The festivities are over on the shores of the Mediterranean as the European Poker Tour closes the book on their festival in Monte Carlo. In the €5000 Main Event, it looked like Morten Hvam was going to steamroll to the title – that is, until Marcelo Simoes Mesqueu made history in knocking him off. In the €25,000 High Roller tournament, thirteen men were whittled down to one as Giancarlo Speranza picked up his first ever EPT title in beating some of the deepest pocketed pros on the European circuit.
Simoes Ends Run of Hvam, Becomes First Brazilian Champion
The final six men in the hunt for the championship of the EPT Monte Carlo Main Event all were guaranteed a six-figure score, but the real money is, of course, at the top (€939,840). Hvam looked to have the inside track on that money with his 7.35 million in chips, but Simoes Mesqueu was within reach of him with 6.89 million. The other men on the felt – Hugo Pingray (5.525 million), Erkan Soenmez (4.85 million), Jaime Cervantes (4.735 million), and Drago Trofimov (3.085 million) – were still highly viable stacks in the tournament, but they certainly had some work to do.
Simoes Mesqueu would be the one who went on the early attack, seizing the lead from Hvam. He would attack the table with an unbridled aggression, one that was able for him to not only take over the lead but also be able to withstand doubling up Cervantes. The six men would stay that way for the six hours of play up to the dinner break, at which time Simoes Mesqueu had more than half the chips in play.
Following the sustenance, Simoes Mesqueu kept the pressure on his opponents. Although he would double up Trofimov, Simoes Mesqueu would knock out Soenmez in sixth to get those chips back. Simoes Mesqueu then got richer with the elimination of Pingray in fifth only a few moments later. Hvam attempted to get back in the match by knocking out Cervantes in fourth in a classic race situation (Hvam’s pocket nines versus Cervantes’ A-J), but Simoes Mesqueu would negate that in running Trofimov out of the tournament in third.
Down to heads up, Simoes Mesqueu was in a dominant position with 25.25 million chips to Hvam’s 6.95 million. A brief discussion was had about a deal, but they were soon scuttled and the play went on. Hvam was unable to mount much of an offensive due to Simoes Mesqueu’s massive mountain of chips, but he did fight valiantly. It all came down to a final hand in which Hvam was committed to playing, a situation he wished he had not been in.
After raising the action to 500K, Hvam saw Simoes Mesqueu three-bet the pot up to 1.3 million. With more than a quarter of his stack in the center, Hvam was left with no option but to play for it, calling and seeing a 9-7-6 flop. Simoes Mesqueu bet out a million chips and Hvam sent his final three million to the center; after Simoes Mesqueu’s call, the unwelcome news was spelled out:
Simoes Mesqueu: K♦ K♥
Hvam’s odds actually improved post flop, with the board giving him a shot at taking the hand with a straight. A turn five and a river Jack did not change a thing, but it did change the demeanor of Simoes Mesqueu’s railbirds, who erupted in cheers upon learning the fact that he would become Brazil’s first ever Main Event winner on the EPT:
1. Marcelo Simoes Mesqueu (Brazil), €959,840
2. Morten Hvam (Denmark), €564,640
3. Dragos Trofimov (Moldova), €397,590
4. Jaime Cervantes (United States), €298,710
5. Hugo Pingray (France), €228,460
6. Erkan Soenmez (Germany), €167,050
7. Ramon Colillas (Spain), €125,420*
8. Yannick Cardot (France), €89,770*
(* – part of official EPT final table, eliminated on Friday)
Gianluca Speranza Earns First EPT Title in High Roller Event
Thirteen men returned for battle on Saturday in the €25,000 High Roller event, facing an arduous day of poker. They would play down to the champion alongside the Main Event’s final table to wrap up the action on the Monaco shores. Dimitar Danchev led a star-studded field of players who were all vying for the lion’s share of the nearly €4.3 million prize pool.
The High Roller event was much more freewheeling as the eliminations came quickly. Early departures included Joao Viera, Dominik Nitsche, Ramiro Petrone, and Davidi Kitai in thirteenth through tenth places, respectively, to bring the pack down to the final table right after the first break. Speranza had surged into the lead at this point as Danchev spun his wheels at his starting stack.
Bruno Lopes would move up the leader board at this point to become a challenger for the crown. Lopes doubled through Jean-Noel Thorel first, then busted the Frenchman to take over the lead. Speranza and Lopes would battle throughout the remainder of the tournament for supremacy as their fellow combatants fell around them.
Speranza took out Rodrigo Seiji, Byron Kaverman, and Marton Czuczor, while Lopes only took out Danchev, to see the two men reach heads-up action. The twosome discussed a deal, eventually coming to a chop agreement that gave Speranza €813,000 and Lopes €703,990. They left the trophy and a €40,000 bonus for the eventual champion on the felt to play for.
Speranza never let Lopes get a glimpse of a chance of winning. After an hour of action, Speranza would get Lopes to commit his stack on the 9♥ 2♥ Q♥ 6♣ flop and turn, with Lopes holding a Q-8. That would be worthless as Speranza held an 8♥ 3♥ for the unbeatable flush. After the innocuous trey of spades came on the river, Speranza was able to add the EPT Monte Carlo €25,000 High Roller championship to his mantle:
1. Giancarlo Speranza (Italy), €853,000*
2. Bruno Lopes (France), €703,990*
3. Dimitar Danchev (Bulgaria), €427,760
4. Marton Czuczor (Hungary), €329,040
5. Byron Kaverman (United States), €253,100
6. Rodrigo Seiji (Brazil), €194,690
7. Jean-Noel Thorel (France), €162,160
8. Manig Loeser (Germany), €135,120
(* – indicates final table deal)
With the close of action in Monte Carlo, the EPT will take a summer break for the World Series of Poker. They will return to action in August at the Casino Barcelona in Spain and continue to get back on course for their 2022 season.