2013 EPT Grand Final Day 5: Steve O’Dwyer Leads Powerful Final Table Lineup

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The final table is set for the European Poker Tour Grand Final in Monte Carlo after a short day knocked the contenders in the field down from 16 to eight.

Andrew Pantling was the only player over the two million chip mark (2.248 million, to be exact) as the cards hit the air this afternoon in Monaco. The final two tables were arguably one of the toughest in recent tournament poker memory as such players as Andrew Lichtenberger, Daniel Negreanu, Victor Ramdin, Jake Cody, Freddy Deeb, Noah Schwartz, Grant Levy, John Juanda, Johnny Lodden, Steve O’Dwyer and Jason Mercier filled out the remainder of the field. With such a prestigious title on the line, the players went on the attack quickly to whittle down to one table.

Cody, starting on the short stack, would battle Ramdin in the early going to get his stack into a healthy position. After shoving all in against Ramdin on the first hand of play but not getting a call, Cody would double up through Ramdin when his pocket Kings hit on a K-3-5-4 flop and turn against Ramdin’s K-4. While this was going on, O’Dwyer went on a heater of his own, taking some chips from both Juanda and Lodden to push his stack close to the 1.3 million mark. After Levy eliminated Mateusz Moolhuizen in 16th place, O’Dwyer would knock off Goran Mandic in 15th place when his pocket threes hit a runner-runner straight against Mandic’s pocket Jacks to blast past the 2.3 million chip mark.

Lichtenberger was also the victim of a bit of bad fortune when he went to battle against Negreanu and Deeb. On a 3♣ 8♣ 9♠ flop, Deeb opened the betting and both Lichtenberger and Negreanu came along to see a 7♣ fall on the turn. Deeb and Lichtenberger checked their option and, after Negreanu bet the turn, Deeb folded but Lichtenberger went into deep thought. That thought brought an all-in move and a moment of pause for Negreanu.

“If you have a set, I’m good,” Negreanu reasoned before calling Lichtenberger’s all-in. Showing J 10 for the turned straight on a difficult board, Negreanu was in the lead over Lichtenberger’s A♣ A♠ but needed to fade the remaining clubs in the deck to take the hand. When the 2 hit the river, Negreanu cracked the two million barrier and Lichtenberger was out in 14th place.

By the time of the first break of the day, the final thirteen players were tightly bunched together. Pantling was still in the lead, but it was only by about 100K in chips over O’Dwyer. Ramdin, Clyde Tjauw Foe and Vasili Firsau were on the short stacks, looking for a double up that wouldn’t come for one of them.

Ramdin was that first victim, pushing his short stack in from early position with pocket nines. In the small blind, Schwartz woke up with pocket Kings and made the immediate call. A King would come on the flop and, to add insult to injury, the case King would come on the river to give Schwartz quads to knock off Ramdin in 13th place. Foe would fall to Negreanu in 12th place before a stunning race would push one player into the lead for good on Saturday.

Juanda raised the action from the cutoff and O’Dwyer, from the small blind, would make it three bets to go for 195K. When the big blind got out of the way, Juanda pondered his action before pushing all in. O’Dwyer nearly beat Juanda into the pot with the call, tabling his pocket tens against Juanda’s Big Slick and, after the board ran Queen high, Juanda was out in 11th place and O’Dwyer took a lead he wouldn’t relinquish.

After Firsau was knocked off in tenth place by Levy, the final nine men convened to eliminate one more player to end the action for the day. It would only take about fifteen minutes for that elimination to come about when a short stacked Deeb and Pantling clashed. Deeb’s K-Q was ahead pre-flop against Pantling’s J-10, but a ten on the flop changed the game. Once Deeb couldn’t find a King or Queen on the turn or river, he was out as the final table “bubble boy” and the final table was set.

1. Steve O’Dwyer, 4.452 million
2. Andrew Pantling, 4.18 million
3. Jake Cody, 1.633 million
4. Daniel Negreanu, 1.581 million
5. Johnny Lodden, 1.402 million
6. Noah Schwartz, 1.068 million
7. Jason Mercier, 824,000
8. Grant Levy, 786,000

This is probably one of the best final table lineups in the history of the EPT and arguably of the modern poker era. It does appear that O’Dwyer and Pantling, with their over four million chips each, will have a significant advantage over the remainder of the field. With such a quality roster, however, it would not be stunning to see a middle of the pack player make some noise during the final table.

Up for grabs when the final table starts at 1PM Monaco Time (roughly 7AM Eastern Daylight Time) will be the first place prize of €1.224 million. It will be live streamed on PokerStars beginning at 2PM (8AM Eastern), complete with hole cards, and it will be one of the more exciting final tables of recent tournament poker history.

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