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  1. The PokerStars EPT Online series wrapped up on Thursday after Sweden’s ‘WhatIfGod’ was crowned the champion of the $5,200 NLHE Main Event and walked away with the $1,019,082 million first-place prize. The first-ever EPT Online looked to bring players similar offerings to that of one of their popular live stops which have been understandably postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And over the past two weeks, some of the world’s top online poker talent packed the PokerStars lobbies to battle for a piece of the $21.1 million in total prize money that was spread out over the series’ 20 events. The Main Event After four days of play, the final nine players reconvened to fight for the biggest prize of the series and the right to be called EPT Main Event Champion. The first three eliminations happened in short order as ‘vip25459’ fell was the first to fall, busting out ninth place for $78,797. Soon after busting ‘vip25459’, online poker legend Jon ‘apestyles’ Van Fleet hit the rail in eighth place ($97,344) when he lost a huge flip holding [poker card="as"][poker card="kd"] against ‘VbV1990’s [poker card="js"][poker card="jd"]. Then Andreas ‘daskalos20’ Christoforou busted in spectacular fashion when he got his [poker card="ad"][poker card="as"] all in preflop against David ‘MissOracle’ Yan’s [poker card="ac"][poker card="ks"]. The flop came [poker card="ks"][poker card="9c"][poker card="4c"] and when the [poker card="3c"] hit the river, Christoforou was drawing dead. He settled for seventh place and $136,147. Play slowed down at six-handed until Enio ‘Bozzano JNR’ Bozzano suffered a bad beat in sixth place ($190,419) as Yan again came from behind and cracked Bozzano’s [poker card="kd"][poker card="ks"] with his [poker card="qh"][poker card="qd"]. Russia’s Viacheslav ‘Vbv1990’ Buldygin was the next to exit when he moved all-in with [poker card="ac"][aj] and was called by ‘WhatIfGod’s [poker card="8h"][poker card="8d"]. The pocket eights held and Buldygin was eliminated in fifth place for $266,323. Not long after, ‘tikidiii’ busted in fourth place when he open-shoved his [poker card="js"][poker card="th"] into Timothy ‘Tim0thee’ Adams who showed down [poker card="8d"][poker card="8c"]. Adams’ pocket eights flopped a set and held through the river as ‘tikidiii’ fell in fourth place for $372,485. The experienced final three players battled for roughly thirty minutes before Yan became short-stacked after he was called on a bluffed missed flush draw. Unlike earlier in the tournament when he was able to chip up from the short stack, Yan was unable to recover. He shoved his remaining 16 big blinds in the middle holding [poker card="td"][poker card="th"] against Adams’ [poker card="ac"][poker card="4s"]. Although the tens held to the turn, the [poker card="as"] spiked on the river, shipping the pot to Adams and sending Yan home with a third-place $520,966 payday. Despite both being deep-stacked, Adams and ‘WhatIfGod’ had a brief heads-up battle of just seven hands. It came to a head when Adams raised the button with [poker card="as"][poker card="9d"] and ‘WhatIfGod’ three-bet with [poker card="ad"][poker card="tc"]. The flop came [poker card="ah"][poker card="6s"][poker card="4h"] which brought a bet from ‘WhatIfGod’ which Adams called. The turn came the [poker card="8s"] and ‘WhatIfGod’ checked it over to Adams who put in a bet of his own. ‘WhatIfGod’ called. The case ace, the [poker card="ac"], fell on the river and ‘WhatIfGod’ checked again. Adams then shoved his remaining stack and was called by ‘WhatIfGod’ who used his [poker card="tc"] to outkick Adams and clinch the championship. Adams earned $728,633 as the runner up and ‘WhatIfGod’ locked down the seven-figure $1,019,082 first-place prize. EPT Online Main Event Final Table Payouts [table id=123 /] Series Highlights The series got off to a fast start as EPT Online Event #1 ($1,050 NLHE, Arena Championship) racked up a total of 2,426 entries to shatter the $1.5 million event guarantee to the tune of a $2,426,000 prize pool. After four days of play, ‘DON JOHAN’ walked away with a $356,769 payday setting the stage for a series that promised players big-time payouts throughout. While not the first tournament numerically, EPT Online Event #3 ($5,200 NLHE, 8-Max, High Roller) was the first to reach the finish line and, in the end, it was David ‘MonkeyBausss’ Laka that became the answer to the trivia question “Who was the first EPT Online Champion?” Laka outlasted a talent-packed final table that included former #1-ranked pros Chris ‘ImDaNuts’ Oliver and Artem ‘veeea’ Vezhenkov as well as current #2-ranked player from Croatia Ivan ‘zufo16’ Zufic to lock up the $143,567 score. After a three-handed deal was made in EPT Online Event #4 ($530 NLHE), former PokerStars Team Online member Tatiana ‘Mysters_Y’ Barausova took home a trophy, surviving the field of 1139 runners and earning herself $74,951 in the process. The final table of EPT Online Event #6 ($10,300 NLHE, 8-Max, High Roller) was a who’s who of online poker. Belarusian crusher Mikita Badziakouski and Mathias Eibinger made a deal heads-up that saw both players take home just over $221,000 but it was Badziakouski who will receive the trophy. 2020 WSOP NLHE PPC Champ Christian Rudolph finished in third place on a final table that included October PLB winner Daniel ‘SmilleThHero’ Smiljkovic, Canada’s #1-ranked pro Mike ‘SirWatts’ Watson, Timothy ‘Tim0thee’ Adams, and current #1-ranked player in the world Conor ‘1_conor_b_1’ Beresford. Also at the final table of Event #6 was high-stakes pro Bert ‘girafganger7’ Stevens who finished in seventh place for $51,445. A good result to be sure, but it was the beginning of a few days that found him locking up not one, but two EPT Online titles. First, in EPT Online Event #8 ($2,100 NLHE, 8-Max) he struck a deal with Greece’s Alexandros ‘Pwndidi’ Theologis heads up which locked up a $87,984 payday and the trophy. Three days later he bested Michael ‘Imluckbox’ Addamo heads up in EPT Online Event #15 ($10,300 Turbo, 6-Max, High Roller) to take home another $186,238 score. EPT Online Event #10 ($25,000 Super High Roller) had 81 entries fighting over a piece of the $2,000,000 prize pool. Finnish pro Eelis ‘EEE27’ Parssinen denied the victory to likes of Christian Rudolph, Benjamin ‘bencb789’ Rolle, Joao Vieira, and Artur Martirosian and took home $539,819 for first, the largest prize outside of the Main Event. PokerStars popular 6+ Hold’em (aka Short Deck) was on display in EPT Online Event #13 ($10,300 6+ Hold’em, High Roller) when Canadian crusher Sam Greenwood topped the small field of 41 entries to add $177,599 to his more than $11.6 million in lifetime career online earnings. One of Brazil’s best and brightest online stars, Pedro ‘PaDiLhA SP’ Padilha blasted through the 818 entries of EPT Online Event #18 ($1,050 NLHE, Turbo) to capture the $138,358 first-place prize, a top-5 career score for the longtime grinder. In the final event of the series, former World Series of Poker final tablist Damian Salas used his last chance to pick up a six-figure score by winning EPT Online Event #20 ($1,050 NLHE Last Chance) for $117,475, the second-largest online win of his career. EPT Online Event Winners [table id=121 /] With the big buy-in tournaments of the EPT Online behind them, PokerStars next series caters to the other side of the poker pyramid. The MicroMillions series kicks off on November 19 and runs through November 29.
  2. History was made over the weekend in San Remo, Italy, as Victoria Coren-Mitchell (pictured), a member of Team PokerStars Pro, became the first two-time European Poker Tour champion. Her reward was €476,100. Coren-Mitchell, who calls the United Kingdom home, formerly won the 16th EPT Main Event, which took place in London in 2006. This weekend, she took down the 98th EPT Main Event, which had a field of 556 players, after entering the final table as the short stack. Coren-Mitchell told EPT officials following her historic win, "I'm a natural pessimist. I never expect to win. My policy has always been to be happy with a profit and, most importantly, to enjoy myself. It hasn't really sunk in yet, but I'm incredibly grateful that so many people have gotten behind this." Coren was the first woman ever to win an EPT Main Event when she did so eight years ago. According to the Hendon Mob, Coren-Mitchell now has $2.4 million in lifetime live tournament cashes and is #9 on the ladies all-time money list. She is already #31 on this year's money list and has four six-figure scores to her credit in total. Heads-up play between Giacomo Fundaroand Coren-Mitchell lasted a brief 15 minutes. EPT President Edgar Stuchley said of the historic win, "The first two-time EPT champion is a huge milestone in the history of the tour and we are also very excited and proud that the challenge was won by a member of Team PokerStars Pro." Here's how the final eight cashed out in the EPT San Remo Main Event: 1. Victoria Coren-Mitchell: €476,100 2. Giacomo Fundaro: €298,700 3. Jordan JWPRODIGY Westmorland: €213,850 4. Andrea Benelli: €166,700 5. Andreas Goeller: €130,750 6. Bruno Stefanelli: €102,700 7. Andrija Martic: €76,650 8. Emmanuel Pariset: €53,100 We also wanted to single out Westmorland (pictured), who finished in third place for €213,000 in San Remo. Westmorland is just a few hundred dollars away from a $2 million cash badge here on PocketFives and won the PokerStars Super Tuesday in the middle of last year for $117,000. EPT San Remo was his first six-figure live score and Coren-Mitchell bucked him from the tournament in third place. The 10th season of the EPT wraps up starting this week in Monaco for the EPT Grand Final. Congrats to Coren-Mitchell on her record-breaking performance in Italy. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  3. At the European Poker Tour Deauville stop over the weekend, 22 men entered the €200 + €20 Ladies Event. Before you ask how men could have played in an event designed for women, the simple fact of the matter is they cannot be legally barred from playing. Registration is an "on your honor" thing and casinos expect men to stay out for that one tournament. But every year, we still see men trying to have a laugh or thinking they can beat an allegedly "soft" field and have to suffer their foolishness. As for the EPT Deauville Women's Event, it just so happens that Thierry Derkx, a male, won the whole thing and €4,380. Of course it had to end that way. Of the ten other players who cashed, half of them were men. On the bright side, the runner-up and highest female finisher, Sabina Hiatullah (pictured), was awarded the winner's trophy. The World Series of Poker essentially solved the problem of men being boys and jacked the price of the WSOP Ladies Event to $10,000. Women, however, get a 90% discount and only have to pay $1,000 to play. Clever. As mentioned, men entering Ladies' Events is nothing new. One of the more "celebrated" party crashes by men happened in 2004 when Phil Gordon, Perry Friedman, Rafe Furst, and their "Tiltboy" friends dressed in drag and entered the Ladies' Event at Bay 101. Furst actually went on to finish fifth. At the time, people thought it was funny, with Tournament Director Matt Savage even joking that they would have to do a "panty check" for future events. Former baseball star and current sideshow Jose Canseco entered a Ladies Event in California and, in 2009, the ultimate insult happened when Abraham Korotki won the Ladies No Limit Hold'em Event at the Borgata Poker Open. Runner-up Nicole Rowe offered a chop to Korotki, but he refused, wanting to win the whole thing. In the meantime, she had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and could have used some of the extra money to pay for her medical expenses. The debate on this subject has been carrying on in the internet forums. Most men seem to agree that there is nothing wrong with women-only tournaments and that men should just stay out. Others take the opposite stance, somehow thinking they are discriminatory or even trying to make a case that these types of tournaments are demeaning to women, that they don't need their own tournament to "protect" them from men. One woman chimed in to explain why Ladies Events are a good thing: "I play several Ladies Events a year and the vast majority of the entrants are women who are amateur players. I would say a decent majority of those entrants only play Ladies Events and do not enter regular tournaments at all. Ladies Events have a more fun and less serious atmosphere, which encourages less experienced players to get their feet wet." What do you think? Should there be any punishment for the 22 male entrants in the EPT Deauville Ladies Event? How can and should this be prevented in the future, if at all? Comment here and let us know. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  4. On Saturday, longtime PocketFiver David Davidp18Peters (pictured) started the weekend by winning the European Poker Tour Malta High Roller Event, which had a €10,000 buy-in, and earned €597,000. It's the biggest cash of his poker career. PocketFives has tracked three online scores for Peters that have passed $100,000. Peters entered heads-up play against Ivan Luca with a 2:1 chip lead and although a deal was discussed, nothing came to fruition. The tournament had 235 players, its prize pool swelled to €2.9 million, and the top 39 players finished in the money. Peters proudly Tweeted when all was said and done, "I won with no chop for my biggest score ever! Thanks everyone for the support!" Here's how the EPT Malta Final Table paid out. There were seven countries represented: 1st Place: David Peters - €597,000 2nd Place: Ivan Luca - €397,000 3rd Place: Viacheslav Goryachev - €290,500 4th Place: Artem Metalidi - €234,500 5th Place: Charles Carrel - €183,800 6th Place: Nick Petrangelo - €139,000 7th Place: Igor Yaroshevskyy - €102,000 8th Place: Sylvain Loosli - €75,000 Peters won a WCOOP Second Chance event last September for $172,000, his largest online score to date. He chopped an FTOPS eventfive years ago for $152,000 and won the Full Tilt$1K Monday in 2008 for another $110,000. He has multiple victories in $215 tournaments on PokerStars over the years and won the Full Tilt Sunday Major last year, pocketing $36,000. Prior to this, Peters' largest live score came after a win in the Bellagio Cup in 2013 for $355,000. The same year, he finished fourth in the WSOP Europe High Roller Event for $203,000 and took down the EPT Prague High Roller Event for $179,000. He just passed $5 million in career live tournament winnings, according to the Hendon Mob, and is #151 on poker's all-time money list. Peters has been a member of PocketFives since 2006. Congrats to Peters on his EPT win! Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  5. Here's something you don't see every day. Poland's Dzmitry Urbanovich (pictured, image courtesy EPT) became the first person ever to win four events at a single European Poker Tour festival. Four! It all went down at EPT Malta, where he won a €200 Crazy Pineapple event to secure his fourth title. He also won the series' €25,000 High Roller and, the same night as that title, bought into a €500 Midnight Turbo and lasted all the way until eighth place. He went on to win a €1,000 Deep-Stack Turbo Big Ante tournament as well as the EPT Malta €5,000 Rebuy. Here's how he has ransacked the competition at EPT Malta, according to the Hendon Mob: March 26: €200 Crazy Pineapple 1st place for €3,260 March 25: €1,100 EPT Limit Stud Championships 2nd place for €6,680 March 23: €5,200 No Limit Hold'em Turbo 1st place for €110,000 March 22: €1,100 No Limit Holdem Deep-Stack Turbo Big Ante 1st place for €35,200 March 20: €550 No Limit Hold'em Midnight Hyper-Turbo 8th place for €2,405 March 18: €25,500 No Limit Hold'em EPT High Roller 1st place for €572,300 The PokerStarsBlog added that his run at EPT Malta is not his first taste of victory; in fact, it's far from it: "The man known online as colisea, who has won SCOOP and WCOOP titles already on PokerStars and chopped the Sunday 500 eight days ago, is transferring online dominance to the live arena in the most emphatic style." Talk about a productive week. Prior to his recent run at EPT Malta, Urbanovich's largest live score was $37,000. Now, he is the #1 player in terms of the number of live cashes this year, according to the Hendon Mob, and is #20 on the 2015 worldwide money list. Urbanovich has already ascended to #4 on the money list for his native Poland. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  6. The biggest names in poker will most likely find themselves in Europe in October chasing not only the ten WSOP bracelets available at WSOP Europe but also the riches that come with another European Poker Tour stop. For those staying State-side, October features great mid-tier buy-in events across the country. Europe The World Series of Poker is back in Europe, but at a new location as the Series goes to Germany for the first time. Ten bracelets will be awarded at Berlin's Spielbank Casino from October 8-24. The €10,450 WSOPE Main Event is a six-day affair as the biggest names in poker go after one of the year's most prized titles. The next stop on the European Poker Tour brings players back to Malta with their series running October 21-31. The €5,300 Main Event starts right after the WSOPE Main Event ends and the events on Mediterranean island are expected to draw large fields once again. If you're not looking to live it up in Europe, there's plenty of more moderately-priced series going on all around the United in States in October. Northeast The 20th edition of the Foxwoods World Poker Finals runs from October 3-19 with over $1,600,000 in guaranteed prize pools during the 21-event series. The Parx Big Stax XIII series is now underway through October 19 with multi-flight events at buy-ins of $330, $550 and $1,100. South The Heartland Poker Tour makes their way to the South in October for two tournament series. First, to the Daytona Beach Kennel Club for their $1,650 Main Event October 9-12, and then to Mississippi the following week as they visit the Ameristar Casino in Vicksburg. The Isle Casino in Pompano Park, Florida holds the $1,300,000 guaranteed Isle Open October 5-27. The World Poker Tour bestbet Bounty Scramble starts their series October 23rd with several preliminary events. Midwest The World Series of Poker Circuit runs two tournaments in Indiana this month. Horseshoe Southern Indiana features 12 WSOPC ring events October 1-12 while Horseshoe Hammond, one of the most popular stops on the WSOPC, runs from October 15-27. Both WSOPC stops have the usual $1,675 Main Event, but Hammond added a $5,300 High Roller to their schedule. The Mid-States Poker Tour heads to the FireKeepers Casino in Battle Creek, Michigan for the Michigan State Poker Championship, a $1,110 buy-in $200,000 guaranteed tournament October 15-18. In Minnesota, Canterbury Park holds their annual Fall Poker Classic October 3-18. Nevada The Aria in Las Vegas has scheduled two one-day $25,000 High Roller tournaments for October 1-2. The Wynn Fall Classic features $700,000 in guaranteed events with buy-ins ranging from $300 to $1,600. The Venetian DeepStack Extravaganza starts on October 26. There's tournament action elsewhere in the Silver State this month. The Peppermill in Reno hosts the Poker NV Fall Challenge October 2-12, followed by Run It Up Reno, hosted by Jason Somerville October 20-25. The WSOP Circuit heads to Harvey's Lake Tahoe as their series starts on October 29. California There are three tournaments worth a mention: The Bicycle Casino holds their $1,100 Big Poker Oktober Main Event October 10-13. Hollywood Park holds their $500 buy-in $150,000 guaranteed National Poker Championship October 22-25. The annual Liz Flynt Poker Classic at the Hustler Casino in Gardena features six-figure guaranteed prize pools with tournaments under $500 starting October 13. WPTDeepStacks heads to Oceans 11 Casino near San Diego October 17-26 with their Main Event an $1,100 buy-in $200,000 guaranteed tournament. Elsewhere The only World Poker Tour Main Tour event this month is at the Emperor's Palace Casino in Johannesburg, South Africa for their $3,600 Main Event October 30. In Australia, Melbourne's Crown Casino features the PokerStars ANZPT series October 8-20. The DeepStacks Poker Tour heads to the Yellowhead Casino in Edmonton October 1-12.
  7. The EPT Barcelona Main Eventwrapped up on Sunday with poker pro John Juanda claiming the €1 million first place prize. The Main Event in Barcelona gained the title of the largest EPT Main Event ever held at 1,694 players, eclipsing the Season 7 PCA Main Event, which drew 1,560. --- Tournament Poker Edgeis the only poker training site dedicated exclusively to MTTs and features over 1,000 training videos, blogs, articles, podcasts and a dedicated strategy forum for members. Check Tournament Poker Edge out on Twitter. --- EPT President Edgar Stuchly commented in a press release, "It hardly seems any time since we were celebrating the record-breaking EPT100 here in Barcelona, but the turnout this season has surpassed all possible expectations. We offer a huge thank you to all 5,738 players who came here for this amazing festival, making it not only the biggest EPT ever held, but one of the biggest poker festivals in the world." Juanda defeated the UK's Steve Warburton heads-up and 247 players out of the 1,694 made the money. Here's how the final table looked: 1. John Juanda - €1,022,593 2. Steve Warburton - €941,613 3. Frederik Jensen - €810,294 4. Denys Shafikov - €405,100 5. Rainer Kempe - €320,400 6. Andreas Samuelsson - €253,900 7. Amir Touma - €194,100 8. Mario Sanchez - €137,080 As you'll notice from the payouts, there was a deal made three-handed that involved Juanda, Warburton, and Jensen, the latter of whom won the EPT Madrid Season 8 Main Event. Last year, 1,496 players turned out for the EPT Barcelona Main Event and Germany's Andre Lettau took it down for €794. Here's how the event has looked attendance-wise over the years: Season 1: 229 players Season 2: 327 players Season 3: 480 players Season 4: 543 players Season 5: 619 players Season 6: 479 players Season 7: 758 players Season 8: 811 players Season 9: 1,082 players Season 10: 1,234 players Season 11: 1,496 players Season 12: 1,694 players Juanda came into this year's EPT Main Event with over $16 million in live tournament winnings, according to the Hendon Mob, good for #10 on poker's all-time money list. He has two previous seven-figure scores all-time: $1.5 million for winning the 2008 WSOP Europe Main Event and $1.6 million for taking fifth in the 2012 2012 Macau High Stakes Challenge Super High Roller. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  8. Four stops remain on Season 12 of the PokerStars-backed European Poker Tour. According to a press release PocketFives received on Tuesday, the buy-in of the EPT Grand Final Main Event in Monte Carlo will be reduced from €10,600 to €5,300, or 50%. PokerStars’ Director of Live Events Edgar Stuchly commented in the release, "We're making these changes to bring the Grand Final more in line with other stops such as Prague and Barcelona, which have created record-breaking fields over the last couple of years, by giving a large percentage of players what they've been asking for - the opportunity to play more tournaments within their bankroll, while also making the Main Event more accessible to a wider number of players around the world." He added, "The Grand Final schedule will continue to have a wide range of buy-ins, all the way up to the incredible €100,000 Super High Roller." The EPT Grand Final Main Event will take place from April 30 to May 6 in Monaco. Here are some of the highlights: FPS Main Event (April 27-May 1, 2016) - €1,000 + €100 Super High Roller (April 28 - 30, 2016) - €98,000 + €2,000 FPS High Roller (April 29-30, 2016) - €2,000 + €200 EPT Main Event (April 30-May 6, 2016) - €5,000 + €300 Single Day Super High Roller (May 1, 2016) - €49,000 + €1,000 EPT High Roller (May 4-6, 2016) - €25,000 + €750 The attendance of the EPT Grand Final reached an all-time high of 935 entries during Season 5, which ended in 2009. It dropped off to 531 within four years before rebounding slightly: Season 11: 564 entries Season 10: 650 entries Season 9: 531 entries Season 8: 665 entries Season 7: 686 entries Season 6: 848 entries Season 5: 935 entries Season 4: 842 entries Season 3: 706 entries Season 2: 298 entries Season 1: 211 entries Adrian Mateos won the 2015 EPT Grand Final Main Event for a little over €1 million. He's #2 on the all-time money list for Spain, according to the Hendon Mob. As PocketFives reported in August, the buy-in of the 2016 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event will be similarly cut from $10,000 to $5,300, which should help boost attendance in the Bahamas as well. Attendance at the PCA Main Event has been steadily declining since its high four years ago: 2015: 816 entries 2014: 1,031 entries 2013: 987 entries 2012: 1,072 entries 2011: 1,560 entries 2010: 1,529 entries 2009: 1,347 entries 2008: 1,136 entries 2007: 937 entries 2006: 724 entries 2005: 461 entries 2004: 211 entries Visit PokerStars for more details on the EPT Grand Final. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  9. When thousands of poker players from all over the globe converge on a relatively small casino, there are bound to be problems. That was certainly the case at the Barcelona stop of the European Poker Tour (EPT) earlier this week when a ruling at a nosebleed table left players fuming. --- Tournament Poker Edgeis the only poker training site dedicated exclusively to MTTs and features over 1,000 training videos, blogs, articles, podcasts and a dedicated strategy forum for members. Check Tournament Poker Edge out on Twitter. --- Poker Pro Danny ansky451 Stern (pictured) was sitting at a €100/€200 PLO game when the following hand went down, according to a post on 2+2: Two players limp in EP, I make it 1100 with KhKcJd9d in MP, Juha Helppi calls in the CO, Bullitos calls after him in the SB, and an older Spanish guy pots it to 5900 from the BB… Limpers fold, I call, Juha calls and Bullitos does as well. The pot is roughly 24k. The flop is Ks9s7x. Bullitos checks, BB shoves for slightly over 10k, I jam for around 40k, Juha folds, and Bullitos calls all-in for around 4k-5k. At this point, the active players asked the dealer to stop while they discussed running the board twice. Stern was adamant that he made it very clear they would run it twice for the entire pot and that everyone was in agreement. He repeated himself several times because he wanted to be very sure that everyone understood what was happening. The first board ran out Ks-9s-7x-As-4x, while the second came Ks-9s-7x-7x-6x. When all was said and done, Stern believed he should've been chopping the side pot and the main pot with the local Spanish player for around €18,000 each. But, the local player claimed the casino had a rule which states that running it twice is only allowed in heads-up pots; therefore, only he should claim the main pot and only have to chop the side pot. The table erupted with players screaming in English and Spanish until the floor manager was called. He ruled that because everyone at the table agreed to run it twice, the decision was valid for the entire pot. Just when Stern thought he would be receiving his share, a higher level poker room employee was called and overturned the ruling, deciding in favor of the Spanish player, whom the table claimed was blatantly lying about the agreement to run it twice. In the 2+2 thread, some thought that card room employees were somehow in on the scam, helping the local player to exploit an obscure ruling. But as others pointed out, in a large tournament such as the EPT, casinos are often forced to bring in dealers from other locations or ones who might have less experience. While the dealer in question should have known he wasn't allowed to run it twice in that situation, he might not have been completely clear on the rules for that card room. Other EPT players chimed in, noting that the dealers were not enforcing the rules to the letter during cash games at the event, sometimes allowing a play while other times prohibiting it. While the dealer and the first floor manager seemed to side with Stern, when the issue was escalated, the higher level employee had to refer back to the original written rule. "Once management does get involved, they will rule to the letter of the rules and often be forced to ignore the intent of the rule if a situation is not standard because they need to back up their ruling in the event it is taken to a higher authority," explained *TT*. "Is this wrong? Was Ansky angle shot? Yes... but it also helps to have an understanding why the ruling occurred the way it did even though I agree it's unfair." What do you think? Comment below and let us know. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  10. [caption width="640"] Mad Harper has been with the European Poker Tour since Season 1[/caption] Twelve years ago, a relative unknown in the poker world began distributing PokerStars hats to players who busted from events on the European Poker Tour. If you went busto, she showed up with a baseball cap for your troubles. Now, she's still going strong with the EPT as its Media Coordinator as the tour gets ready to wrap its 12th season with the annual Grand Final in Monaco starting on April 26. Mad Harper's big "break" with the EPT came as the nascent tour was beginning in 2004. Her friend Conrad Brunner, the man who brokered the relationship between PokerStars and EPT founder John Duthie, asked if she'd help out at events. Her mission: give PokerStars hats to players who busted, a far from glorious job, but one that gave her face time with players and staff alike. "Apparently some players were escaping without a cap, so I was told to keep a better eye on the short stacks," Harper said. "The players got wind of this and started treating me like I was the Grim Reaper. If I went near any of them, they would wave me away and tell me they were fine and about to double up." After the final tournament of EPT Season 1 took place in Monaco, Harper's flight was scheduled to depart later than her coworkers', so she helped load equipment onto a truck bound for the UK. "I was absolutely horrified to find an empty box that said 'EPT trophy' on it," Harper said. "It was an enormous trophy, much too heavy for the winner to have taken it on a plane, so I was convinced someone had stolen it. It turned out that the winner, Rob Hollink, had driven to Monte Carlo from Holland and taken the trophy back with him. Scary moment." By Season 2, Harper started running the EPT's website and began serving as the tour's Media Coordinator. "I thought it would be nice to write little player profiles for the finalists," Harper said, "but Patric Martensson refused to talk to me. His friends said they'd instead give me his 'biographical details.' They told me a load of rubbish, like Patric had the second biggest stamp collection in Sweden, sold used cars on the weekends, and was the national Monopoly champion. I reckon you could google Patric today and still read all those so-called 'facts.'" During Season 3, Vicky Coren became the first woman to win an EPT event, doing so in London. Then, Roland de Wolfe emerged victorious in the series' stop in Dublin. "Roland de Wolfe was a lovely winner and brought loads of champagne into the media room for us to celebrate," Harper said. "There had also been a few hotel issues at that event, so the hotel agreed to give us free drinks for an hour. People in Ireland don't hold back if there's a free bar, so that was quite a night." The EPT expanded from eight events to 11 for Season 4, which caused Harper to live out of a suitcase. It also marked the debut of stops like the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure half-a-world away in the Bahamas along with San Remo and Prague. For Harper, however, an existing stop remained her favorite: Baden. "I absolutely loved Baden," Harper said. "We went there three times in all and it was always fantastic. For starters, it was a stunning venue: a beautiful Belle Epoque casino in a really pretty town. Plus, they had the best player buffet we've ever had on the circuit with delicious food and cakes to die for. In Season 4, Julian Thew won there. I was a big Julian fan, so I was very happy with that result." [caption width="320" align="alignright"] Mad Harper is one of the most beloved members of the EPT staff.[/caption] In Season 5, a memorable character named Will Fry won the EPT's lone stop in Budapest, Hungary. "We'd never heard of him before the event, but he and I became firm friends from then on," Harper said. "I wish he still competed on the circuit. He played the whole final with a bottle of red wine at his side." After Fry's win, he partied with EPT media in a flat. In Season 6, the EPT expanded yet again, this time to 13 events. At Kyiv, Shaun Deeb won the High Roller Event and, according to Harper, was pretty low-key while making history. "There were only three players and Shaun was treating it like a home game," Harper said. "He kept telling them to hurry up so that he could join a side event. Shaun is always great to have at an event. He's very entertaining and an amazing player." It was Deeb's first EPT cash. Also in Season 6, a resort in Austria played host to EPT Snowfest. The location was memorable and came complete with… goats. "The media room had a giant picture window facing the ski jumps and we would all stop whatever we were doing whenever we saw anyone about to take off, and then obviously howl with laughter if they screwed it up," Harper said. "Up the slope behind the venue was a bar that had actual goats living in it. They were adorable, so I went up there as often as possible and we had the EPT parties there too." Season 7 marked the EPT's first trips to Tallinn and Vilamoura. For Harper, though, Roberto Romanellowinning EPT Prague was the highlight of the seventh season. "I was working in the media room when someone came in and told me he'd won," Harper said. "Then about 20 minutes later, someone else came in and said Roberto was sobbing in the corridor. I said, 'I thought he won?' They said, 'Yes, he did, but he's so emotional about it, he's been crying outside for nearly half-an-hour.' Roberto is still by far the most emotional winner we've ever had." Harper called EPT Season 8 a "standout year for winners." Ronny Kaiser won in Tallinn, Benny Spindler won in London, Martin Finger won in Prague, Davidi Kitai won in Berlin, and Mohsin Charania was the Grand Final champion. "We also had three Danish winners back-to-back-to-back," Harper said. "Mickey Petersen in Copenhagen, Fred Jensen in Madrid, and Jannick Wrang in our one and only event in Campione, Italy." Season 9 marked the first year of Edgar Stuchly at the helm. And the EPT was, needless to say, quite different. "All of the events had a super slick new look, new digital registration, official EPT concierge, free internet, and we joined up with national tours to create really massive festivals with tons of side events," Harper said. "It all looked totally different and super glamorous." Stuchly's influence continues to be felt throughout EPT events, including at the upcoming EPT Season 12 Grand Final in Monaco, where 80 events will play out over 11 days. To make it 10 years was quite a feat for the EPT. The end of 2013 and beginning of 2014 saw the EPT in its 10th season and, in San Remo, Vicky Coren became the series' first two-time female winner. For Harper, it was a moment she wouldn't forget. "It was very emotional," Harper said. "Especially for the not-very-many-of-us who had also been at the Vic seven years earlier for her first victory." The beginning of EPT Season 11 also featured a milestone, this time the 100th tour stop, which took place in Barcelona. "I really would never have believed ten years earlier that we would ever get to this incredible milestone," Harper said. "Over the previous seasons, we had welcomed 180,000 players, been to 16 countries, and created 39 millionaires. EPT100 was one of our biggest tournaments ever and it really felt like we were now beating the World Series as the best poker festival on the planet." The 12th and current season of the EPT has featured a gauntlet of talent taking down titles. John Juanda Niall Farrell, Hossein Ensan, Mike Watson, and Dzmitry Urbanovich have all tasted victory so far. There's one Main Event champion left to be crowned on May 6 in Monte Carlo. "Every single champion this season has been a well-known player who richly deserved to get an EPT title," Harper said. The EPT has come a long way since its birth 12 seasons ago. And so has live poker in Europe as a whole, in part thanks to the EPT's presence. "The EPT totally revolutionized poker," Harper said. "I think it took a while for Americans to realize what was going on, but the EPT turned poker from a fairly niche pursuit into a mainstream activity. John Duthie started something amazing: televised, very professionally run events that everyone wanted to be a part of." "We've been hearing people for ages saying, 'Poker is saturated. There aren't any more players,' but it's patently untrue," Harper said. "We break records every single season. We have more and more events, and more and more players turn up to compete in them. I can't see a ceiling to this." [caption width="" align="alignleft"] Players, like 2014 PCA Main Event champion Dominik Panka, have long held Mad Harper in high regard.[/caption] Harper won a European Poker Award in 2007 for Poker Staff Person of the Year. She's about as well-connected as it gets and continues to attend many live events. "It has been a privilege to get to know some of the very best players in the world," Harper said. "You have all of these huge stars like Daniel Negreanu and Vanessa Selbst and ElkY and I actually know them. That's pretty weird. The EPT team is amazing to work with too, and then there are all of the media. Some of them have been coming for years and we're like a family now." Aside from schmoozing with poker pros and media from around the world, Harper has also been able to rub elbows with a few brand name celebrities over the years. Although she won't name-drop as much as other poker pros you might know, Harper said, "Not many people can say they've been to a beach workout with Tito Ortiz followed by a Teddy Sheringham golf round or chatted on the rail with a Hobbit like I did with Sean 'Samwise Gamgee' Austin at last year's Grand Final." She's certainly come a long ways since her days playing Grim Reaper.
  11. [caption width="450"] Dzmitry Urbanovich continues to find new ways to dominate the European Poker Tour[/caption] Last season Dzmitry Urbanovich burst onto the European Poker Tour scene and at 19 years old made easy work of the EPT Player of the Year race even though he never won an EPT Main Event. On Saturday in Dublin the now 20-year-old Polish poker pro found himself on top of the EPT Dublin Main Event field after a grueling heads-up duel with Germany’s Gilles Bernies to win €5,125,000 ($5,705,157 US). "It feels very good, very good," Urbanovich said. "It's been a long week." Urbanovich kicked things off on the third hand of the day. Urbanovich opened to 110,000 from early position and Rhys 'floppinhel' Jones moved all in from the big blind. Urbanovich called and tabled [poker card="ac"][poker card="tc"] and had Jones’ [poker card="as"][poker card="9h"] dominated. The board ran out [poker card="ts"][poker card="5h"][poker card="2d"][poker card="9d"][poker card="ad"] to give Urbanovich top two pair and eliminate Jones in sixth. It took nearly two hours for the next elimination. Ilios Kamatakis raised to 150,000 from UTG and Bernies called from the cut-off. Kamatakis bet 275,000 before Bernies raised to 650,000. Kamatakis moved all in and Bernies called. Kamatakis showed [poker card="ks"][poker card="9s"] for second pair but Bernies held [poker card="as"][poker card="qd"] for top pair. The [poker card="3h"] turn and [poker card="3d"] river provided no relief for Kamatakis and was out in fifth. The remaining four players played without another elimination for three hours and Bernies used that time to build his chip lead before some fireworks began. Bernies raised to 225,000 and Patrick Clarke announced he was all in. Bernies quickly called and turned over [poker card="qh"][poker card="qs"] while Clarke showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="2d"]. The [poker card="qc"][poker card="9c"][poker card="5h"] flop gave Bernies top set and left Clarke hoping for runner-runner. The [poker card="7c"] turn was one half of that equation but the [poker card="2s"] river was a brick and Clarke was out in fourth and Bernies held over 72% of the chips in play. He increased that total on the very next hand. Bernies moved all in from the button and Kully Sidhu called from the big blind. Bernies was ahead with [poker card="5c"][poker card="5h"] against Sidhu’s [poker card="ah"][poker card="6h"]. The [poker card="js"][poker card="7s"][poker card="4h"] flop was no help for Sidhu and neither were the [poker card="2c"] turn or [poker card="2s"] river and he was eliminated in third place. When heads-up play began, Bernies held 14,840,000 of the 18,125,000 chips in play. But over four hours of heads up action, Urbanovich battled back to even, took the chip lead, briefly lost it again and then overcame Bernies again before finall finishing him off. The 61st and final hand of play between Bernies and Urbanovich started with Bernies shipping all in for just about 2,000,000 and found himself in dire straits when Urbanovich snap-called and tabled [poker card="kd"][poker card="ks"]. Bernies, with [poker card="qd"][poker card="7h"] needed a lot of help. The [poker card="7s"][poker card="5s"][poker card="4c"] flop gave him a pair but didn’t change much. The [poker card="5s"] turn and [poker card="9d"] river were complete bricks and Urbanovich eliminated Bernies in second place and captured his first EPT Main Event title. The event - the first for the EPT in Dublin since Season IV - drew 605 players paying the €5,300 buy-in. The EPT is now on a brief hiatus until the EPT Grand Final in Monaco April 25 to May 6. Final Table Payouts Dzmitry Urbanovich - €561,900 Gilles Bernies - €349,800 Kully Sidhu - €250,300 Patrick Clarke - €193,650 Ilios Kamatakis - €52,600 Rhys Jones - €119,450
  12. [caption width="640"] There are 302 online qualifiers in the EPT Grand Final Main Event in 2016, a new record.[/caption] The 2016 European Poker Tour Grand Finalstarts in a couple of weeks from the picturesque principality of Monaco. Its sandy beaches, steep cliffs, celebrities-a-plenty, and famed Grand Prix track will welcome a record number of online qualifiers from PokerStars this year. There are 302 online qualifiers in the EPT Grand Final Main Event in 2016, a new record. And it's not even close. Prior to 2016, the most number of online qualifiers in an EPT Grand Final Main Event was 210, set back in Season 10. The €5,300 buy-in EPT Grand Final Main Event starts on April 30 and runs for one week through May 6. "We're very excited about this season’s finale," Edgar Stuchly, PokerStars' Director of Live Events, said. "We reduced the Main Event buy-in to give additional players a chance to join us, and that's exactly what has transpired with a record number of online qualifiers set to compete in this prestigious event. For all our regulars, as well as all those coming to an EPT for the very first time, we extend a very warm welcome to Monaco." Last year, the buy-in for the EPT Grand Final Main Event was €10,600. There were 564 players and Adrian Mateos walked away with the title and a little over €1 million. He was the first EPT champion from Spain. [caption width="640"] Adrian Mateos became the first EPT champion from Spain last year in Monaco[/caption] Many players qualified for Monaco on the cheap. A total of 121 online qualifiers parlayed €10 into a €9,000 prize package via PokerStars' EPT Spin & Go tournaments. And to celebrate the success of PokerStars' Spin & Gos in general, live versions will run in Monaco with buy-ins of €55, €110, €220, and €550. Players can win up to €1,000, €2,000, €4,000, and €10,000, respectively. Ben 'f3nix35' Dobson, from the UK, qualified for the EPT Grand Final Main Event for €4.22. In fact, there are a baker's dozen of players who qualified for less than €5, and two players won their way into the prestigious Monte Carlo tournament via Team Pro Online freerolls. Running alongside the EPT Grand Final in Monaco is the regional France Poker Series. In total, 80 events occur over 11 days, and a number of top players including Jason 'treysfull21' Mercier and Daniel Negreanu will be in attendance. Brazilian football legend Ronaldo will also be in the house, looking to build on a 25th place finish in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event in 2015 for over $40,000. A total of 155 players have won their way into the €1,100 FPS Monaco Main Event, which runs from April 27 to May 1. Here's a look at the schedule of events in Monaco from the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel and Casino: Single Re-Entry High Roller (April 26-28) - €10,000 + €300 FPS Main Event (April 27-May 1) - €1,000 + €100 Super High Roller (April 28-30) - €98,000 + €2,000 FPS High Roller (April 29-30) - €2,000 + €200 EPT Main Event (April 30-May 6) - €5,000 + €300 Single Day Super High Roller (May 1) - €49,000 + €1,000 EPT High Roller (May 4-6) - €25,000 + €750
  13. [caption width="640"] Mustapha Kanit won the EPT Dublin €25,000 High Roller (Photo courtesy PokerStars/Neil Stoddart)[/caption] In the nine years since the European Poker Tour was last in Dublin, Ireland the Tour has changed quite a bit. One of the biggest changes is the addition of High Roller events to the stop in each EPT city. Sunday night in Dublin, Mustapha Kanit put on a show for the ages in winning the €25K High Roller for €501,640 ($563,172 US). Kanit, who is Italy's all-time leading money earner, now has over $6 million US in lifetime earnings. The €25,000 buy-in event, which attracted 70 entries, was the biggest buy-in event in the history of Irish poker. Kanit came to the final table with the chip lead and while he did briefly relinquish that lead to Chance Kornuth in heads-up play, the Italian poker pro basically went wire-to-wire for the win. Kornuth picked up the first elimination on just the second hand of play Sunday. From UTG Kornuth moved all in for 1,290,000 and a shortstacked Ivan Luca called from the button. Kornuth showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="kd"] while Luca had [poker card="jh"][poker card="5s"]. The [poker card="ts"][poker card="3d"][poker card="2d"][poker card="4s"][poker card="th"] run out didn’t help Luca and he was out in eighth. On the very next hand Nick Petrangelo found himself on the way out of the tournament. Action folded to Petrangelo in the small blind and he moved all in for 480,000. Jeff Rossiter called from the big blind and tabled [poker card="qh"][poker card="8s"], behind Petrangelo’s [poker card="ad"][poker card="jh"]. The [poker card="kc"][poker card="qs"][poker card="7d"] flop gave Rossiter second pair but left Petrangelo drawing to a bigger pair or broadway. the [poker card="6d"] turn and [poker card="6h"] river were bricks though and Petrangelo was out in seventh. While the first two eliminations took no time at all, it was 90 minutes of play before another player left the final table. Again it was a blind-vs-blind confrontation that lead to the bustout. Anton Bertilsson moved all in from the small blind and Keith Johnson called from the big. Bertilsson turned over [poker card="6s"][poker card="6d"] and Johnson, who was short when the hand began, needed help with [poker card="as"][poker card="5h"]. The board ran out [poker card="7c"][poker card="5c"][poker card="2s"][poker card="qs"][poker card="jh"] leaving Bertilsson in front and sending Johnson out in sixth place. An hour later Kanit picked up his first elimination of the day. Kanit raised to 215,000 and Rossiter moved all in behind him. Kanit called and found himself in a dominating position with [poker card="ad"][poker card="kc"] to the [poker card="ks"][poker card="jh"] of Rossiter. The [poker card="kh"][poker card="3s"][poker card="2h"] flop kept Kanit in the lead but the [poker card="7h"] gave Rossiter back door flush outs. The river however was the [poker card="as"] and Rossiter was eliminated in fifth. Kanit held 54% of the chips in play with just four players remaining and pushed that advantage to as high as 70%. It took another blind-vs-blind confrontation to get down to three players. Kornuth shoved from the small blind and Bertilsson called off the rest of his stack from the big blind. Kornuth tabled [poker card="ad"][poker card="6d"] and Bertilsson showed [poker card="kd"][poker card="td"]. Bertilsson found no traction on the [poker card="6c"][poker card="5s"][poker card="3d"][poker card="2s"][poker card="8d"] board and was out in fourth. A three-way all in so no player bust out and left Kanit in the lead. Just a few minutes later Charlie Carrel found himself on the way out and Kanit was set for a heads-up battle with Kornuth. Again, it was blind-vs-blind. Kanit limped from the small blind, Carrel move all in from the big and Kanit quickly called. Carrel showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="4h"] while Kanit was ahead with [poker card="jd"][poker card="js"]. The board ran out [poker card="9s"][poker card="5d"][poker card="5s"][poker card="7c"][poker card="4s"] to eliminate Carrel. Heads-up play last a little over two hours with Kornuth taking the lead for a little less than 20 minutes of play. Once Kanit had it back, he didn’t relinquish it. On the final hand of the night Kornuth opened to 500,000 and Kanit responded by moving all in. Kornuth took some time but eventually called with [poker card="ac"][poker card="th"]. Kanit was ahead with [poker card="3h"][poker card="3s"]. The board ran out [poker card="8c"][poker card="7d"][poker card="2s"][poker card="qs"][poker card="jd"] giving Kanit his first win of 2016. Final Table Payouts Mustapha Kanit - €501,640 Chance Kornuth - €360,150 Charlie Carrel - €234,100 Anton Bertilsson - €176,640 Jeff Rossiter - €137,200 Keith Johnson - €106,330 Nick Petrangelo - €84,040 Ivan Luca - €65,170
  14. [caption width="640"] The European Poker Tour announced dates for its Season 13 stops in Barcelona, Malta, and Prague (photo: PokerStars)[/caption] The 12th season of the European Poker Tour is wrapping up this week in Monaco with the conclusion of the series' Main Event and EPT High Roller on Friday. But there's no rest for the weary, as EPT officials announced dates for the first three stops of Season 13. "Season 12 has been yet another record-breaker for the EPT with our biggest schedules ever and a record-breaking number of players," EPT President Edgar Stuchly said. "EPT Barcelona is always an astonishing festival and so we're really looking forward to heading back to Spain in August after our traditional summer break." EPT Barcelona is the first stop of the new season. The roving tournament series heads to the Spanish seaside city from August 16 to 28. Last year in Barcelona, longtime poker pro John Juanda took down the biggest EPT Main Event ever held for €1,022,593. All he had to do was outlast a mammoth 1,694-player field. All told, EPT Barcelona had 71 tournaments last year and a total prize pool that nearly hit €40 million. This time around, highlights include a €5,300 EPT Main Event, €1,100 Estrellas Main Event, €10,000 High Roller, €50,000 Super High Roller, and €25,000 High Roller. The latter event had over 100 entries last time it was held in Barcelona. Players who want to satellite into the €5,300 EPT Barcelona Main Event or €1,100 Estrellas Barcelona Main Event, can qualify on PokerStars beginning May 8. Two months after Barcelona ends, the EPT will head to Malta's Portomaso Casino from October 18 to 29. Niall 'firaldo' Farrell won the last EPT Malta Main Event held, barreling through a 651-entrant field for €534,330. October's stop will mark the third straight year the event has been held in Malta. Here are some of the highlights of EPT Malta: October 18, 2016 (3-day): NL Hold'em - €10,000 + €300 October 19, 2016 (5-day): IPT Main Event - €1,000 + €100 October 21, 2016 (3-day): €25K High Roller - €25,000 + €750 October 22, 2016 (2-day): IPT High Roller - €2,000 + €200 October 23, 2016 (7-day): EPT Main Event - €5,000 + €300 October 24, 2016 (1-day): NL Holdem - €10,000 + €200 October 27, 2016 (3-day): EPT High Roller - €10,000 + €300 And the tour moves to Prague just before the 2016 calendar year comes to a close. EPT Prague is scheduled for December 7 to 18 from the Hilton Prague. Last season's EPT Prague series was enormous and sported almost 100 events. According to PokerStars, over 3,400 players competed in the Season 12 EPT Prague festival with nearly 16,000 separate tournament entries and more than €24.5 million in prize money. Here are some of the highlights of EPT Prague: December 7, 2016 (3-day): NL Hold'em - €10,000 + €300 December 8, 2016 (5-day): Eureka Main Event - €1,000 + €100 December 10, 2016 (3-day): Super High Roller - €48,500 + €1,500 December 11, 2016 (2-day): Eureka High Roller - €2,000 + €200 December 12, 2016 (7-day): EPT Main Event - €5,000 + €300 December 13, 2016 (1-day): NL Holdem - €25,000 + €500 December 16, 2016 (3-day): EPT High Roller - €10,000 + €300
  15. [caption width="640"] Ben Dobson was one of the 300-plus qualifiers in the field in the EPT Grand Final Main Event.[/caption] Monaco isn't the simplest place to get to. If you're from the US, chances are it requires multiple flights to get to Nice. If you're from Europe, it's probably a flight or two. Then, it's a 30-minute car ride, 30-minute train ride, or seven-minute whirlybird adventure to get there. But once you're in Monaco, all of the traveling is well worth it, especially for the over 300 online qualifiers in the European Poker Tour's Grand Final Main Event in Monte Carlo, which featured two starting days on Saturday and Sunday. They've joined the hundreds of other players in attendance at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel on the eastern edge of Monaco. Take Joseph Prichard, who calls the UK home and qualified for this year's Main Event not once, but twice. It's his first time playing in Monaco and he got in via a €700 satellite and then again via a €215 qualifier for a total of two packages. "I'm feeling alright right now," Prichard said from Blue Table #1, tucked in the corner on the far side of the tournament room from its entrance. "I thought it'd be fun to play in an EPT event in Monaco." This isn't the UK player's first foray into EPT Main Events, however. He also played in London, where he bubbled after losing with trips over trips. "It's a pretty cool setup here," Prichard said. "It's better than London because all the tournament tables are in one big room." Qualifiers and first-timers from all walks of life have descended upon the French Riviera. It was sunny for most of the day on Saturday before a warm front rolled in on Sunday, when the wind made the Mediterranean look angry. Anthony Harnden, a doctor and professor of primary care at Oxford University in England, was true to form, jokingly concerned about players' Vitamin D levels being precariously low in the black-roofed, black-walled tournament room with a white sandy beach directly outside. "I wish they would open the curtains and open the roof. We could get our Vitamin D levels up." "It's going okay so far," Harnden said. "I'm confident." He qualified for €50 on PokerStars and originally planned on playing in the Grand Final's Seniors Event, which took place on Saturday. However, he saw an online qualifier for the Main Event and decided to give it a shot. "I started at 8:00pm on a Saturday and ended at 3:00am on a Sunday and had to go to work the next day," the professor said. "I was literally playing all day and night and went to work the next day." His students, however, aren't aware of his successes in poker thus far since the topic never comes up. Entering on Day 1A was another online qualifier, Thomas Miller. Despite live mis-clicking in a hand on Day 1A, Miller, who calls the US home, was relaxed. He qualified early on in the process and said, "I was just clicking away and qualified." He's originally from New York City, but plays online in Montreal. He called the decision to head out of the country hard and added that he misses his family and friends back home when he's in Canada grinding. Miller was one of many players singing PokerStars' praises. "EPTs are the best because PokerStars knows how to throw a party," he said. One of the most successful online qualifying stories for the EPT Grand Final Main Event belongs to Ben 'f3nix35' Dobson, who has almost $2 million in career online MTT winnings. Dobson earned his way into the Main Event in Monaco via a €4 hyper-hyper. For doing so, he received a seat into a €200 satellite, which he won for the Monaco package. He essentially qualified for the price of a cup of coffee, or half a Coke in the hotel's restaurant. Dobson, who played on Day 1B, shortened a planned trip to Asia with his wife in order to be in Europe. "My wife was a little mad because we cut our trip to Asia short," Dobson said as he checked his phone from the cup holder's built-in USB charger. "We flew in from Thailand the other day. I would have come here anyway, but I wanted to play the qualifier. I didn't think I'd win." Here are more details on Spin & Go qualifiers who made their way to Monaco:
  16. [caption width="640"] Mike 'timex' McDonald won the EPT Season 12 Player of the Year race by less than a point over Steve 'MrTimCaum' O'Dwyer[/caption] After six festivals across two continents and hundreds of tournaments, the European Poker Tour Season 12 Player of the Year was determined by less than a point. The race literally went down to the very last event at the EPT Grand Final in Monaco. Your winner: Mike 'timex' McDonald, who earned 3,747.38 points, winning the Player of the Year title by a razor-thin 0.96 points over Steve 'MrTimCaum' O'Dwyer, who had 3,746.42. McDonald joins past winners such as Dzmitry Urbanovich, Ole Schemion, and EPT Grand Final Main Event winner Jan Bendik. McDonald had the lead by 184 points entering the EPT Grand Final, but O'Dwyer would not go quietly. He finished ninth in the prestigious €100K Super High Roller to move ahead of McDonald by a point. O'Dwyer continued to roll in high buy-in events, getting 31st in the €25K High Roller to push his lead to over 240 points. "At this stage, McDonald had only managed 45 points for cashing in a €500 No Limit Hyper-Turbo, so O'Dwyer might well have thought he was home and dry," EPT Media Coordinator Mad Harper wrote. "However, those pesky No Limit Turbos on the last day upset the apple cart." O'Dwyer whiffed on each of the No Limit Turbos held at the end of the EPT Grand Final, while McDonald finished seventh in the very last event of the festival, a €10K No Limit Turbo. His reward was almost €34,000, but perhaps more importantly, the Canadian earned 243.20 POY points, which put him ahead of O'Dwyer and sealed the win at the very last second. All told, McDonald cashed twice in Monaco and 18 times over the course of the season, which began last August in Barcelona. He won the EPT Malta High Roller for almost €500,000, his largest cash of the season, and placed fifth in the Barcelona High Roller for another €257,000. Here's how McDonald performed over the course of the season: Grand Final No Limit Hold'em - Turbo Six Max 7th place for €33,990, 243.20 pts Grand Final No Limit Hold'em - Hyper-Turbo 10th place for €1,580, 45.36 pts Dublin No Limit Hold'em Turbo – Six Max 4th place for €18,405, 174.36 pts Dublin EPT Main Event 60th place for €10,270, 193.12 pts Dublin No Limit Hold'em Turbo 5th place for €7,170, 107.39 pts PCA No Limit Hold'em Six Max Turbo 5th place for $23,460, 197.52 pts PCA No Limit Hold'em 23rd place for $3,880, 110.98 pts Prague No Limit Hold'em Deepstack 17th place for €4,105, 121.41 pts Prague No Limit Hold'em – Hyper-Turbo 28th place for €870, 29.52 pts Prague EPT Main Event 139th place for €9,220, 166.78 pts Prague #78 No Limit Hold'em – Hyper-Turbo 7th place for €13,750, 168.11 pts Prague No Limit Hold'em - Eureka High Roller 58th place for €4,570, 143.53 pts Malta EPT Main Event 27th place for €17,840, 263.95 pts Malta No Limit Hold'em - High Roller 1st place for €498,575, 496.65 pts Barcelona No Limit Hold'em - High Roller 12th place for €60,900, 363.58 pts Barcelona EPT Main Event 43rd place for €22,840, 308.28 pts Barcelona No Limit Hold'em - High Roller 5th place for €257,000, 378.94 pts Barcelona No Limit Hold'em - Super High Roller 12th place for €87,900, 234.68 pts [caption width="640"] Steve O'Dwyer finished second in the EPT Season 12 Player of the Year race[/caption] O'Dwyer cashed twice in Monaco and made the money 14 times during Season 12. He won a High Roller event at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas for a blistering $945,000, won the Prague Super High Roller for €746,000, won a High Roller in Malta for €327,000, and finished seventh in the Barcelona Super High Roller for €221,000. Here's how he performed over the course of EPT Season 12: Grand Final No Limit Hold'em - High Roller 31st place for €49,800, 240.75 pts Grand Final No Limit Hold'em - Super High Roller 9th place for €98,480, 231.34 pts Dublin No Limit Hold'em Turbo – Six Max 4th place for €15,860, 170.22 pts Dublin No Limit Hold'em Turbo 2nd place for €17,180, 140.69 pts PCA Main Event 89th place for $10,840, 187.62 pts PCA No Limit Hold'em - High Roller 1st place for $945,495, 525.28 pts Prague No Limit Hold'em - High Roller 11th place for €49,000, 237.84 pts Prague No Limit Hold'em - Super High Roller 1st place for €746,543, 458.95 pts Malta No Limit Hold'em Turbo Bounty 6th place for €8,750, 180.15 pts Malta EPT Main Event 57th place for €10,580, 201.98 pts Malta No Limit Hold'em - High Roller 1st place for €327,030, 471.34 pts Malta No Limit Hold'em IPT High Roller 43rd place for €3,835, 126.96 pts Barcelona No Limit Hold'em - High Roller 12th place for €63,300, 274.00 pts Barcelona No Limit Hold'em - Super High Roller 7th place for €221,000, 299.29 pts Final Top 10 EPT POY Standings Mike McDonald: 3,747.38 points Steve O'Dwyer: 3,746.42 points Ivan Luca: 3,097.93 points Adrian Mateos: 2,901.41 points Georgios Zisimopoulos: 2,803.04 points Isaac Haxton: 2,712.51 points Fedor Holz: 2,552.36 points Ole Schemion: 2,528.04 points Joao Vieira: 2,485.89 points Daniel Dvoress: 2,436.29 points
  17. [caption width="640"] EPT President Edgar Stuchly joined the tour in 2011[/caption] The European Poker Tour just wrapped up its 12th season. While it may seem like a relatively simple endeavor to put on six festivals, it's anything but. With an array of languages, local laws, customs, and player demands, running the EPT is a full-time job. The man who fills those shoes: EPT President Edgar Stuchly. Season 12 ended in luxurious and picturesque Monaco, home of the EPT Grand Final, which had a Main Event that saw its buy-in slashed from €10,600 to €5,300. The result: the Main Event's attendance hit almost 1,100 entries, almost doubling last season's count. "We made the decision to reduce the buy-ins of the Main Events at the PCA and Grand Final from €10K to €$5K," Stuchly said. "It's always a clear goal to make the Main Event more accessible for all of the recreational players and to qualify more people for it." There were over 300 Main Event qualifiers this year, a record for an EPT event, and many of the pros said the field was uncharacteristically soft as a result. One player who made the final table, Asan Umarov, won his way in via a €10 Spin & Go and cashed for a 3,000,000% ROI. When the EPT announced that the buy-ins of the PCA Main Event and Grand Final Main Event would be halved, it seemed questionable whether the move would be permanent. Using simple supply and demand, a lower buy-in would bring in more players, but would the tournament stops and the prestige of the EPT suffer as a result? "We have announced stops in 2016 that have a €5,300 Main Event buy-in already," Stuchly said. "We agreed that we would debrief the results and look at how the PCA and Grand Final played out before we made any more decisions. We haven't made a final decision at this point for next year, but if you look at the numbers, it makes a lot of sense, especially in Monaco, where it played out with a 97% increase in participation. At this point, it looks like we'll keep the buy-in at €5,300 for our Main Events." During the EPT Grand Final in Monaco, the dates for EPT Barcelona, Malta, and Prague were announced, the first three stops of Season 13, which begins in August. Still to come are the dates for more events in 2017. "We analyze everything," Stuchly said of the schedule-making process. "There are core boxes to tick, and if those boxes aren't ticked, we don't go to a certain place. Those main elements need to fit into the overall experience – that's not something we choose; it's what the players expect from us. If we can't tick them due to things like venue, compliance, laws, and capacity, we won't go somewhere." "It's not just tournaments either," said the EPT President. "It's also cash games. We have the lowest rake and provide the greatest experience. That's what we want to deliver. Of course we want to be balanced with costs, but we definitely do not want to enter into agreements with venues where players say we shouldn't have gone." Stuchly has been with PokerStars since 2011. Prior to that, he had 19 years of casino experience at Casinos Austria in his home country. He has the accent of Arnold Schwarzenegger and a swagger that screams confidence. He's come a long way since starting with Casinos Austria as a dealer. [caption width="640"] Stuchly became a poker dealer in 1992[/caption] "When I joined as a dealer in 1992, I was super interested in poker," he said. "I was playing home games with my friends. Then, we started introducing poker and I pretty much built poker in those 12 Casinos Austria venues. That went well and I was promoted to take care of poker in all 12 casinos in the five years before I joined PokerStars." Stuchly became part of the EPT family five years ago. Its media team has been around for many years, and its Media Coordinator, Mad Harper, has been with the tour since Season 1. You'll see plenty of repeat dealers, floor directors, and cashiers. It's like Thanksgiving, but six times a year. As such, the EPT sports stability in its staff that's virtually unheard of in a highly volatile industry like poker. "It's super important to have a strong team," Stuchly said. "I'm proud of what we've achieved, but it's a team effort. Players know what we have to deal with. Getting a bottle of water or WiFi for one person is a very easy exercise, but if you have 5,500 unique customers in Barcelona, for example, and everyone wants it 10 times a day in 20 different places, then it's a little more challenging. Our events are on a size where they are a huge challenge." Monaco, for example, featured a cavernous tournament room, a smaller cash game room, an upstairs media room, a downstairs staff prep area, and a stage where EPT Live made its home. When the internet went out in the media and player areas for a half-hour on the final day, it was as if the Apocalypse had occurred. "Everything plays together: PR, marketing, social media, photographers, an online qualifying process, compliance, partnerships with casinos, and dealers," Stuchly added. "Selecting the best 250 dealers in the world to work at EPT Prague, for example, was very challenging. It's a big project, but we have very strong teams in all the different areas." Monaco has specific labor laws the EPT needs to comply with. It also has strict gaming laws, ones that EPT officials helped craft in order to host the series in the two-square-mile cliff-side principality. Bringing in hundreds of dealers from places like the US, France, and UK is a monumental task, one that involves a web of work visas, housing, and travel, not to mention coordination in multiple languages and time zones. Once the series heads to Barcelona in August, the preparation that went into Monaco is out the window. It's a new set of gaming requirements, labor laws, and fiber-optic cables to wade through. Add production of hundreds of hours of television content seen by millions of people and it seems almost impossible that each stop runs as smoothly as it does. The EPT Grand Final featured a €100,000 Super High Roller, a €10,300 Single Entry High Roller, a €50,000 Single Day High Roller (which ironically took two days to complete), and a €25,575 EPT High Roller. There were 80 events in total spread out over two weeks, leaving Stuchly to explain that the EPT tries to offer a variety of cash games and tournaments in order to attract and retain the masses. "We want to have a broad variety, the right tournament for every single bankroll and every single customer," he said in a thick Austrian accent. "Regardless of whether it's a €100K or a €100 player, those are our customers. If a €100 customer comes to an event for the first time, he's blown away, and we want to deliver a great experience to that guy." "For the high rollers, we want to deliver a great experience on a similar level," he said. "They might be more used to the great destinations, so we try to focus more on poker for them and provide them with great service. We want to have all of those guys in one place. That's what makes the EPT what the EPT is today." Stuchly reiterated that the diversity the EPT provides in terms of both buy-ins and game mix is unlike any other tour in existence. "Looking at the schedules we are providing, the variance is really cool. On one day in Monaco, we had normal tournaments, the Main Event, a No Limit Hold'em Turbo, an Omaha Six-Handed event, Open-Face Chinese, a media tournament, and a Turbo Progressive Super Knockout Bounty, which was incredible and the players loved it." The backdrop of every event is dramatic as well. In Monaco, the tournament area overlooked the crystal blue Mediterranean Sea. Casino Barcelona in Spain is on the same body of water right next to the beach, port, zoo, and aquarium. Add in unique and historic destinations like the island of Malta and the architecturally-rich city of Prague and you have a distinct experience in each location. "Seeing celebrities, seeing our team pros, and hanging out with friends in a nice, safe, and secure area, that's what we understand to be a great experience," Stuchly, dressed in a casual but sophisticated-looking suit, said. "We will continue to work in that direction and always focus on innovation, fun, and making things better than they are." Long-term, the EPT is working on several initiatives, including going paperless. "One of the things we'd like to do long-term is go paperless," Stuchly said. "We tested it in Monaco. We have PSLive cards. Players can register online, but can also load money onto the card so they can buy in with that. We're looking into being able to do it for cash games too. We tested kiosks where you can register online and you can go to the kiosk and print your tournament ticket. At the end of the day, we want everything on mobile, which is a challenge. It's less stress for the staff and it's smoother for the players." Season 13 of the European Poker Tour begins August 16 in Barcelona, Spain.
  18. [caption width="640"] The European Poker Tour has launched the careers of some of the biggest and brightest stars in the game today (PokerStars photos)[/caption] Many of the world's best poker players are packed into a hotel in Prague right now, and the excitement in the air is irrefutable. You might say this is always the case when a big live tournament is about to take place, but this buzz is unique: EPT13 Prague is the last ever European Poker Tour festival, and will crown the final EPT champion before the series is re-branded. From January, the events will now be known as PokerStars Championships, and they won’t be limited to European soil, starting with thePokerStars Championship Bahamas (formerly PCA) on January 6, 2017. The EPT will always hold a special place in the hearts of many players, and winning one has catapulted dozens of careers. To mark the official end of the EPT, we’ve hand-picked ten of the biggest breakout stars of the EPT over the past 13 seasons. We start with five players who made a name for themselves in the early years of the Tour. Patrik AntoniusIt feels strange to kick off a list of breakout tournament stars with a man known primarily as a live and online cash game player, but there’s no denying that Patrik Antonius’ win back at the EPT2 Baden Classic in 2005 for €288,180 was the first introduction to the Fin for many. Antonius’ career post-EPT win is well documented; he’s played in the largest cash games around the world, including on sorely-missed TV shows High Stakes Poker and Poker After Dark, not to mention playing in many of the biggest online pots in history. Mike McDonaldThe Mike McDonald of EPT4 Dortmund is barely recognizable compared to the McDonald of today. When the man known as Timex won the event back in 2008 for €933,600, he was a rake-thin 18-year-old with a clear talent for the game, both live and online. Fast forward eight and a half years and McDonald is now considered one of tournament poker’s best, with more than $13 million in live earnings and an additional $3.1 million won online. As well as his many high roller results, Timex almost became a two-time EPT champ in January 2014 when he finished runner-up at the PCA, and he recently took down the first ever GPL Finals as part of the Montreal Nationals. Bertrand ‘ElkY' GrospellierAlready a celebrity in the gaming world (particularly in South Korea where he lived, worked, and played prior to his breakout poker success), ElkY burst onto the poker scene with his bright hair and big personality back in 2008. Having previously finished second at EPT3 Copenhagen, the Frenchman took down a massive $2 million when he won the 2008 PCA, and that led to a string of impressive results. In October 2008 he won a WPT for $1.41 million, followed by a $25K High Roller victory at the PCA a year after his win for $433,500. By this point ElkY was a dominant force in tournament poker, securing him a spot on Team PokerStars Pro which he holds to this day. He’d cement his legacy with two wins at EPT7 Madrid; one in the $25K High Roller for $779,221, and another in a $10K Turbo High Roller for $227,087. Liv BoereeIt would be impossible to create a list of EPT “stars” and not include Liv Boeree. She’s become one of the most popular and heavily marketed faces in all of poker, primarily due to her sponsorship deal with PokerStars. But Boeree can certainly play; she’d already racked up 23 live cashes before her breakout win at EPT6 San Remo in 2010 for $1.698 million. Since then Boeree has notched up a string of EPT main event cashes, as well as almost clinching a UKIPT title (2nd for $97,057) and finishing third in a $25K High Roller at EPT12 Barcelona for $449,383. She’s no slouch on the online felt either, with almost $600,000 in earnings. Jason MercierIt’s pretty impressive when you scroll down to the bottom a player’s Hendon Mob page and see that their first ever live cash was an EPT win. That’s the case for Jason Mercier, who took down EPT4 San Remo in 2008 for $1.37 million. Of course, Mercier was already known as an online grinder prior to that, and he’s since gone on to become one of the most esteemed and established players in all areas of poker. Five WSOP bracelets and a WSOP Player of the Year title; seven COOP titles (including three SCOOP wins in one year); win after win; final table after final table; deep run after deep run; to list all of Mercier’s accomplishments would take too long. Look for Part 2 of this piece on Thursday, which will focus on players who found fame and fortune from 2011-2016.
  19. [caption width="640"] William Kassouf took down a big birthday payday (Image c/o PokerStars)[/caption] William Kassouf decided to celebrate his birthday, well, like a boss. The British poker pro took down the last-ever European Poker Tour High Roller Event after a heads-up deal with Patrick Serda. Kassouf put his table talk to good use, negotiating a heads-up chop where he took home a little over €530,000 but got the trophy and the winner photo in addition to credit as the winner. Patrick Serda took home €719,000 for second place. He may have wheeled and dealed his way to the win once it got to heads-up, but Kassouf certainly played a ton of poker to earn the win. The €10,300 buy-in High Roller drew a record-setting field of 407, resulting in an almost €4 million prize pool. When play began on the third and final day of the event, 24 players remained and Kassouf was near the bottom of the counts. He doubled up more than once to survive in the early goings. By the time the final table rolled around, Kassouf was one of the big stacks at the table. At the final table, Kassouf and Serda battled back and forth for the honor of big stack. Serda surpassed Kassouf when he eliminated Jens Lakemeier in eighth place. Lakemeier shoved all-in on the river of an [poker card="ac"][poker card="6d"][poker card="4d"][poker card="tc"][poker card="9s"] board and Serda called with [poker card="ad"][poker card="td"] for aces up and Lakemeier could only show a small pair and a busted draw. Kassouf took a chunk out of Serda, but Serda clawed back in contention when he eliminated Grzegorz Wyraz in sixth place, calling Wyraz’s all-in preflop shove holding [poker card="as"][poker card="7h"] to Wyraz’s [poker card="5c"][poker card="6c"]. Serda continued to plow through the competition, calling Paul Leckey’s three-bet shove with [poker card="as"][poker card="qc"] to Leckey’s [poker card="ah"][poker card="3s"]. His superior ace held up and the field was down to four with Serda way out front with more than double his next closest competitor, Kassouf. That lead got bigger after Viliyan Petleshkov was eliminated in fourth place. He ran pocket deuces into Serda’s pocket eights to exit. Serda was up to 13 million after that and picked up his fourth KO of the final table. With three players remaining, talks of a chop began, but Tue Ullerup Hansen wasn’t swayed by the ICM numbers and declined, willing to take his 3 million and change up against Serda’s 14 million and Kassouf’s 2.5 million. Kassouf doubled through Ullerup Hansen to get him rather short, but Serda was the one to finish him off. Serda shoved on the button with [poker card="qs"][poker card="7c"] and Ullerup Hansen called holding [poker card="ah"][poker card="jh"]. Serda hit a queen on the [poker card="qc"][poker card="6d"][poker card="5h"][poker card="tc"][poker card="3s"] board to take the action to heads-up. Outchipped by more than a 4:1 margin, Kassouf opted to take less money than an ICM chop would pay and take the winner photo to finish out the last High Roller event in EPT history. Here are the final table results from the EPT Prague High Roller William Kassouf - €532,500* Patrick Serda - €719,000* Tue Ullerup Hansen - €351,000 Viliyan Petleshkov - €283,850 Paul Leckey - €224,600 Grzegorz Wyraz - €172,910 Matas Cimbolas - €128,700 Jens Lakemeier - €93,170 * denotes a heads-up deal
  20. [caption width="640"] PokerStars has made major changes to its live tournament offering[/caption] The European Poker Tour is going global and at the same time, ceasing to exist altogether. PokerStars announced sweeping changes to its live poker offering on Wednesday that sees the EPT-experience expanding beyond European borders with a new name: PokerStars Live. Live events under the PokerStars banner now fall into one of two categories; the PokerStars Championship and the PokerStars Festival. Championship events, which will look and feel much like the EPT events have for the past few years, will include up to 100 tournaments in cities like Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, Macau and Panama. The Main Event at each stop will be a €/$5,000 buy-in. Festival events will be much smaller in size and will last up to a week and will culminate in a Main Event buy-in of between $1,000-$1,500. Only two stops are confirmed so far, one on each side of the Atlantic. London, England is one confirmed stop with the other set to make American players happy as PokerStars brings its live tournament experience back to American soil with a Festival event scheduled for Resorts Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey October 31 - November 6. “We are committed to growing the poker market in New Jersey and part of this strategy is to help make New Jersey the poker hub of America in November,” said Eric Hollreiser, PokerStars’ Director of Corporate Communications. “We invite players from across the globe to pitch up in the Garden State for the best live poker experience available in the world, live and online, with the first ever NJCOOP kicking off ahead of the Festival with plenty of tournaments on offer and big prizes.” The initial schedule for PokerStars Festival New Jersey includes an $1,100 buy-in Main Event, $2,200 High Roller and a special Run It Up event featuring Jason Somerville and a number of former Survivor contestants. Along with Somerville, fellow Team PokerStars Pros Daniel Negreanu, Barry Greenstein, Jason Mercier, Chris Moneymaker and Vanessa Selbst are also scheduled to be in Atlantic City. While the New Jersey Festival is the first event under the PokerStars Live banner, the official kick off comes in January with PokerStars Championship Bahamas, formerly the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. That event runs January 6 - 14. “We are always thinking of how to bring the best experience to players, through the variety of tournaments we sponsor, the ease of finding information, how we communicate to players and media, and the overall experience on and off the felt," said Edgar Stuchly, PokerStars’ Director of Live Events. "The PokerStars Championship and PokerStars Festival events are an enhancement of the existing PokerStars sponsored live tours, helping to take our vision for live poker to a whole new level." PokerStars will offer extensive online qualifying options for both Championship and Festival events including the popular Spin-N-Go qualifiers that can get players into Championship level events for as little as €10. The new tour also comes with a revamped Player of the Year system. Each Championship stop will have a standalone leaderboard that awards the winner a VIP package with accommodation and a Championship Main Event buy-in for the first Championship event the following year as well as entry into an invite-only $100,000 winner-take-all tournament. The final EPT-branded event takes place in December in Prague.
  21. [caption width="640"] Fedor Holz won his sixth title of 2016 taking down the EPT Barcelona Super High Roller (Photo courtesy PokerStars/Neil Stoddart)[/caption] Just a month ago Fedor Holz, fresh off of winning the first World Series of Poker bracelet of his career, told the world he was retiring from poker. He had already made plans to play the first European Poker Tour event of Season 13 in Barcelona, but after that he was going to take an extended break from poker and then only play recreationally. Seems like waiting until after EPT Barcelona was the right call. On Monday Holz beat out Sam Greenwood heads up to win the EPT Barcelona €50,000 Super High Roller and €1,300,300 ($1,471,000 US). It’s his fifth win since June and sixth of 2016 overall. He now has $19,968,302 in lifetime earnings. The final table included some of the best players in the world and it was one of the best High Roller players of all time who was the first final table casualty on just the fifth hand of play. Ahadpur Khangah limped from early position, Erik Seidel moved all in from the button for 860,000 before Greenwood re-shoved from the small blind for 1,250,000 and Julian Stuer moved all in over the top of everybody for 2,140,000. Khangah called and the four players table their hands. Khangah had [poker card="as"][poker card="5s"], Seidel had [poker card="9c"][poker card="9s"], Greenwood [poker card="kh"][poker card="ks"] and Stuer was stuck in the middle with [poker card="td"][poker card="ts"]. The board ran out [poker card="qs"][poker card="jh"][poker card="4h"][poker card="js"][poker card="2h"] and Seidel was eliminated in ninth place while Stuer was left short stacked and Greenwood more than tripled up. Stuer managed to last another 45 minutes before he saw his tournament end with a eighth place finish with Greenwood being the beneficiary yet again. Action folded to Greenwood in the small blind and he moved all in. Stuer called from the big blind for 535,000 and tabled [poker card="qs"][poker card="2c"] while Greenwood showed [poker card="ks"][poker card="8s"]. The [poker card="ah"][poker card="qd"][poker card="js"] flop put Stuer ahead but only temporarily as even though the [poker card="6s"] turn was a blank, the [poker card="kd"] river gave Greenwood a bigger pair. Greenwood picked up his third elimination of the day just 20 minutes later. The Canadian poker pro raised to 250,000 from UTG, Daniel Dvoress, seated directly on Greenwood’s left, moved all in for 1,640,000. Action folded back to Greenwood and he called. Dvoress showed [poker card="8d"][poker card="8h"] but found out he was trailing Greenwood’s [poker card="td"][poker card="th"]. The board ran out [poker card="qh"][poker card="9h"][poker card="4d"][poker card="5c"][poker card="5d"] and Dvoress was eliminated in seventh while Greenwood took over the chip lead. Just three hands later Holz stopped the Greenwood Express, picking up his first elimination of the final table. Holz raised to 225,000 from UTG. Everybody folded to Sylvain Loosli in the big blind and he moved all in for 2,000,000 and Holz called. Loosli, who won this event last year, had [poker card="8h"][poker card="8s"] and was racing against Holz’s [poker card="ac"][poker card="kd"]. The [poker card="as"][poker card="qh"][poker card="2h"] flop put Holz ahead and he stayed there through the [poker card="7s"] turn and [poker card="th"] river, sending Loosli out in sixth. Greenwood got busy again 30 minutes later when action folded to him in the small blind and he moved all in. Khangah called all in from the big blind for 1,120,000. Greenwood was ahead with [poker card="as"][poker card="7h"] to Khangah’s [poker card="kd"][poker card="jd"]. The [poker card="jc"][poker card="tc"][poker card="4c"] flop gave Khangah the lead but only temporarily as the [poker card="ah"] turn gave Greenwood top pair and the [poker card="8c"] was a blank, sending Khangah home in fifth place and giving Greenwood his fourth elimination of the day. Alexandros Koloniaswas the next to fall. Timothy Adams raised to 300,000 from UTG, Kolonias moved all in for 2,175,000 from the button before Fedor Holz came over the top all in, forcing Adams to fold. Kolonias happily tabled [poker card="kc"][poker card="kd"] and was ahead after Holz turned over [poker card="9c"][poker card="9d"]. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="9s"][poker card="8d"] flop changed everything though as Holz improved to a set. The [poker card="4d"] turn and [poker card="4h"] river gave Holz a full house and meant the end of the line for Kolonias in fourth place. Holz, Greenwood and Adams played three-handed for a little over an hour a Canadian-on-Canadian encounter ended the run for one of them. Greenwood raised from the button to 400,000, Holz folded his small blind and Adams moved all in from the big blind for 5,315,000. Greenwood called and turned over [poker card="ac"][poker card="kc"] while his fellow Canadian showed [poker card="2c"][poker card="2d"]. The [poker card="ks"][poker card="qd"][poker card="5c"] flop put Greenwood in front and after the [poker card="qs"] turn and [poker card="ts"] river, Adams was out in third place with Greenwood and Holz nearly tied in chips. Despite starting with nearly identical stacks, Holz quickly pulled away from Greenwood and on the 16th hand of heads up play secured the win. Greenwood moved all in from the button and Holz called. Greenwood got bad news after turning over his [poker card="6h"][poker card="5h"] when Holz showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="kh"]. The flop came [poker card="kc"][poker card="9d"][poker card="7c"] to give Holz top pair and Greenwood a gutshot. The [poker card="4c"] turn turned Greenwood’s gutshot into an open-ender but the [poker card="qd"] river was no help and Greenwood was eliminated, leaving Holz to celebrate his recent retirement with a seven-figure score. My first tournament win as a recreational!
  22. [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
  23. [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.
  24. [caption width="640"] The EPT wraps up its 13th season this week (Image c/o PokerStars)[/caption] It is hard to believe thirteen seasons of the European Poker Tour have passed. It is harder to believe the tour is no longer going to exist. Thankfully for the European poker scene, the newly created PokerStars Festival series will continue to deliver poker to the masses, just under a different moniker. With the EPT wrapping up its final season in Prague this week, we decided to look back at the highlights of more than a decade of tournaments in this edition of Number Crunch: 1 – Number of two-time EPT champions. It took until the tail end of Season 10 to crown the first two-time champion. Victoria Coren won EPT London in Season 3 and in seven seasons later took down EPT San Remo to become the first and, to date, only repeat winner. By contrast, the World Poker Tour had two repeat winners the first season it was on tour. 7 – Number of final tables for Luca Pagano, the all-time leader in that category of EPT stats. Pagano has not made a final table on the tour since 2012, he was one of the original big names on the EPT, final tabling the very first EPT event in Barcelona in 2005. In 2009, Pagano final tabled three EPT Main Events. He has also finished in-the-money of 21 EPT Main Events. 23 – Number of different cities which have hosted an EPT over the years. Only Barcelona has been a stop on all 13 of the seasons, while others like Loutraki were one-and-done stops. Germany is the most popular country for the tour with Baden, Dortmund, and Berlin all playing host to events. 23 - Number of Super High Roller events in EPT history. First introduced at Season 7’s PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, the tour slowly added them to the largest stops on the tour with $50,000 and $100,000 buy-in price points (the exact amounts vary slightly based on the local currency). The list of champions reads like a who’s who of the poker circuit, but Steve O’Dwyer leads the pack with three separate Super High Roller titles. 27 – Number of countries which can lay claim to an EPT Champion. They come from every continent, save Antarctica and Australia. Champs have come from surprising places like Iran and Venezuela. The most successful countries are Great Britain and the United States. Both countries have 17 EPT titles to their credit, but you might consider giving a slight edge to the States, as John Juanda is credited as Indonesian, but has lived in the States since he was 19. 76 – Number of months Ibrahim Al Mousa was sentenced to prison for his role as the mastermind behind the 2010 EPT Berlin robbery. Al Mousa and four other men stormed the tournament area of the EPT Berlin Main Event brandishing guns and machetes. Scary, yes, but thankfully no one was hurt in the altercation. Eventually the tournament staff managed to reconstruct the tournament and play down to a winner. Kevin 'ImALuckSac' MacPhee won the tournament, but admitted in interviews he would have rather they did not play it out after the crime. 216 – Number of times EPT Live host Joe Stapleton estimates he and fellow host James Hartigan have sung their popular line “Everyone loves a chop pot!” The duo have worked together for the livestream and televised episodes of the tour for six years and have a number of running gags that have won over fans from all over the world. 1,785 – Number of entries in the largest-field EPT Main Event in history. That tournament, Season 13’s EPT Barcelona Main Event, featured a €5,300 buy-in and generated a prize pool in excess of €8.6 million. A hefty €1.1 million went to eventual champ Sebastian Malec of Poland, who bested the record field to take down the last-ever EPT Barcelona Main Event. 9,314,495– Dollars won by the EPT’s number-one earner Steve O'Dwyer. The American pro is $2.5 million ahead of his next-closest competitor, Ole Schemion. It is hard to single out just one accomplishment on O’Dwyer’s extensive EPT resume, but his biggest win is probably from Season 9, where he took down the Grand Final Main Event in Monaco for over $1.6 million. He actually earned more money for defeating a smaller field in the 2015 PCA Super High Roller for over $1.8 million in 2015 though. He has won two Super High Roller events, also taking down the one in Prague in Season 12. He has also final tabled the EPT London Main Event twice. Like we said, it is tough to pick just one accomplishment for this guy. 15,132,000 – Largest single prize pool in EPT history. Thanks to a turnout of 1,560 runners in Season 7’s PCA Main Event, the tour generated the eight-figure prize pool. While other events have generated bigger fields, the $10,000 buy-in resulted in a record-breaking sum. A cool $2.3 million went to winner Galen Hall, but the top four spots all netted seven-figure paydays.
  25. [caption width="640"] Over the course of the next year PokerStars will give away million worth of seats to the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold'em Championship[/caption] One year ago, PokerStars officially said goodbye to the the beloved European Poker Tour as part of its global rebranding as PokerStars Live, but on Friday afternoon the online poker giant announced the EPT was coming back - but that's not all. The company also announced the creation of the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold'em Championship, a $25,000 buy-in event set for the 2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Over the course of the next year, PokerStars will give away an estimated $8,000,000 worth of "Platinum Passes" through promotions at live events and through the online product. Each Platinum Pass is worth roughly $30,000 and includes tournament buy-in and travel to the 2019 PCA. “We expect the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship will set the new global standard for live poker tournaments,” said Chief Executive Officer of The Stars Group, Rafi Ashkenazi. “We want to demonstrate and reinforce our commitment to the game, and give something back to the players by investing in our live events in a meaningful way. Our objective is to create an event that brings professionals and amateurs together, creating many winning moments and unforgettable stories.” PokerStars is also adding $1 million to the first place prize. Players can also buy-in to the event directly for $25,000. The first Platinum Pass was awarded as part of the announcement. Mihai Manole, one of two players to bust on the bubble of the PSC Prague Main Event, won his pass after winning a single hand against Andrzej Siemieniak. At least one Platinum Pass will be given away at each PokerStars live festival over the next year. “I’m super excited about the Players No Limit Hold’em Championship,” said Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu. “This is going to be an incredible experience for those who participate and everyone, no matter their skill level, has a chance to win a Platinum Pass. It will be a must play event with loads of added value.” Passes can be won online in tournaments, cash games, promotions and through the Stars Rewards program. The first online winners will come from the upcoming PokerStars Winter Series from December 25 - January 7. The EPT isn't the only brand coming back. PokerStars announced the return of the Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT) and Asia-Pacific Poker Tour (APT) for 2018. The move means the end of the PokerStars Championship tour.

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