Capping what has been a historic stop in the history of the circuit, the European Poker Tour crowned two champions to close out their 100th stop at the Casino Barcelona in Spain. In the third largest Main Event in EPT history, Andre Lettau battled through a marathon final table to emerge as the champion and, in the largest High Roller event in EPT history, Ihar Soika defeated Jason Mercier to take home the crown.
€5000 Main Event
From the 1496 players who originally started the event, only eight men had the chance to take down the 100th title in EPT history (and become the 99th EPT champion). Starting the day, Hossein Ensan was the man who looked to have the best chances at that title as he was the only player over 10 million in chips. He was closely followed by Samuel Phillips with slightly more than 9 million chips, while Ji Zhang, Lettau, Slaven Popov, Andrey Shatilov, Kiryl Radzivonau and Andrea Dato rounded out the final table.
With such deep stacks in play (Dato, as the short stack, still sat on 2.825 million in chips (around 10bb), it was expected that the final table battle would take some time. As the players settled in over the first 20 hands, Lettau came out of the gate quickly in winning four hands in a row to move into the third place slot. Phillips also was aggressive, taking the lead over from Ensan when Ensan’s K-J (which found fortune on a J-5-4 flop) that he check-called to the river was massively pounded by Phillips’ pocket Aces.
Popov was the first departure of the day after making a move. Pushing all in with A-7, Zhang decided to look him up in calling with his pocket Queens. Popov was never in the hand, especially after Zhang flopped a Queen for a set to leave Popov drawing dead. That hand pushed Zhang over the five million chip mark as Phillips continued to pound the table in working his way to more than a 16 million chip stack.
It would take fifty hands before the next elimination, surprisingly that of Zhang. With his newfound chips from Popov, Zhang tried to get aggressive but instead saw his stack dwindle. After Ensan and Shatilov opened the action in front of him, Zhang moved all in with Big Slick and only Ensan (who moved all in over the top) made the call with his pocket Jacks (Shatilov let go pocket eights). There was an Ace in the window, but there was a Jack also; once the turn blanked for him, Zhang was gone in seventh place.
Phillips continued to rule the table, taking out Radzivonau in sixth, but Lettau put his name in the mix with his elimination of Shatilov in fifth place. Ensan didn’t want to be left out, taking down Dato in fourth place as the action moved to three handed play. The trio would play another 15 hands before taking a time out to discuss the potential for a deal. Over a 15-minute discussion, they eventually hammered out that Phillips would receive the lion’s share of the remaining prize pool (€1.021 million), while Lettau (€704,058) and Ensan (€652,667) divvied up the rest. Left on the table was €90K and the EPT Barcelona trophy.
Even after chopping it up, the triumvirate still fought like it was all on the line. They would play until the dinner break, with Lettau gaining the advantage (and the lead) by that point. Coming off the break, the short-stacked Ensan tried to get back into the tournament, but it only ended with him making a move with K-9 against Lettau’s K-Q that failed and sent him home in third place.
Sitting with more than a 5:1 lead (37.5 million to 7.3 million), it was thought that Lettau would make quick work of Phillips. Over the next FIVE hours, though, the twosome would battle it out with both men holding the lead. Gradually, Lettau was able to work down Phillips’ stack and, on the final hand, called an all-in of Phillips (8-7) with a K-10. A King on the flop and one on the river sealed the deal, crowning the first champion of the EPT’s Season 11 schedule in Andre Lettau.
1. Andre Lettau (Germany), €794,058*
2. Samuel Phillips (United States), €1,021,275*
3. Hossein Ensan (Germany), €652,667*
4. Andrea Dato (Italy), €362,000
5. Andrey Shatilov (Russia), €286,000
6. Kiryl Radzivonau (Belarus), €224,500
7. Ji Zhang (Germany), €171,600
8. Slaven Popov (Bulgaria), €121,300
* – indicates three-way deal
€10,000 High Roller
In the largest High Roller event in the history of the EPT (393 entries), Ihar Soika was able to outlast the final 21 players on the final day (including runner-up Jason Mercier) in capturing the championship.
Ami Barer led a star-studded field when the cards hit the air on Thursday, but it was a slim edge over Ismail Erkenov. Such notables as Stephen Chidwick, Benjamin Pollak, Marc-Andre Ladouceur, Nicolas Chouity, Juha Helppi and Dylan Linde were all in contention for the championship as Soika (started day in fourth place) and Mercier (started day in ninth) lurked in the shadows.
Over the first level of play, Angel Guillen, Vladimir Troyanovskiy, Chouity, Yves Boschetti, Helppi and Sergi Lloveras would all head to the rail as Dmitry Yurasov edged into the lead over Barer. The 15 remaining men would then play almost two levels before Dario Sammartino and Joao Vieira succumbed to the loss of chips. Meanwhile, at the top of the ladder, Mercier would briefly take over the lead before doubling up Soika to push the Belarussian into the lead.
At the final table, Soika ruled supreme as the players began to drop. After eliminating Erkenov in third place, Soika enjoyed a 2:1 lead over Mercier and, on the very next hand after Erkenov’s departure, he would end the tournament. After Soika three bet him, Mercier moved all in with pocket sixes and Soika revealed an A-9. An Ace on the flop was all that was necessary to give the hand and the title to Soika.
1. Ihar Soika, €747,200
2. Jason Mercier, €473,500
3. Ismail Erkenov, €342,400
4. Ami Barer, €276,900
5. Benjamin Pollak, €219,000
6. Marc-Andre Ladouceur, €168,600
7. Stephen Chidwick, €125,600
8. Carlos Chadha, €90,900
It’s going to be tough for the remainder of the Season 11 schedule to hold up against the Barcelona festivities. After a lengthy rest, the EPT will return to London on October 8 for the next stop and, in December, the EPT will complete the 2014 calendar year by visiting Prague. With Barcelona now in the books, it is time to congratulate all the champions and look forward to a new era for the EPT.