After nearly a week of battle on the tables in Prague, the Czech Republic, Sweden’s Ramzi Jelassi emerged as the champion of the European Poker Tour Main Event, while Germany’s Marvin Rettenmaier wrapped up a stunning 2012 by winning the €10,000 High Roller event.
Jelassi came to the final table after an awesome run to close the action on Friday night. He held 5.675 million in chips, good for the lead, while last year’s runner up in this event, David Boyaciyan, lurked in third place. Jelassi was seemingly never threatened during the run of the final table as his competitors bumped off each other.
Mark Herm would be the first departure from the final table when, holding only an off suit A-7, he took a shot against Sotirios Koutoupas’ pocket tens. The blank 3-4-3 flop kept Koutoupas in the lead and, once a ten on the turn landed on the felt, Herm was drawing dead and out of the event in eighth place.
Aleh Plauski came to the final table in the second place slot, but he consistently bled chips throughout play at the final table. The side effect of the bleeding was his elimination in seventh place at the hands of Jelassi. After Jelassi four-bet him pre-flop, Plauski pushed his stack to the center with Big Slick to enter into a race against Jelassi’s pocket nines. The Jack high board would provide no relief for Plauski, eliminating him in seventh place, as Jelassi’s chip stack approached the 11 million mark.
Boyaciyan would attempt to keep pace with Jelassi by taking down the next two players. Sergey Kuzminskiy was Boyaciyan’s first victim, falling when his K♥ Q♥ failed to catch up with Boyaciyan’s pocket tens. It was Diego Gomez’ turn next as he shoved his stack in with an A-9. Boyaciyan woke up with pocket Queens and made the call, sweating a nine on the flop as the duo battled it out. No Ace or nine came on the turn or river, however, eliminating the Spaniard in fifth place.
The pace of the event slowed considerably after Gomez’ elimination as it would take almost two hours before the next player left the felt. Ben Warrington continually pushed his smaller stack into the center through the final table play and, as the saying goes, it works every time except the last one. After Koutoupas opened the action in front of him, Warrington pushed one time too many as Koutoupas made the call, tabling pocket threes against Warrington’s K-J off suit. The 6-A-6 flop brought some hopes for Warrington (another Ace would put him in the lead by counterfeiting Koutoupas’ pair of threes), but those hopes ended with a three on the turn. After an inconsequential river, Warrington was done in fourth place.
As Warrington headed to the rail, the remaining three players – Jelassi, Koutoupas and Boyaciyan – entered into discussions on a deal. After 40 minutes of wrangling over the numbers, they couldn’t come to a decision (Boyaciyan is rumored to have been offered €415,000 but squelched the deal by demanding €440,000). Although discussion would continue through an impromptu dinner break, the players could not come to a consensus and play resumed.
This was bad news for Boyaciyan as he left the event next. On what would be his final hand, Boyaciyan saw Koutoupas opened the betting before sliding out a three-bet of his own. Jelassi attacked as well, making it four bets (1.225 million) and, after Koutoupas got out of the way, Boyaciyan made the call. A 5♣ 8♦ 8♣ flop got the rest of the chips to the center, with Boyaciyan moving all in and Jelassi, after agonizing for a moment, made the call. Boyaciyan was in the lead with his pocket nines, while all Jelassi could muster was an A♦ K♦. The 3♦ opened up more outs for Jelassi, which came home when the J♦ gave him a runner-runner flush to crush Boyaciyan’s two pair and eliminate him in third place.
The heads up showdown between Jelassi and Koutoupas proved to be an entertaining one. Starting with nearly a 2-1 lead, Jelassi would work his way out to a lead, only to see Koutoupas make a run back at him and close the gap. Over the span of 100 hands, this would be the dance before Jelassi was able to close the deal.
After Jelassi raised to 400K on the final hand, Koutoupas pushed the bet up to one million and Jelassi moved all in. With little hesitation, Koutoupas made the call and showed only a 10-9 for battle against Jelassi’s A-J. An Ace on the flop virtually ended all the drama, but a ten on the turn brought some back. Once the river finished the board with a King, however, Koutoupas was out in second place and Ramzi Jelassi became the champion of the EPT Prague.
1. Ramzi Jelassi, €835,000
2. Sotirios Koutoupas, €510,000
3. David Boyaciyan, €310,000
4. Ben Warrington, €250,000
5. Diego Gomez, €196,000
6. Sergey Kuzminskiy, €150,000
7. Aleh Plauski, €108,400
8. Mark Herm, €75,000
The €10,000 High Roller event also concluded on Saturday with an impressive final table lined up for battle. Leading the way was Sorel Mizzi, but he faced challenges from Juha Helppi, Marvin Rettenmaier and Jason Mercier if he was to take down this particular High Roller title.
Helppi actually got off to an excellent start, eliminating the two shortest stacks in play of Aubin Cazals and Andrey Gulyy within the first hour of action. Mercier would try to mount some opposition to Helppi, but all he got for that effort was a seat on the rail. Mercier pushed a K-Q into the A-K of Helppi and got a Queen on the flop, but Helppi also got an Ace to remain in the lead. The turn and river failed to bring another Queen to the board and Mercier was gone.
Rettenmaier began to make his move at this time, bouncing Marcin Wydrowski from the tournament in sixth place, and watched fellow German Fabian Quoss take out Mizzi in fifth. Rettenmaier then stepped back into the fray by eliminating Philippe Ktorza in fourth place and setting up a three handed battle between him, Helppi and Quoss.
Quoss scored the first serious damage of the three handed fight, knocking Helppi down to a few hundred thousand chips when his A-7 caught two pair on the turn against Helppi’s A-J. A couple of hands later, another A-J was in Helppi’s hand as he pushed his remaining stack in against Rettenmaier’s J-10. The board brought all clubs, King high, and Rettenmaier held the only club between him and Helppi to take the hand and knock out Helppi in third place.
The heads up fight between Rettenmaier and Quoss would take over two hours, but Rettenmaier was eventually able to wear his countryman down. On the final hand, both would push their stacks in with less-than optimal hands – Rettenmaier with A-2, Quoss with K-10 – and both an Ace and a King came on the flop. Fours on the turn and river didn’t change anything, however, crowning Rettenmaier as the High Roller champion.
1. Marvin Rettenmaier, €365,300
2. Fabien Quoss, €210,300
3. Juha Helppi, €121,800
4. Philippe Ktorza, €96,900
5. Sorel Mizzi, €74,800
6. Marcin Wydrowski, €55,500
7. Jason Mercier, €44,200
8. Andrey Gulyy, €33,200
9. Aubin Cazals, €27,700
With the close of the festivities in Prague, the EPT will take a well-deserved break over the holidays. Just after the New Year hangover wears off, however, the EPT will be back in action as the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure begins on January 6.