2016 EPT Dublin: Mustapha Kanit Nails Down High Roller, Main Event Underway in EPT’s First Visit to Ireland in Over Eight Years

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For the first time in over eight years, the European Poker Tour has set their anchor down in the beautiful city of Dublin, Ireland and the Royal Dublin Society for their most recent festival of poker. As their €5000 Main Event kicked off its Day 1A action today, the frenetic play in the €25,000 High Roller wrapped up its action with a familiar face on top of the podium.

€25,000 High Roller – Final Table

The largest ever buy-in event in Irish history didn’t fail to disappoint anyone on the Emerald Isle. Kicking off on Friday night, 56 players generated 66 entries (this particular event allowed a single re-entry for participants) into the High Roller event and, by the time the late registration period ended at the start of Day 2 on Saturday, a new unique entry and three more second entries were recorded to bring the final count up to 70 entries. That guaranteed that nine players would earn a cash from the tournament, with that minimum payday being €49,730 and the top prize coming in at €501,640.

At the start of the action on Sunday, Mustapha Kanit held a healthy 1.6 million chip lead over Anton Bertilsson as the remainder of the field looked to catch up. Charlie Carrel, Chance Kornuth, Ivan Luca, Keith Johnson, Jeff Rossiter and Nick Petrangelo rounded out the field in third through eighth, respectively, and they had to get active quick if any of them were to challenge the top two men. As it would turn out, on the very first hand one of these men would be able to double up.

Johnson pushed his final 1.145 million chips to the center out of the cutoff and, after seeing Kanit pass from the button, Luca looked Johnson up from the small blind with a better hand. Luca’s pocket Jacks were ahead of Johnson’s A-J off suit but, unfortunately for Luca, the 6-A-3 flop nailed Johnson squarely. A ten on the turn left Luca looking for the case Jack and, when the board paired the six, Luca was left with a worse two pair than Johnson; down to 110K in chips, Luca would depart in eighth place to Kornuth the very next hand.

The short stacked Petrangelo, the beneficiary of a jump in pay due to Luca’s departure, left on the third hand of play after putting his final 500K or so in the center with A-J from the small blind. Rossiter, in the big blind, felt priced into the call and showed only a Q-8 off suit for the fight, but 7-Q-K flop immediately bumped Rossiter to the lead. When an Ace failed to come on the turn or the river, Petrangelo was gone in seventh place.

The flurry of early activity subsided after the two quick eliminations as it was more than 30 hands before the next elimination would occur. In another blind versus blind battle, Bertilsson, out of the small blind, put Johnson to the test when he moved all in and Johnson decided to take him on. Bertilsson had the goods with his pocket sixes, bad news for Johnson’s A-5 off suit, but a five on the flop opened some options. None of them would make an appearance, however, as Johnson exited the final table in sixth place.

Kanit maintained his dominance of the final table to this point and put his foot on the gas at exactly the right times. On Hand 60, Kanit would raise the betting and Rossiter, believing the chip leader was bullying him, moved all in. Kanit wasn’t bluffing, making the call and showing his Big Slick against Rossiter’s dominated K-J. The King on the flop kept Kanit in the lead and an insult-to-injury Ace on the river ended Rossiter’s tournament in fifth place while pushing Kanit close to the ten million mark in chips for the tournament.

Over the next 25 hands, Kanit’s only extended his domination. At one point, his three competitors’ (Carrel, Kornuth and Bertilsson) chip stacks added together barely made three-fifths of the 10.365 million stack that sat in front of Kanit. After Kornuth was able to knock off Bertilsson in fourth place, there was some talk of a deal but, perhaps because of the dominance of Kanit’s chip stack (13.515 million to Kornuth’s 2.515 million to Carrel’s 1.455 million), the talks were squelched.

Then a stunning hand occurred. On Hand 118, Kanit pushed the action up and Carrel moved his stack into the center from the small blind. Kornuth, instead of immediately passing, asked for a count before pushing HIS stack all in for less than Carrel’s. Kanit was more than happy to make the call and, once the cards were up, it was obvious why:

Kanit:  pocket Kings
Carrel:  pocket fives
Kornuth:  A-9 off suit

With both Carrel and Kornuth in danger of elimination, the Q-3-4 flop kept Kanit in the lead, but the five on the turn changed things in favor of Carrel after turning a set. The drama wasn’t over, however, as the river two brought the lead finally over to a stunned Kornuth, who went from eliminated on the turn to only 2.5 million chips behind Kanit after making a wheel; Carrel would take slightly more than a million chips to stay in the tournament momentarily, but he would depart five hands later at the hands of Kanit in third place.

Down 2.5:1, Kornuth came out of the gate firing in the heads up match. Within three hands, he had turned the tables on Kanit, taking a 10 million to 6 million chip lead. Only two hands later, however, Kanit had brought it back to even. The duo would swap the lead back and forth for a bit before the penultimate hand of the night hit the felt.

On the button, Kornuth popped the action to 500K and Kanit didn’t hesitate in pushing all in. After a bit of discussion, Kornuth made the call and had to like his two over cards, an A-10 off suit, against Kanit’s pocket threes. The eight high flop kept Kanit in the lead and the Queen on the turn didn’t add any drama either. Once the Jack hit the baize on the river, the tournament was over and the championship was in the hands of Mustapha Kanit.

1. Mustapha Kanit, €501,460
2. Chance Kornuth, €360,150
3. Charlie Carrel, €234,100
4. Anton Bertilsson, €176,640
5. Jeff Rossiter, €137,200
6. Keith Johnson, €106,330
7. Nick Petrangelo, €84,040
8. Ivan Luca, €65,170
9. Martin Jacobson, €49,730*

(* – eliminated on Saturday on official final table bubble)

€5000 Main Event – Day 1A

After eight levels of play on Day 1A of the EPT Dublin Main Event, 79 players have earned the right to move onto Day 2 later this week. Heading that was as the chip leader from Day 1A will be Gilles Bernies, who will hold 189,600 in chips when he comes back on Tuesday for action.

With two Day Ones to choose from in Dublin, 147 players eventually would sign up for the “A flight” of the Dublin event. The tables would be packed with some strong pros, including former World Champion Ryan Riess, 2015 WSOP Championship Event “November Niner” Pierre Neuville, the reigning champion of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (the last tournament before the EPT Dublin) Mike Watson, Rainer Kempe, Max Silver, Davidi Kitai, Sam Greenwood, Fabrice Soulier, Anthony Zinno, and Charlie Carrel, fresh off his deep run in the EPT Dublin High Roller. Of all these players, only Greenwood, Soulier, Zinno Neuville and Carrel would punch their tickets to Day 2 action, with the others dropping by the wayside throughout the day’s action.

Another top pro who would have a big day was Mike McDonald. ‘Timex’ was certainly ticking as he smashed his way to a full house that knocked out two players late in the action on Sunday night. That hand was big enough that he was able to capture the second slot on the medal stand for Day 1A, but not enough to get him past Bernies, who tormented defending EPT Grand Final champion Adrian Mateos throughout the day.

1. Gilles Bernies, 189,600
2. Mike McDonald, 162,400
3. Ian Hunter, 139,400
4. Artem Litvinov, 138,400
5. Victor Ilyukhin, 131,400
6. Adrian Mateos, 128,800
7. Anthony Zinno, 124,800
8. Fabrice Soulier, 123,400
9. Kamran Aliyev, 114,200
10. Jean-Noel Thorel, 110,000

Day 1B will begin at noon in Dublin (7AM Eastern Time in the United States) at which point such tidbits of information as the final player count and the prize pool will be determined. By the end of the week, the latest champion will be crowned as the European Poker Tour has returned to the shimmering landscape of the Emerald Isle once again!

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