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  1. [caption width="640"] Sebastian Malec turned €27 into an EPT title and €1,122,800 (Neil Stoddard photo)[/caption] When PokerStars announced that the European Poker Tour was being morphed into a worldwide PokerStarsLive tour, some people started reminiscing about some of the most memorable moments the EPT had ever produced. Late Sunday night in Barcelona, 21-year-old Sebastian Malec might have put himself at the top of that list. In one of the most memorable conclusions ever to an EPT Main Event, Malec, who qualified for the event for €27 on PokerStars, beat Uri Reichenstein heads-up to win the EPT Barcelona Main Event and €1,122,800 ($1,250,000 US). Sunday’s final table began with just seven players and it didn’t take long to get six-handed. On just the eighth hand of play, action folded to Thomas De Rooij in the cutoff and he raised to 450,000 and Harcharan Dogra Dogra called from the big blind. The [poker card="9c"][95s][poker card="2h"] flop got Dogra Dogra to move all in and De Rooij called instantly. Dogra Dogra showed [poker card="3h"][poker card="2c"] and was ahead with a pair of twos while De Rooij tabled [poker card="ah"][poker card="4s"] for two over cards and a gustshot wheel draw. The turn was the [poker card="kd"] but the [poker card="4d"] river gave De Rooij a pair and eliminated Dogra Dogra in seventh. Just seven hands later Andreas Chalkiadakis, who came into the final table third in chips, was eliminated in sixth place. De Rooij oped to 450,000, Chalkiadakis moved all in for 4,075,000 before Adam Owen moved all in for 6,160,000 forcing De Rooij to fold. Chalkiadakis flipped over [poker card="kh"][poker card="qs"] but found bad news after Owen tabled [poker card="ac"][poker card="qc"]. The board ran out [poker card="as"][poker card="qd"][poker card="jd"][poker card="ah"][poker card="8h"] to give Owen the pot and bust Chalkiadakis. Uri Reichenstein moved into the chip lead for the first time just four hands later. Reichenstein raised to 400,000 from the button and Zoriu Er called from the big blind. The flop came [poker card="ad"][poker card="kd"][poker card="3d"], Er checked, Reichenstein bet 200,000 and Er called. The [poker card="tc"] turn got Er to check again, allowing Reichenstein to bet 900,000 and Er called again. The [poker card="6h"] river saw Er check again before Reichenstein bet 4,700,000. Er called and tabled [poker card="as"][poker card="jc"] but was eliminated when Reichenstein tabled [poker card="td"][poker card="4d"] for a flopped flush. The four remaining players eventually paused play to discuss a chop before ultimately deciding to play on. Four-handed play continued for 34 more hands before Reichenstein claimed another victim. A shortstacked De Rooij moved all in from UTG for just three big blinds. Malec simply called from the small blind before Reichenstein made it 3,300,000 forcing Malec to fold. De Rooij was ahead with [poker card="as"][poker card="7c"] over Reichenstein’s [poker card="js"][poker card="3d"] but the [poker card="ts"][poker card="4d"][poker card="3h"] flop changed that and the [poker card="qh"] turn and [poker card="5s"] river failed to save De Rooij and the Dutchman was out in fourth. Mixed game specialist Adam Owen was sent packing on the very next hand. Malec called from the button, called from the small blind before Owen moved all in from the big blind for 5,600,000. Malec moved all in over the top and Reichenstein folded. Owen held [poker card="qd"][poker card="js"] but was trailing Malec who showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="8s"]. The board ran out [poker card="7d"][poker card="6s"][poker card="2c"][poker card="8c"][poker card="6d"] to give Malec the pot and eliminated Owen. When heads-up play began Reichenstein had a 3-2 chip lead over Malec. While the first five eliminations took place over a span of a little over five hours, heads-up play between the two took longer. Both players traded the lead back and forth more than once but the final hand is the one that the tournament will be remembered for. Malec limped from the button and Reichenstein checked behind. the flop came [poker card="qh"][poker card="js"][poker card="6h"] and Reichenstein bet 800,000. Malec raised to 3,000,000 and Reichenstein called. The turn was the [poker card="8h"] and Malec lead out for 5,000,0000. After a short time in the tank, Reichenstein called. The river was the [poker card="8d"] and Malec shoved all in putting Reichenstein to a decision for his tournament life. Reichenstein went into the tank while Malec invoked Scotty Nguyen’s famous line from the 1998 WSOP Main Event, “you call, it’s gonna be all over, baby.” Reichenstein talked himself through a number of hands Malec could have while the 21-year-old sat on the rail with his friends, even posing for a selfie. Reichenstein called and Malec sprint to the table to showdown [poker card="ah"][poker card="3h"] for a turned nut flush while Reichenstein showed [poker card="th"][poker card="9c"] for a turned queen-high straight to give Malec the pot and the title. Final Table Payouts Sebastian Malec - €1,122,800 Uri Reichenstein - €807,100 Adam Owen - €646,250 Thomas De Rooij - €535,100 Zorlu Er - €431,550 Andreas Chalkiadakis - €330,290 Harcharan Dogra Dogra - €230,950 Pavel Plesuv - €165,950 Stephen Malone - €123,450
  2. [caption width="640"] Over the last five years a number of poker superstars have been born on the European Poker Tour (photos PokerStars)[/caption] The European Poker Tour is coming to an end right now in Prague, as the last ever Main Event is underway. The tour has created many champions over the past 13 years, and here’s a look through just some of the more recent breakout stars. ICYMI read The Breakout Stars of the European Poker Tour: 2004-2010 Dominik PankaRemember how we said Mike McDonald almost became the first ever two-time EPT champ in January 2014? Well, the man who kept him from the top spot was Dominik Panka. The Polish player won a huge score of $1.42 million and became Poland’s all-time money winner…until a certain young wizard by the name of Dzimitry Urbanovich appeared (more on him later). When Panka took down the PCA Main Event in 2014 for $1.42 million, defeating McDonald heads-up, he became Poland’s all-time money winner. Panka followed up the PCA win later in the month with a €10K High Roller victory at EPT10 Deuville for €272,000, and in 2015 he placed third in the EPT11 Malta main event for €347,300. Panka was back to making final tables this year with a fifth-place finish in the IPT8 Malta Main event for €30,970, and taking ninth in the EPT13 Malta Main Event for €41,590. Adrian MateosTechnically, this Spanish whiz kid had already burst onto the scene long before his massive $1.21 million win in the EPT11 Grand Final Main Event in 2015. He’d already won an Estrellas Poker Tour title in 2013 ($137K), and a little-known tournament later that year called the WSOPE Main Event ($1.35 million). But there’s just no way we could have left Adrian Mateos off of this list. A glance through his live scores shows countless EPT side event cashes, including two wins at the same stop (EPT11 Deauville). Since his EPT win, Mateos has taken down his second WSOP bracelet ($409K) and become a high roller regular everywhere from the EPTs to the Las Vegas, where he’s won almost $400K in December 2016 alone. Niall FarrellThe man known as 'Firaldo87' was well-known on the poker circuit as a great online player and fun-loving guy before he took down EPT12 Malta for $588,592 in 2015 (he’d finished second in a $3K WSOP event, and made a few high roller final tables). But Farrell truly had his breakout moment with that huge score. It’s been a great catalyst for him too. He’s now a fixture in the biggest high roller tournaments on the EPT circuit, he finished eighth in the $111,111 high roller for One Drop at the 2016 WSOP, and just last month took down the WPT Punta Cana main event for $335,000. Dzmitry UrbanovichThe player who overtook Panka as Poland’s all-time money winner is Urbanovich, who seemed to burst onto the scene out of nowhere back in March and April 2015. At EPT11 Malta, the wunderkind won the €25K high roller for €572,300, followed by three more side event wins. The following month at the EPT11 Grand Final, he finished second in the €100K super high roller for €1.446 million. The man known online as ‘Colisea’ then went on to finish second in the €50K super high roller at EPT12 Barcelona for €841K, fourth in the EPT12 Prague super high roller for €285k, before finally capturing his first EPT main event title at EPT12 Dublin in February this year for €561K. An incredible run, considering in all this time he’s also notched up more than a million in online earnings, with two SCOOP and three WCOOP wins. Amazing. Sebastian MalecIf you missed the final hand of the EPT13 Barcelona main event, we suggest you go find it on YouTube. Sebastian Malec, a 21-year-old €27 PokerStars satellite winner, took down the title for €1,122,800, and a new star was born. It’s still a little early to see how Malec’s career will develop after the EPT is no more, but that’s exactly why we’ve included him on this list. Who knows what the future will hold? The PokerStars Championships kick off in the Bahamas in January, before heading to Panama and Macau in March. It’s time to find a whole new batch of breakout stars.
  3. After taking the summer off, the European Poker Tour is back in action beginning August 21 with a return to Casino Barcelona for EPT Barcelona. The sea of high buy-ins and marquee events are topped with the added prize of 10 Platinum Passes to be distributed during the series. All the regularly scheduled favorites return to the EPT Barcelona calendar. The €100,000 Super High Roller, €1,100 EPT National, €50,000 High Roller, and €5,300 Main Event are listed as part of the 34 tournament schedule. Big numbers are part of the EPT Barcelona lore dating back to the first time Casino Barcelona hosted PokerStars in 2004. The trend held to form last year and entry figures are expected to increase in 2018 thanks to the Platinum Pass equity added. Sebastian Sorensson turned his PokerStars online satellite into $1.16 million versus a field of 1,682 in the 2017 PokerStars Championship Main Event. The EPT brand returns for the first time since Sebastian Malec won the 2016 EPT Barcelona Main Event for $1.27 million. In the 2018 PokerStars National Championship, 4,557 runners bested the €4 million guaranteed prize pool and the top-seven players all earned at least $149,190. How to Win a Platinum Pass The Platinum Pass is the coveted totem in all 2018 PokerStars events and the journey toward awarding 300 takes a major step forward in Barcelona. Players can claim a Platinum Pass by winning a specific event or simply being at the right place at the right time. The winners of the EPT Main Event, EPT National and the €550 EPT Cup will each be given a Platinum Pass for their victory. The online or live qualifier in the EPT Main Event who lasts the longest also receives a Platinum Pass. All three tournaments are also shelling out a Platinum Pass in the Crazy Pineapple hand challenge. The rules for the Crazy Pineapple hand challenge are as follows from the PokerStars website: "At the start of Day 2, in applicable tournaments, we will run a Crazy Pineapple Flip Out Hand on each table. The winner of each table will move to the next round (via a Shootout Format) where another Crazy Pineapple Flip Out Hand will take place. This will continue until we have one winner, and the winner will be awarded a Platinum Pass." The final three Platinum Passes are circulated via two more Crazy Pineapple hands and a special package qualifier. Event #23 (€1,100 Freezeout) and Event #28 (€550 No Limit Hold'em) are assigning Platinum Passes to the winners of their respective Crazy Pineapple hands at the start of Day 2. Event #28 (€2,150 PokerStars Players Championship package qualifier) adds a Platinum Pass to the overall prize pool. EPT Barcelona marks the most Platinum Passes dispersed at a single PokerStars Live stop. The previous top number was the APPT Manilla stop in August where five were issued along with the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure this January. EPT Barcelona Main Event Schedule Date Event Number Name Buy-in August 21 3 NL Hold'em Hyper Turbo (Single-Day Event) €2,150 August 22 4 EPT National (Four-Day Event, Four Starting Flights) €1,100 August 22 5 NL Hold'em (Two-Day Event) €10,300 August 24 6 NL Hold'em Seniors Event (Two-Day Event) €1,100 August 24 7 EPT Cup (Two-Day Event, Three Starting Flights) €550 August 25 9 EPT Super High Roller (Three-Day Event) €100,000 August 25 10 NL Hold'em Hyper Turbo Freezeout (Single-Day Event) €1,100 August 26 11 EPT National High Roller (Two-Day Event, Two Starting Flights €2,200 August 27 13 EPT Main Event (Five-Day Event, Two Starting Flights) €5,300 August 28 17 NL Hold'em (Single-Day Event) €50,000 August 28 18 NL Hold'em Hyper Turbo (Single-Day Event) €2,150 August 29 20 Pot Limit Omaha (Two-Day Event) €10,300 August 30 22 NL Hold'em (Single-Day Event) €25,000 August 30 23 NL Hold'em Freezeout (Two-Day Event) €1,100 August 31 26 Pot Limit Omaha (Two-Day Event) €1,100 August 31 27 EPT Barcelona High Roller (Three-Day Event) €10,300 August 31 28 NL Hold'em (Two-Day Event, Three Starting Flights) €550 August 31 29 NL Hold'em Hyper Turbo Freezeout (Single-Day Event) €2,150 September 1 30 NL Hold'em DeepStack (Two-Day Event) €2,200 September 1 31 NL Hold'em (Two-Day Event) €1,100 September 2 32 NL Hold'em Turbo (Single-Day Event) €550 September 2 33 NL Hold'em Turbo (Single-Day Event) €1,625 September 2 34 NL Hold'em Turbo (Single-Day Event) €5,200

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