ArticleMeet Poker Academy Ambassadors: Mikołaj Zawadzki

Meet Mikolaj Zawadzki, an experienced poker player and proud ambassador for the Poker Academy. He is widely considered Poland’s best shot at becoming the next WSOP Main Event champion. Having gone deep in this tournament multiple times already, he has proven himself to be a mature competitor who puts maximum effort into achieving his goals. Get ready to watch him make his mark on the poker world!

By Doro | 19 Jun 2023
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Mikołaj Zawadzki is a highly-regarded poker player from Gdańsk, Poland, who specializes in multi-table tournaments (MTTs). He has been competing on the poker circuit since 2012 and has accumulated more than $845,000 in winnings – of which more than $286,000 were won at World Series of Poker (WSOP) online and live events. 

He made his first deposit and never looked back

Mikołaj began playing poker during his college years. He had already learned the rules many years prior and first started playing by entering into freerolls. His mother was not thrilled to find out that he was considering taking up poker seriously, but Mikołaj was determined to make it work. With only $2 left from the free capital, he managed to raise $1,000 within a month, proving his mother wrong. After that, he decided to take a break from poker and returned to tables with a budget of $30. With determination and grit, he went from microstakes to the highest stakes in just two short years.

I spent a great deal of time to get to where I am now. I remember that there were times when I let go of going out with friends, but I was convinced that it was all worth it. I’m one of those people who, when it comes to competing, don’t do anything half-heartedly, give it 100% and think about what to do to be the best.

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Mikołaj Zawadzki WSOP
© Joe Giron

Sweet home” Barcelona

Mikołaj is a big supporter of FC Barcelona. It is very satisfying that he achieved his many poker successes right in the city where the famous Barça plays its matches.

In 2012, his first year on the competitive poker scene, he was a contender in the EPT Barcelona Main Event with some notable players in the semi-FT stage such as John Juanda, Ole Schemion and Ilari Sahamies. He finished 12th place and earned €46,700 for his efforts. Later that year he was a runner-up in the €1,500 + 150 No Limit Hold’em WPT National event. He lost heads-up to Sergio Aido and was rewarded with a hefty €70,000 prize – a huge boost that gave him hope for the future.

In 2015, Mikołaj won the CEP event in Barcelona and pocketed more than €34k in prize money. You won’t find this result on Hendon Mob but you can trust us on this one.

He has returned to Barcelona many times, but it was not until 2019 that he achieved another impressive result. He finished 7th in the WPT High Roller event. His efforts were rewarded with a €32,000 prize.

Just one year ago, Mikołaj and his companions were able to toast to a grand success at Gaudi’s city. The Polish player emerged victorious at the EPT Mystery Bounty event with a €1,150 buy-in and left the casino with an additional €95,418 in his pocket. This was truly a remarkable accomplishment!

Mikolaj-Zawadzki-wygrywa-EPT-Mystery-Bounty-Barcelona-2022
© Tomas Stacha

If he gets through Day 5, he will be the new world champion!

Mikołaj made his WSOP debut in only his second year of professional live tour play. He had a strong performance, finishing 19th in The Little One for One Drop event and 153rd in the Main Event, earning himself over $50,000. Unfortunately he missed out on Day 5 but still put up an impressive showing. The first of a series of many more to come.

In the years following, the Pole traveled to Las Vegas for the WSOP, but it wasn’t until 2019 that he saw another deep run in the Main Event. How did his performance fare? Financially quite well – the Pole made it all the way to Day 5 of the tournament and, for his 207th place finish, earned himself an cool $50,000 in winnings.

Mikołaj’s last appearance in the WSOP Main Event was in 2022. However, once again he fell short of his goal of reaching Day 6, finishing at 224th place with a prize money of more than $53,000. Though he was disappointed with the result, he could still take pride in this accomplishment.

A hand with Mike “The Mouth” Matusow that made some waves

During the last festival, one of the handouts featuring a Pole became particularly popular.

It was Day 4 of the 2022 WSOP Main Event, and Mike “The Mouth” Matusow was the opponent. To his opening from CO Mikołaj flatted with 9c8c on the BTN. The player from BB got involved as well, but it did not play any role afterwards. The flop fell: 5c, Qc, 5h. BB waited, and Matusow played c-bet. Mikołaj called and BB folded his cards. The turn fell 4h and both players checked. River was Kc. There was 162k in the pot, and Matusow had 390k behind. The American decided to bet for 70k. Mikołaj raised to 175k, to which Matusow responded with an all-in.

See for yourself what followed a while later.

Against all odds

Mikołaj, much like Dominik Pańka, is an advocate for the reasonable regulation of poker in Poland and works to promote this idea whenever he has a chance.

I’m in favor of the fact that things should not be banned, only people should be educated. 

iGaming Polska
© Merit Poker

His online poker achievements, while impressive, could have been even more so had he taken the opportunity to move abroad. His dedication to his loved ones and friends, however, is something that he values above all else and leaving them behind would not be an option for him.  

Thoughts of leaving came up. However, I have many friends here, great contact with my family, and it would be difficult for me to just leave. I certainly considered it more strongly at the beginning of my career, before my son came into the world.

iGaming Polska
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