Sat, Mar 251:00 PM$1.000+$100NL Mystery Bounty ($600 Mystery Bounty ) Day 1A$10,000
Sat, Mar 257:00 PM$1.000+$100NL Seniors Event (50+) y.o.$30,000
Sat, Mar 259:00 PM$700+$70NL Satellite To High Roller Day 1$26500 (5 Seats)
Sun, Mar 2612:00 PM$1.000+$100NL Mystery Bounty ($600 Mystery Bounty ) Day 1B$100
Sun, Mar 261:00 PMClosedNL Warm Up Final Day$700,000 ( INCL 9 TCK )
Sun, Mar 265:00 PM$530+$55+$20NL Qualifier to HR Day 1 win your seat at 100K chips$15,900 (3 Seats)
Sun, Mar 268:00 PM$5.000+$300NL High Roller Event 8-Handed Day 1$250,000 ( INCL 5 TCK )
Sun, Mar 269:00 PM$500+$50NL Satellite to ME Day 1A$49,500 (15 Seats)
Mon, Mar 2712:00 PMClosedNL Mystery Bounty ($600 Mystery Bounty ) Final Day$100
Mon, Mar 2712:30 PM$1.500+$150NL Bounty $750 K.O.$75
Mon, Mar 274:00 PM$530+$55+$20NL Qualifier to HR Day 2 win your seat at 100K chips$15,900 (3 Seats)
Mon, Mar 278:00 PM$5.000+$300NL High Roller Event 8-Handed Day 2$250,000 ( INCL 5 TCK )
Mon, Mar 279:00 PM$500+$50NL Satellite to ME Day 1A$49,500 (15 Seats)
Tue, Mar 2811:00 AM$330+$30+$13NL Qualifier to Main Event Day 1A win your seat at 100K chips$9,900 (3 Seats)
Tue, Mar 2812:00 PM$3.000+$300NL Main Event Day 1A$1,500,000 ( INCL 9 TCK )
Tue, Mar 282:00 PMClosedNL High Roller Event 8-Handed Final Day$250,000 ( INCL 5 TCK )
Tue, Mar 285:30 PM$500+$50NL Hyper Turbo Deep Stack$20,000
Tue, Mar 2810:00 PM$500+$50NL Satellite To ME Day 1B$49,500 (15 Seats)
Weds, Mar 2911:00 AM$330+$30+$13NL Qualifier to Main Event Day 1B win your seat at 100K chips$9,900 (3 Seats)
Weds, Mar 2912:00 PM$3.000+$300NL Main Event Day 1B$1,500,000 ( INCL 9 TCK )
Weds, Mar 297:00 PM$330+$30+$13NL Qualifier to Main Event Day 1C win your seat at 100K chips$16,500 (5 Seats)
Weds, Mar 2910:00 PM$1.000+$100NL Mix-Max 9-Handed Day 1$100,000
Thur, Mar 3011:00 AM$330+$30+$13NL Qualifier to Main Event Day 1C win your seat at 100K chips$9,900 (3 Seats)
Thur, Mar 3012:00 PM$3.000+$300NL Main Event Day 1C$1,500,000 ( INCL 9 TCK )
Thur, Mar 303:00 PM$1.000+$100PL Omaha Bounty 8-Max $500 K.O.$40,000
Thur, Mar 306:00 PM$600+$60NL Win The Button $300 K.O.$20,000
Thur, Mar 307:00 PM$3.000+$300NL Main Event Day 1D Turbo$1,500,000 ( INCL 9 TCK )
Thur, Mar 3010:00 PM$1.000+$100NL Mix-Max 7-Handed Day 2$100,000
Fri, Mar 3112:00 PM$3.000+$300NL Main Event Day 2$1,500,000 ( INCL 9 TCK )
Fri, Mar 319:00 PM$1.000+$100đź’Ł Double Board PLO Bomb Pot 8-Handed$50,000
Fri, Mar 3110:00 PMClosedNL Mix-Max 6-Handed Final day$100,000
Sat, Apr 112:00 PMClosedNL Main Event Day 3$1,500,000 ( INCL 9 TCK )
Sat, Apr 112:30 PM$2.000+$200NL Mystery Bounty ($1.000 Mystery Bounty ) Day 1A$150,000 ( INCL, 5 TCK )
Sat, Apr 14:00 PM$600+$60NL Bounty $300 K.O.$25,000
Sat, Apr 17:00 PM$2.000+$200NL Mystery Bounty ($1.000 Mystery Bounty ) Day 1B$150,000 ( INCL, 5 TCK )
Sat, Apr 19:30 PM$600+$60NL Turbo Deep Stack$25,000
Sun, Apr 211:00 AM$2.000+$200NL Mystery Bounty ($1.000 Mystery Bounty ) Day 1C Turbo$150,000 ( INCL, 5 TCK )
Sun, Apr 21:00 PMClosedNL Main Event Final Day$1,500,000 ( INCL 9 TCK )
Sun, Apr 21:00 PM$600+$60NL Deep Stack Bounty 6-Max $300 K.O.$20,000
Sun, Apr 25:00 PM$3.000+$300NL Merit Classic 
Sun, Apr 27:00 PMClosedNL Mystery Bounty ($1.000 Mystery Bounty ) Final Day$150,000 ( INCL, 5 TCK )
Sun, Apr 27:30 PM$500+$50NL Turbo Deep Stack Bounty 6-Max $200 K.O.$15,000
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