Taking a journey back into its history, the European Poker Tour has wrapped up action in London on Friday evening (UK Time). In the £5000 Main Event, it came down to a “Battle of Britain,” with the final two players representing the Union Jack. In the £10,000 “High Roller,” the U. S.’s Adam Miller reigned over a difficult final table.
First EPT Events in London Since 2014
The EPT’s return to London’s Hilton Hotel on Park Lane was the first time that the circuit had appeared in England for almost a decade. It was 2014 when the EPT last showed up on the stage in jolly old England, with Sebastian Pauli taking home the title. Why there was such a long time between events is an excellent question, especially considering the historical importance of the EPT London in the tournament circuit’s history (it is where Victoria Coren-Mitchell became the first woman to win an EPT Main Event).
With the return of the EPT, the players also came out in droves. A massive 749-entry field came to the tables at the Hilton and, by Friday, the final six were left standing. Two of the six were from the UK, Jack Sinclair, and Ian Hamilton, but they were looking up the leaderboard at Romania’s Danut Chisu and Czech poker player Roman Hrabec as the cards hit the air on Friday afternoon.
On the very first hand of action, there was an all-in and an elimination. It was a particularly cruel elimination, too, as the short stack at the table, Nils Pudel, was graced with pocket Aces and, after some betting and raising with Sinclair, found all his chips in the center of the felt. Pudel was a massive favorite over Sinclair’s Big Slick, but the flop brought two spades (Sinclair held the Ace of spades) and the turn delivered a third. Needing one of the nine remaining spades as his only hope, Sinclair caught a fourth spade, the K♠, to snatch the hand from Pudel and eliminate him in sixth place.
Hamilton was very nearly out next. Getting his chips to the center against Alexandre Vuilleumier, Hamilton found himself all-in with an A-5 and behind Vuilleumier’s Big Chick. The J-9-4-8 flop and turn did not do much, but the five on the turn rescued Hamilton from elimination. From there, it was a magical run for a man who only had roughly $200K in tournament earnings before the EPT London.
Sinclair and Hamilton would clash, with Hamilton coming out on the winning end, then the two went on the attack. Sinclair would take down Hrabec first in fourth place, then Hamilton would get fortunate again against Vuilleumier to end the Swede’s tournament in third. In that particular hand, Hamilton’s Q-J turned a King high straight against Vuilleumier’s A-Q to stunningly take the hand.
Down to heads up, Sinclair held a 2:1 lead over Hamilton, but it seemed that, in this battle of the Brits, fortune was smiling on Hamilton. He would quickly even up the stacks, sending the tournament into a lengthy sparring session. Eventually, however, Hamilton was able to work his way to the lead, including catching massively with a 5-3 against Sinclair’s K-8 and seeing the board run out J-3-3-K-A.
On the final hand, it was not luck that was with Hamilton, it was the cards. Hamilton raised the betting and Sinclair jammed. Hamilton wasted no time in making the call and Sinclair was in big trouble. His A-Q was great for heads up, unless your opponent has A-K, and after five cards rolled off Jack high, the tournament was over, and Ian Hamilton became the newest champion with his victory at the European Poker Tour London.
1. Ian Hamilton (United Kingdom), £664,400
2. Jack Sinclair (United Kingdom), £414,650
3. Alexandre Vuilleumier (Switzerland), £296,150
4. Roman Hrabec (Czech Republic), £227,800
5. Danut Chisu (Romania), £175,250
6. Nils Pudel (Germany), £134,800
U. S.’s Adam Miller Takes High Roller in Deal
Eleven players returned on Friday to crown the champion of the £10,000 EPT High Roller on the agenda. Leading the way was Juan Pardo of Spain, but close behind was the U. S.’s Adam Miller. Only one other player, Alex Keating, was over a million in chips, but such notables as Davidi Kitai, Lars Kamphues, and Mike Watson lurked down the leaderboard.
Pardo got off to a nice start, bringing the final table together with his knockout of Santhosh Suvarna in tenth place. It still was not enough to put some daylight between Pardo and the field as Keating had climbed into second and Daniel Aziz joined the party. Miller, however, was quite active, moving into the chip lead before the first break of the day.
That activity was nearly deadly for Miller’s chip stack. He would yo-yo throughout the final table, going from top to bottom of the ladder, while Renan Bruschi climbed the leaderboard to take over the lead. When the final trio of Bruschi, Aziz, and Miller was determined, it was Miller that was on the short stack.
Miller did not let his lack of chips inhibit his play. He would liberally use the check raise against Bruschi to get him to lay down two big hands to push Miller into the lead, at which point he took over the event. Miller would eliminate Aziz in third place and, after holding a 2:1 lead over Bruschi, wasted little time in completing the comeback. After sparring for some time, a deal was agreed to, with £30K left on the felt and the EPT trophy left to battle over.
With the deal in the books, the tournament quickly ended. On the last hand, Miller pushed the action with an all-in move and Bruschi decided to take a stand. It turned out that was the wrong moment to move; Bruschi’s Q-J was behind the A-K of Miller, but a Jack on the flop temporarily pushed Bruschi into the lead, but the Ace on the turn just as quickly switched the fortunes. A blank on the river sealed the deal for Miller, picking up the European Poker Tour London High Roller title in daring fashion.
1. Adam Miller (USA), £312,383*
2. Renan Bruschi (Brazil), £270,217*
3. Daniel Aziz (Brazil), £160,500
4. Alex Keating (USA), £123,100
5. Juan Pardo (Spain), £94,700
6. Sita Divari (Thailand), £72,850
7. Mike Watson (Canada), £59,200
8. Davidi Kitai (Belgium), £49,350
(* – payouts after the two-way deal)