Hand #68: Both players shook hands to start off their heads-up battle.
After sitting down, Mats Karlsson raised to 200,000 with and Aliaksei Boika defended with . Both players checked it down on and Boika won.
Hand #69: Aliaksei Boika raised to 160,000 with . Mats Karlsson three-bet to 500,000 with and Boika snap-folded.
Hand #70: Mats Karlsson raised with and took it.
Hand #71: Aliaksei Boika raised to 160,000 with and Mats Karlsson defended with . Both players checked down to Boika on the river. He bet 200,000 and got a call from queen-high.
Hand #72: Mats Karlsson raised to 200,000 with and Aliaksei Boika defended . Karlsson continued with 300,000 on a flop and Boika check-called.
Boika hit his gutshot on the turn and checked. Karlsson, drawing dead to a chop, bet 450,000. Boika check-raised to 1,400,000, sending Karlsson in the tank. The Swede eventually let it go and Boika won the pot.
Hand #73: Aliaksei Boika raised to 160,000 with and Mats Karlsson folded his .
Hand #74: After unknown preflop action due to the stream cutting away, there was 420,000 in the pot. The flop came and Aliaksei Boika checked his . Mats Karlsson checked behind with . Both checked the turn as well at the fell on the river. Boika bet 275,000 and took it down.
Hand #75: With Aliaksei Boika called and Mats Karlsson checked his . Karlsson paired up on the flop. It was checked through and the hit the turn. Boika now had a pair as well. Karlsson casually bet 200,000 and got called.
The hit the river and it was checked to showdown and Karlsson won it with his pair of eights.
Hand #76: Mats Karlsson completed with . Aliaksei Boika raised it up to 300,000 with and Karlsson called. Boika hit top pair on the flop and bet 300,000. Karlsson made the call and the fell on the turn.
Boika slowed down and checked, so did Karlsson. The river was the which gave Boika two pair. He fired out a bet of 750,000 and Karlsson laid down his king-high.
Hand #77: Aliaksei Boika raised to 160,000 with and Mats Karlsson let go of his .
Hand #92: Mats Karlsson picked up and raised to 200,000. Aliaksei Boika had him dominated with and threw in a big three-bet to 625,000. Karlsson wasn't planning on going anywhere and made the call.
Nobody got a piece of the flop. Boika slowed down and checked to Karlsson. The Swede picked up a stack of green 25,000-chips and moved it over the line for a bet of 550,000. Boika didn't gave up so easily and made the call.
He checked again on the turn and Karlsson checked as well. The river was the and Boika checked for the third time.
Karlsson made a huge bluff by moving all in for 2,555,000 in total. Boika, with nothing more than ace-jack-high, went in the tank for minutes and minutes. After five minutes he made a very brave call and Karlsson immediately waved the white flag.
"Nice call, you win", Karlsson said. "Wow, nice call", he continued.
Although Karlsson got hero called in the end, he wasn't sad about his second place finish. "That was a good call, I have to say. Well I'm happy anyway."
"I may have played bad heads up, but I'm happy. The heads up I played very bad but I'm not used to it. Up until the heads up I'm very pleased."
The Swedish amateur was the start-of-the-day chipleader and was in command during most of the final day. He had a huge lead when play got three handed but then got more and more resistance from Boika.
By eliminating Dmitry Yurasov, Karlsson gained himself a nice chip advantage moving into the heads-up battle but from there on it went downwards. Boika crushed him in the one-on-one fight and eventually Karlsson found himself in second place in the final ranking.
He still scores the biggest payday in his poker career. He heads home with €261,730 in his pocket.
Aliaksei Boika is the winner of the 2016 PokerStars.com EPT Malta Main Event! After six long days of poker in Casino Portomaso, the 28-year old Belarusian poker pro bested long-time tournament chip leader Mats Karlsson heads-up, making one of the best calls in EPT history to win it all.
The sixth and final day started with just six of the 468 runners remaining. Aliaksei Boika started the final table as the short stack but quickly moved up the pack by winning an all in with pocket jacks versus Tomas Macnamara's ace-king. Macnamara flopped a king but Boika rivered a straight to keep him in the tournament.
Tomas Macnamara was the first to, finishing in sixth place for €76,790. Macnamara shoved all in three times in a row after having doubled Boika. The first two shoves went unanswered, Peter Ockenden called with sixes the third time and Macnamara failed to catch up with ace-eight.
Despite busting Macnamara, Peter Ockenden would be the next to go. Ockenden, who resides in both England and The Netherlands, was sent to the rail when he got it all in with ace-nine against the jack-ten of Karlsson on a nine-high flop. The Swede paired his ten on the turn to sent Ockenden packing in fifth place, good for €104,340 - by far the biggest score of his career. An incredible payday for the online qualifier, who qualified online at PokerStars.com for only €27.
Elie Saad finished fourth, cashing €141,780. The 41-year old businessman from Lebanon couldn't get anything going at the final table and quickly fell down to a short stack. Holding king-jack, he moved all in versus Boika's pocket tens. A king on the flop gave Saad a huge lead, but the ten on the river ended his EPT Malta Main Event run in fourth place.
Russia's Dmitry Yurasov finished in third place. Yurasov, who was a constant presence in the top of the leaderboard throughout the tournament, started the final table second in chips. He didn't gain much traction on Day 6 but still reached the final three with relative ease. Three-handed, the experienced and feared online player shoved ace-king into Karlsson's king-queen, but a queen on the turn sent him to the rail. The high roller, who qualified on PokerStars under his moniker "yurasov1990", noted the third six-figure score of his career, banking €192,650.
The heads-up started off really deep but turned out to be a one-sided affair. Mats Karlsson started out with 8 million to Boika's 6 million in chips but it would be the latter dragging in the vast majority of pots. In just one level of 90 minutes, Boika managed to work down Karlsson's massive stack of 100 big blinds to zero, ending it with an amazing call to win the tournament. On a queen-eight-deuce-king-seven board, Boika held just ace-jack high and was facing an all-in shove from Karlsson. After spending five minutes in the tank, the Belarusian made the incredible call. Karlsson held just ace-four high and graciously admitted defeat. With that, Mats Karlsson of Sweden finished runner-up while Aliaksei Boika secured victory in the penultimate EPT, boosting his bankroll with a massive €355,700 out of the €2,269,800-prize pool.
That's it from EPT Malta, the second-to-last EPT is in the books. The European Poker Tour will be back early in December for the final stop in Prague, before transitioning into the PokerStars Championships and PokerStars Festivals.