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  1. Originally scheduled to take place in August, the 2020 PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC) has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The announcement was made by PokerStars on Friday, May 22, 2020. Last update: Friday, May 22, 2020 Where and When Is the PSPC 2020? PSPC 2020 was scheduled to take place at Casino Barcelona from August 20-24, 2020, during the European Poker Tour Barcelona time slot. The event has been postponed until 2021, as has EPT Barcelona. No exact dates have been issued, but the event is still planned to take place in Barcelona, Spain. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="888poker"][ptable zone="PokerStars NJ"] How Much Does It Cost To Enter PSPC? The PSPC buy-in is priced at €22,500, which is approximately $25,000 and very much equivalent to the price tag that came with the first PSPC that was held at the 2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure festival. As was done for the first PSPC, PokerStars will be hosting many different ways for players to win their way to PSPC for less than €22,500, including bringing back the popular Platinum Pass promotion. What Is a Platinum Pass? With the return of the PSPC comes the return of PokerStars’ Platinum Pass promotion that will award packages to the event. Platinum Passes are tickets to PSPC that can be won by players around the world through various promotions. Each pass is valued at €26,000 (approximately $30,000) and includes more than just the buy-in to the event. For PSPC, a Platinum Pass includes the following: €22,500 buy-in to PSPC (originally scheduled for 2020 but pushed to 2021) Six nights’ hotel accommodation in a five-star hotel Airport transfers PSPC Merchandise €1,250 for expenses Platinum Pass winner experiences during the event How To Win a Platinum Pass Platinum Passes will be given out in numerous ways. If you’re not looking to spend the €22,500 (approx. $25,000) to buy one, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get your hands on one for much cheaper or even for free. Players have chances to win Platinum Passes through PokerStars' live events, special promotions and contests on social media, Twitch promotions, playing on PokerStars, and more. As we saw with the first PSPC, PokerStars is more than willing to get creative with how it awards Platinum Passes. How Many Platinum Pass Winners Are There? At the time of the announcement to postpone, nearly 200 Platinum Passes had been given out, with the goal to award 320 of them. Those that have already secured a Platinum Pass can use it for the 2021 event. Additionally, PokerStars is upping the allotment of Platinum Passes by 80, pushing the total to 400 Platinum Passes to be awarded. What About New Jersey and Pennsylvania? PokerStars has activity in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In New Jersey, the site launched in March 2016 and has been going strong ever since. Platinum Passes were given out in the Garden State for the first edition of PSPC through PokerStarsNJ.com, and that will likely be the case for future PSPC festivals. The same goes for Pennsylvania. Although PokerStars PA was not operational to award Platinum Passes to online poker players in the Keystone State for the first-ever PSPC, PokerStars PA is running now and will likely award Platinum Passes for the next PSPC. It also wouldn't be out of the question to see a Moneymaker's Road To PSPC stop appear in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Moneymaker regularly makes his way to regulated states to play some of the bigger online series that PokerStars hosts, and we all know how successful the first run of the Moneymaker-PSPC promotion was. What Other Events Are Part of the PSPC Festival? The €22,500 buy-in PSPC event wasn't the only tournament planned as part of the highly anticipated Barcelona festival. In fact, it's PSPC that is part of the greater EPT Barcelona schedule. EPT Barcelona €1,100 National Event EPT Barcelona €100,000 Super High Roller EPT Barcelona €5,300 Main Event Those are just three of the big events that were scheduled to take place as part of the EPT Barcelona festival. Although EPT Barcelona has also been postponed until 2021, we can expect to see the same sort of schedule in 2021, where there are EPT Barcelona events all around PSPC to create an enormous festival. To give you an idea of how successful EPT Barcelona has been, let's take a look at the last editions of those three events that were mentioned. The EPT Barcelona €1,100 National Event enjoyed record-breaking success in 2019, attracting a field of 4,682 entries and generating a prize pool north of €4.5 million. Markku 'markovitsus' Koplimaa, who won the PocketFives July 2019 PLB title, emerged victorious in the event for €585,500. The popular EPT Barcelona €100,000 Super High Roller always seems to attract poker’s best of the best and it’s enormous six-figure buy-in always lends itself to huge scores. In 2019, it was Sergi Reixach taking this event's title and first-place prize of €1.816 million. The event drew 64 entries. The EPT Barcelona €5,300 Main Event is always one that is not to be missed, and in 2019 it attracted a giant field of 1,988 entries to become the largest European Poker Tour main event in history. Sweden's Simon Brandstrom took top honors and the €1.253 million top prize. PSPC History PSPC in Barcelona will be the second-ever PokerStars Players Championship. The first was held as part of the 2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure festival. It had a $25,000 buy-in and became the largest $25,000 buy-in tournament of all time. The tournament attracted 1,039 entries and generated a $26.455 million prize pool. Included in the field were 320 Platinum Pass winners. One of those Platinum Pass winners was Spain's Ramon Colillas and he went on to beat WSOP bracelet winner Julien Martini to become the first-ever PSPC champion. For the win, Colillas won an incredible $5.1 million in prize money. Martini took $2.974 million for second place, with notables Scott Baumstein (4th - $1.657 million), Farid Jattin (7th - $746,000), and Talal Shakerchi (8th - $509,000) also reaching the final table.
  2. PokerStars has announced a bevy of live events for 2020, including three European Poker Tour stops and plenty of opportunities to win a Platinum Pass to compete in the PokerStars Players Championship. Here's a look at what PokerStars has on offer in 2020 for live events. Red Dragon Manila: January 4-11 Road To PSPC Barcelona (Spain): January 13-19 Road To PSPC La Havre (France): January 15-19 BSOP Brasilia: January 30-February 4 Road To PSPC St Amand (France): February: 11-16 Road To PSPC Valencia (Spain): March 2-8 Okada Manila Millions: March 9-15 Road To PSPC La Grand Motte (France): March 10-15 BSOP Sao Paulo: March 19-24 EPT Sochi: March 20-29 Road To PSPC Madrid Gran Via (Spain): March 31-April 5 EPT Monte Carlo: April 23-May 2 Manila MegaStack 14: May 22-31 Road To PSPC Cannes (France): June 10-14 Road To PSPC Madrid Torreldones (Spain): July 1-5 Manila Super Series 14: July 6-12 APPT Manila 2020: July 31-August 9 EPT Barcelona: August 12-30 Manila Super Series 15: September: 22-28 Manila MegaStack Challenge: December 6-13 [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="888poker"][ptable zone="PokerStars NJ"] The European Poker Tour plans to head to Sochi, Monte Carlo, and Barcelona in 2020. Sochi is the first stop of the three, scheduled for March 20-29. Monte Carlo is slotted to take place April 23-May 2, and then Barcelona, which includes the highly anticipated PSPC event, is slated for August 12-30. EPT Sochi: March 20-29 EPT Sochi takes place at Casino Sochi in Russia. This stop has 25 events on the schedule, including the EPT Sochi Main Event running March 24-29. The EPT Sochi Main Event has a buy-in of RUB 175,000 (approx. €2,500 or $2,850) and a prize pool guarantee of RUB 122.5 million (approx. €1.8 million or $2 million). The 2019 EPT Sochi Main Event was won by Israel's Uri Gilboa. He topped a field of 758 entries to win RUB 27.475 million (approx. $412,000). The biggest buy-in on the EPT Sochi schedule is the RUB 371,000 (approx. €5,500 or $6,050) High Roller that is scheduled for March 27-29. EPT Monte Carlo: April 23-May 2 EPT Monte Carlo comes to us from Sporting Monte-Carlo in Monaco. The full schedule was not yet released at time of writing, but we do know dates for the French National Championship, Super High Roller, and EPT Monte Carlo Main Event. The French National Championship has a buy-in of €1,100 and takes place April 24-27. The Super High Roller has a buy-in of €100,000 and runs April 25-27. The EPT Monte Carlo Main Event has a buy-in of €5,300 and runs April 27-May 2. In 2019, it was Manig Loeser topping the field in the EPT Monte Carlo Main Event. He finished in first place from 922 entries to win the event's €603,777 first-place prize. Stefano Schiano won the French National Championship for €209,000, and Sergio Aido won the €100,000 Super High Roller for €1.589 million. EPT Barcelona: August 12-30 Taking place at Casino Barcelona in Spain in August is EPT Barcelona. This is always a very popular festival with a ton of events on offer. Although the full schedule was yet to be released at time or writing, we do have the dates for a few of the biggest and best tournaments on the EPT Barcelona schedule. The EPT Barcelona National Event runs August 13-17 and has a buy-in of €1,100. The Super High Roller runs August 17-19 with a buy-in of €100,000. The PSPC takes place August 20-24 and has a buy-in of €22,500. The EPT Barcelona Main Event has a buy-in of €5,300 and runs August 24-30. Last year's EPT Barcelona Main Event proved the largest EPT Main Event ever, attracting 1,988 entries. Sweden's Simon Brandstrom won the event for what was €1.29 million after a heads-up deal was made. The 2019 EPT Barcelona National Event was won by Markku 'markovitsus' Koplimaa, winner of the PocketFives July 2019 PLB title. He topped the field of 4,682 entries to win the event for €585,500. In the €100,000 Super High Roller, Sergi Reixach was victorious for €1.816 million. PokerStars Stops in Asia and Brazil PokerStars announced seven stops in Asia. The Red Dragon Manila runs January 4-11 and has PHP 60 million (approx. $1.2 million) in total guarantees. APPT Manila runs July 31-August 9 and features PHP 28 million (approx. $550,000) in total guarantees. In Brazil, there is a Brazilian Series of Poker event in Brasilia from January 30-February 4, and then there is another BSOP event in Sao Paulo from March 19-24. Road To PSPC Events Everyone wants to go and compete in the PSPC, right? With PokerStars' Road To PSPC events, players can win their way. Road To PSPC events have stops in France and Spain in 2020, with four stops in each country. In France, the Road To PSPC will be in La Havre from January 15-19, in St. Amand from February 11-16, in La Grande-Motte from March 10-15, and in Cannes from June 10-14. In Spain, the Road To PSPC is headed to Barcelona from January 13-19, Valencia from March 2-8, Madrid Gran Via from March 31-April 5, and in Madrid Torreldones from Jule 1-5.
  3. History was made in the PokerStars EPT Prague €5,300 Main Event as Mikalai Pobal emerged as just the second player in European Poker Tour history to become a two-time Main Event champion. It was a long road to victory for Pobal who first battled through the field of 1,154 entries and then grinded his way up from the short stack at the final table to put himself in position to become the first man to ever win two EPT Main Events. Eventually, Pobal faced off against two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Norbert Szecsi in a fast-paced heads-up match to claim the historic title and €1,005,600 first-place prize. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zgone="888poker NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"] At the start of the final day, only five players remained. Even though Portal was sitting in the bottom half of the chip counts, everyone had over thirty big blinds so there was still room for everyone to maneuver. Nearly three hours into the day, the first of the five hit the rail. After Gaby Livshitz put in a raise with [poker card="jh"][poker card="6h"], Portugal’s Tomas Paiva made the call from the big blind holding [poker card="qc"][poker card="8c"]. The flop came [poker card="8s"][poker card="5h"][poker card="4h"], giving Paiva top pair and Livshitz an open-ended straight draw with a flush draw. Paiva, check-raised Livshitz who then shoved over the raise. Paiva made the call with his tournament on the line. The turn was the [poker card="8h"] bringing in the flush for Livshitz, but giving Paiva some life with one card to come. However, the river fell the [poker card="6c"] providing no help to the Paiva’s trips and sending him out the door in fifth place for €241,230. With four left, Pobal was now the shortest stack at the table. He picked his spots and found a double up and then quickly doubled again providing him some breathing room. Over the next two hours, Pobal began to climb the chip counts when eventually he knocked out his first opponent of the day. Livshitz limped the small blind holding [poker card="ad"][poker card="qs"] and Pobal made a small raise with his [poker card="as"][poker card="ac"]. Livshitz three-bet and after taking a moment to think about it, Pobal elected to flat call the raise. The flop came [poker card="qd"][poker card="js"][poker card="3d"]. Livshitz bet his top pair, Pobal took his time and put in a raise. Livshitz shoved and was snap-called by Pobal who watched as his pocket aces held through the [poker card="5d"] turn and the [poker card="7h"] river. Livshitz finished in fourth place earning €316,780. Pobal and Szecsi took turns holding the chip lead while Brazil’s Ricardo Da Rocha tried to climb back from the short stack. Eventually, with fewer than ten big blinds De Rocha moved all-in holding [poker card="as"][poker card="jh"] and was called by Szecsi holding [poker card="ah"][poker card="qc"]. The board [poker card="kd"][poker card="5h"][poker card="4s"][poker card="6c"][poker card="8s"] provided no help to the Brazilian and Da Rocha walked away in third place, taking home €421,450. With Pobal holding a slight chip lead heading into heads-up play, the pair briefly discussed the possibility of a deal. Unable to come to an agreement, Pobal and Szesi settled in to determine a winner with history on the line. It didn’t take long as Pobal ran hot right from the start and quickly held a sizable chip lead over Szecsi. On the final hand of the tournament, Szecsi raised the button with [poker card="8s"][poker card="8c"] and Pobal put in a three-bet with [poker card="ks"][poker card="kc"]. Szecsi stuck all his chips in the middle and was immediately called by Pobal. The [poker card="4c"][poker card="6c"][poker card="3d"] flop brought Szecsi some backdoor possibilities but the [poker card="2h"] turn was of no help. Finally, the [poker card="ah"] hit the river and Hungary’s Norbert Szecsi settled for a €598,880 payday as the runner-up. Pobal earned the 2019 EPT Prague Main Event title and €1,005,600 first-place prize. He became just the second player, the first male player, to win two EPT Main Event titles. The only other player in the tour's 15-year history to accomplish the same feat is Victoria Coren Mitchell who won EPT San Remo in 2014 for the second of her two victories. For Pobal, EPT Prague’s seven-figure score comes only second to his €1,007,550 prize for winning his first EPT which came back in August 2012 when he took down the EPT Barcelona Main Event in Season 9. 2019 EPT Prague Main Event Final Table Results 1. Milalai Pobal - €1,005,600 2. Norbert Szecsi - €598,880 3. Ricardo Da Rocha - €421,450 4. Gaby Livshitz - €316,780 5. Tomas Paiva - €241,230 6. Luke Marsh - €177,420 7. Laurent Michot - €134,610 8. Dietrich Fast - €96,100 9. Gab Yong Kim - €74,770
  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. [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
  6. [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.
  7. [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.
  8. The last European Poker Tour event of 2018 wrapped up Tuesday in Prague with Germany's Paul Michaelis beating a final table that included a few well-known PocketFivers on his way to picking up €840,000 ($954,677) and a trip to the Bahamas to play in the $25,000 PokerStars Players Championship in January. The eight-handed final table began on Monday before stopping with six players left to return on Tuesday. It took just a few hands at the final table on Monday for the first elimination to happen. Diego Zeiter moved all in for 1,305,000 from middle position and Alexandr Merzhvinskii called. Zeiter tabled [poker card="9c"][poker card="9s"] but got the worst news possible when Merzhvinskii turned over [poker card="ah"][poker card="as"]. The [poker card="js"][poker card="tc"][poker card="2h"][poker card="qh"][poker card="td"] runout wasn't good enough to save Zeiter from an eighth place finish. It took only an hour before the next player was sent to the rail. From middle position, Laurynas Levinskas raised to 250,000 before Liviu Ignat moved all in from the button. Levinskas called and showed [poker card="kc"][poker card="kh"] while Ignat needed help after turning over [poker card="ac"][poker card="qs"]. The [poker card="jh"][poker card="tc"][poker card="6d"] flop gave Ignat two extra outs but neither the [poker card="7c"] turn and [poker card="8s"] river were any help and he was sent out in seventh. The six remaining players bagged up their chips and returned on Tuesday to play down to a winner. A good night's rest didn't help Parker Talbot overcome his short stack though. Down to just 15 big blinds, Talbot moved all in from the cutoff only to have Levinskas call from the big blind and turn over [poker card="as"][poker card="9c"] while Talbot was left drawing with [poker card="ks"][poker card="qh"] The [poker card="ah"][poker card="ad"][poker card="2c"] flop all but ended Talbot's run. The [poker card="ts"] turn gave him four outs to Broadway but the [poker card="kd"] river was no help and Talbot was out in sixth. Play continued for nearly 90 minutes before the next elimination occurred. Michaelis raised to 400,000 from UTG and Carlos Branco moved all in for 3,575,000 from the button. Artem Kobylynskyi re-raised all in from the big blind forcing Michaelis to fold. Branco showed [poker card="7d"][poker card="7h"] but Kobylynskyi had [poker card="ad"][poker card="as"]. The flop came [poker card="5h"][poker card="4s"][poker card="3h"] to give Branco six more outs. The turn was the [poker card="9s"] and the [poker card="8h"] river sealed his fate with a fifth place finish. The first talk of a chop came up with four players remaining but Levinskas decided he wanted to keep playing. About 30 minutes later, the decision was made for him. Michaelis raised to 425,000 from the button and Levinskas defended from the big blind. The [poker card="kd"][poker card="qh"][poker card="7d"] flop got both players to check. The [poker card="8h"] turn got another check from Levinskas before Michaelis bet 400,000. Levinskas responded by moving all in and Michaelis called instantly. Levinskas showed [poker card="ks"][poker card="9s"] for top pair but Michaelis tabled [poker card="8c"][8s for a turned set. The [poker card="9d"] river was a useless second pair for Levinskas and he was eliminated in fourth. Three-handed play last a little over an hour before the three players agreed to a deal. Michaelis took €770,000, Merzhvinskii pocketed €631,500 while the shortest stack, Kobylinskiy, settled for €571,910 and they left €70,000 and the $30,000 Platinum Pass to play for. It took almost 90 minutes to go from a deal to heads-up. Merzhvinskii moved all in for his last 12 big blinds from the button and Michaelis called from the big blind. Merzhvinskii tabled [poker card="as"][poker card="7d"] but found his hand dominated by Michaelis' [poker card="ad"][poker card="9d"]. The [poker card="qh"][poker card="9c"][poker card="7h"] flop improved both players. The [poker card="8d"] turn and [poker card="th"] river changed kept everything the same and gave Michaelis the pot and eliminated Merzhvinskii in third. When heads up play began, Michaelis was ahead 2-1 over Kobylynskyi. It took just 15 minutes for Michaelis to finish things off thanks to a cooler. Michaelis called from the button and then called again after Kobylynskyi moved all in for 5,600,000. Kobylynskyi showed [poker card="td"][poker card="ts"] but Michaelis had him beat with [poker card="js"][poker card="jd"]. The board ran out [poker card="kc"][poker card="qd"][poker card="5s"][poker card="9s"][poker card="7d"] to give Michaelis the win and leave Kobylynskyi as runner-up. Final Table Payouts Paul Michaelis - $954,677 Artem Kobylynskyi - $649,987 Alexandr Merzhvinskii - $717,712 Laurynas Levinskas - $359,140 Carlos Branco - $275,674 Parker Talbot - $203,846 Liviu Ignat - $155,385 Diego Zeiter - $110,720
  9. Piotr Nurzynski just might be the Polish Chris Moneymaker. The 28-year-old former doctor, who qualified for the European Poker Tour Barcelona stop online, won €1,037,109 and a seat in the PokerStars Players Championship next January by outlasting the 1,931-player field on his way to the title. The six-handed final table started with Nursynski sitting in second place behind only Haoxiang Wang. It was Wang who did most of the heavy lifting early on though. It took just over two hours of play before the first elimination of the day. With blinds of 125,000/250,000 (250,000) Matthias Tikerpe moved all in for 3,975,000 from UTG+1 with [poker card="ac"][poker card="kc"] and Piotr Nurzynski called from the cutoff with [poker card="9c"][poker card="9h"]. The [poker card="8d"][poker card="3s"][poker card="2s"] flop kept Nurzynski ahead and as the dealer dealt the [poker card="6h"] turn and [poker card="qs"] river, Tikerpe was eliminated in sixth place for a career-best live score of €287,050. Ten minutes later, Rodrigo Carmo saw his final table run end. Carmo came into the final table with just 10 big blind and after laddering up one place in payouts, found a spot to get his chips in with a double up in mind. Wang raised to 600,000 from UTG with [poker card="8d"][poker card="8s"] and action folded to Carmo in the big blind. The Portuguese pro looked down at [poker card="ad"][poker card="kc"] and moved all in for 4,000,000. Wang called and then watched the board run out [poker card="jc"][poker card="5s"][poker card="2h"][poker card="6d"][poker card="3s"] to send Carmo out in fifth. The four remaining players then turned their attention to re-adjusting the prizepool. After a brief discussion, the players agreed on a deal that paid out the following: Haoxiang Wang - €1,023,701 Piotr Nurzynski - €857,109 Ognyan Dimov - €725,621 Pedro Marques - €698,369 That left €180,000 and the $30,000 Platinum Pass to play for. With most of the money set aside though, the action picked up and it took just 30 minutes to send the first player packing. From UTG, Wang raised to 625,000 with [poker card="td"][poker card="ts"] before Pedro Marques moved all in for 6,500,000 with [poker card="ac"][poker card="3c"]. The other two players folded and Wang called to put Marques at risk. The [poker card="js"][poker card="7h"][poker card="6c"][poker card="qh"][poker card="8d"] runout couldn't save Marques from busting in fourth place and propelled Wang to an even bigger lead. Five minutes later Wang continued to be the unstoppable force at the table. Ognyan Dimov shoved for 3,400,000 from the button with [poker card="kc"][poker card="7c"] and Wang called from the big blind with [poker card="ks"][poker card="8h"]. Dimov could only watch as the [poker card="ah"][poker card="4d"][poker card="2d"] flop, [poker card="6h"] turn and [poker card="qh"] river failed to give him even half the pot and the Bulgarian, who won a WSOP bracelet earlier this summer, was sent packing in third place. At this point, Wang held 78% of the chips in play and seemed assured of the victory. Nurzynski had other ideas though. After doubling up early on during heads up, Nurzysnki then took the lead to set up two hours of play that saw each player holding the lead. Eventually, Nurzynski finished Wang off and turned his €250 online satellite into a dream seven-figure score. With blinds of 250,000/500,000 (500,000), Nurzynski called from the button holding [poker card="ac"][poker card="9c"] and Wang check his option with [poker card="ks"][poker card="2d"]. The flop was [poker card="ad"][poker card="kc"][poker card="6d"] and Wang bet 500,000 and Nurzynski called. The turne was the [poker card="7c"] and this time Wang checked. Nurzynski bet 2,000,000 and Wang called. The river was the [poker card="4d"] and Wang checked gain. Nurzynski moved all in and Wang, who was out of time banks, called just as the clock was winding down only to find he had the losing hand. Both players ended with €1M scores thanks to the chop. Both players also wound up winning Platninum Passes worth $30,000. Nurzysnki won his for being the last online qualifier remaining in the field. The winner of the tournament was also supposed to get a Platinum Pass, which comes with the $25,000 buy-in to the PokerStars Players Championship and $5,000 for travel and accommodations, but players are only allowed to win one so Wang ended up winning the pass that Nurzynski would have won had he not been an online qualifier. Final Table Payouts Piotr Nurzynski - €1,037,109 (+ $30,000 Platinum Pass) Haoxiang Wang - €1,023,701 (+ $30,000 Platinum Pass) Ognyan Dimov - €725,621 Pedro Marques - €698,369 Rodrigo Carmo - €354,200 Matthias Tikerpe - €287,050
  10. After its successful event in Sochi, Russia PokerStars’ European Poker Tour continues on to the more comfortable climate of Monte Carlo, Monaco. From April 24 - May 4, the EPT returns to the Sporting Monte Carlo Casino for EPT Monte Carlo, the sight of some their biggest events in the history of the tour. Main Event Makeover When PokerStars removed the European Poker Tour branding in 2017 they saw a steep decline in attendees to their Monte Carlo stop. In 2017, for the PokerStars Championship, 727 players entered as compared to the 1,098 runners that packed the field for the EPT stop in 2016. The result not only saw a first-place prize reduced by over 50% but also revealed some much-needed tweaking to both the branding and the Main Event itself. PokerStars fixed the branding issue with the much-celebrated return of the EPT moniker, but in addition, they are looking to return the field size to its former glory as well. The Main Event, which gets underway on April 28, is a €5,300 tournament but this year they are allowing players a single re-entry. Not only does this change give players who travel a long distance the security that they can have a second chance at a big-time tournament should things go sideways early, but it will likely ensure more total entries, resulting in a healthier prize pool and larger payouts. The EPT Monte Carlo Main Event is joining the wave of events that are implementing the big blind ante. With a single player paying the ante for the entire table, helping increase the speed of play. Also, adding to the idea of players getting more hands per hour is the addition of a shot clock in the Main Event. From Day 2 through the end of the tournament, players will be on the clock with 30 seconds to make their decisions. Fan Favorite Event Another relatively new development for the PokerStars team has been the expansion of the coverage of their major events. When we last saw the EPT in 2016, streaming coverage had not included “cards-up” coverage until the tournament reached the final table. More recently, fans have been able to tune into the PokerStars.tv stream to watch the Main Event, essentially from wire-to-wire, getting to see the players’ holdings at the feature table. The broadcast crew has also been expanded. EPT anchors Joe Stapleton and James Hartigan are still front and center to bring you the action, but, as was debuted at the 2018 PCA, the company continues to expand their team by bringing a regular rotation of professional analysis. More than “pop-in” commentary, at the 2018 PCA we saw the likes of Lex Veldhuis, Maria Ho, Jonathan Little and Griffen Benger have the privilege to provide color commentary for long stretches of time giving viewers exceptional insight into what’s happening at the table. More Than Just The Main While the Main Event will draw the most attention the EPT stop players will have plenty of reasons to forgo the beauty of the French Riviera in favor of the action on the casino floor. Thirty-nine total events span the 11 day festival with buy-in ranging from as little as €220 up to the €100,000 Super High Roller. In fact, there are no fewer than eight events that have a buy-in of €10,000 or more, which is sure to bring out the best players in the world to fight for what is likely to be massive prize pools. History has shown that the pros love to make it out to Monte Carlo. Past winners of the Main Event include poker superstars such as Adrian Mateos and Steve O’Dwyer while last year’s €100,000 Super High Roller was won by GPI North American Player of the Year Bryn Kenney where he defeated a final table of high rolling elite talent including David Peters, Ole Schemion, Poker Masters inaugural winner Steffen Sontheimer and partypoker LIVE Barcelona 5$0K Super High Roller Winner Sam ‘Pudge714’ Greenwood. For fans of the game, PokerStars EPT Monte Carlo is shaping up to be quite the spectacle. One doesn't even need to make it to Monte Carlo in order to win as one viewer of the PokerStars stream is going to win themselves a coveted $30,000 Platinum Pass package to the 2019 PCA to participate in the PokerStars No Limit Hold’em Player Championship. So set aside some time and enjoy the PokerStars EPT Monte Carlo, festivities kick off on April 24.
  11. The European Poker Tour's return to Monte Carlo certainly didn't disappoint and as the Main Event final table wrapped up on Friday, there were two former GPI #1-ranked players and Hungarian Cinderella that had almost everybody cheering for him. In the end though it was France's Nicolas Dumont who outlasted them all to win his first major title, over €700,000 and a Platinum Pass worth $30,000. Ole Schemion was once in full control of this tournament, but late Thursday things went awry for the German and he started the final table eighth in chips. He lasted exactly one hand on Friday. David Peters opened to 225,000 from UTG+2, Patrik Antonius called from the cutoff and Schemion moved all in from the button for 1,160,000. Peters folded but Antonius both called and showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="jh"] while Schemion turned over [poker card="kd"][poker card="qd"]. The board ran out [poker card="jd"][poker card="9s"][poker card="5h"][poker card="2h"][poker card="4s"] to give Antonius to pair and eliminate Schemion in eighth place. Just over 30 minutes later a blind-vs-blind battle. Javier Fernandez, down to just 12 big blinds, moved all in from the small blind and Tomas Jozonis defended from the big. Fernandez turned over [poker card="ad"][poker card="4s"] but got bad news wehen Jozonis showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="ts"]. The [poker card="7d"][poker card="6h"][poker card="3d"] flop gave Fernandez some hope but neither the [poker card="9h"] turn or [poker card="th"] river was any help and he was out in seventh place. Antonius was arguably the biggest name at the final table. Having already won an EPT title once in his career, Antonius is more known for his high stakes cash game action now. Unfortunately, the Finn was unable to add another major tournament title to his resume. Antonius moved all in for 1,305,000 from the button and Dumont called from the small blind. Antonius showed [poker card="kd"][poker card="qc"] and Dumont showed [poker card="ad"][poker card="8d"]. The board ran out [poker card="ts"][poker card="9h"][poker card="4c"][poker card="9c"][poker card="7d"] to eliminate Antonius in sixth. While Antonius was one of the big names at the final table, he wasn't the one stealing all the headlines in the lead up to the final table. Krisztian Gyorgyi, who qualified for this event in a €5 spin-n-go, had won the hearts and minds of viewers at home with a bluff on the livestream. Unfortunately, that moment didn't lead to a better one on Friday for the Hungarian. Gyorgyi raised to 280,000 from UTG, Dumont called from middle position before Honglin Jiang moved all-in from the button. Gyorgyi used one time extension before calling all in and Dumont folded. Gyorgyi turned over [poker card="ah"][poker card="kc"] and found himself racing against Jiang's [poker card="4c"][poker card="4h"]. That race all but ended after the [poker card="qc"][poker card="4d"][poker card="3c"] flop and then ended for good after the [poker card="6s"] turn. The [poker card="jc"] hit the river, making Gyorgyi's fifth place elimination official. It took an hour for another elimination to happen. Jozonis raised to 325,000 from UTG and Peters movedall in for 2,325,000 from the button. The blinds both folded and Jozonis called and turned over [poker card="qh"][poker card="qs"]. Peters grimaced after revealing [poker card="jc"][poker card="js"]. The [poker card="ks"][poker card="6c"][poker card="ts"] flop kept Jozonis ahead as did the [poker card="ad"] turn and [poker card="td"] river and Peters was eliminated in fourth. Even though he picked up Peters' chip, Jozonis only stuck around another 30 minutes. Down to just 12 big blinds, the #1-ranked online poker player in Lithuania moved all in from the button and was called by Jiang in the big blind. Jozonis turned over [poker card="ac"][poker card="6h"] and found himself dominated by Jiang's [poker card="as"][poker card="ts"]. The [poker card="th"][poker card="9d"][poker card="4h"] flop made things ever worse for Jozonis and he was eliminated in third after the [poker card="5c"] and [poker card="2s"] completed the board. Jiang started heads up with 57.8% of the chips in play but over the next 90 minutes, all of that went away. On the final hand of the night, Dumont limped, Jiang raised to 650,000, and Dumont responded by re-raising to 2,200,000. Jiang continued the aggression, moving all in fro 10,075,000 total and Dumont called instantly. Jiang showed [poker card="6d"][poker card="6h"] and Dumont happily showed [d][poker card="qh"]. There was no bad beat in the [poker card="kc"][poker card="7d"][poker card="3d"][poker card="8h"][poker card="3s"] runout and Dumont eliminated Jiang to win his first major title and €712,000. Final Table Payouts Nicolas Dumont - €712,000 Honglin Jiang - €434,000 Tomas Jozonis - €308,000 David Peters - €232,000 Krisztian Gyorgyi - €184,000 Patrik Antonius - €139,050 Javier Fernandez - €99,900 Ole Schemion - €68,300
  12. Final tables have no set end time. At times, Saturday's European Poker Tour Main Event final table in Monaco felt like it might never end. After playing for nearly 14 hours, Manig Loeser stood tall, having beaten a final table that included 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event champ Ryan Riess. The early stages of the final table didn't hint at any sort of upcoming marathon. It took less than an hour to go from six to five players. Down to just six big blinds, Luis Medina decide to move all-in for 485,000 with [poker card="ad"][poker card="3c"] after Loeser opened to 160,000 from UTG holding [poker card="7h"][poker card="7s"]. Loeser called and then avoided any real danger on the [poker card="9d"][poker card="8h"][poker card="2c"][poker card="4c"][poker card="th"] board to send Medina out in sixth place. That's when the madness started. It took nine more hours of play for another player to hit the rail. During that time, four of the five remaining players each took a turn as the chip leader, including Loeser. Action folded to Nicola Grieco on the button and he moved all in for 1,475,000 with [poker card="as"][poker card="kh"]. Loeser called from the button with [poker card="8c"][poker card="7h"]. The [poker card="8h"][poker card="7s"][poker card="3c"] flop spelled doom for Grieco and he got no help on the [poker card="jd"][poker card="ad"] runout to end his tournament with a fifth place finish. Riess was only able to last another half hour. Left with just 4.5 big blinds, Riess moved all in from the small blind with [poker card="qc"][poker card="3s"] and Wei Huang called from the big with [poker card="jd"][poker card="6d"]. Riess got what he thought was an easy reprieve on the [poker card="ad"][poker card="ah"][poker card="qs"] flop. But the [poker card="td"] turn followed by the [poker card="kh"] on the river gave Huang Broadway and ended Riess' day in fourth place. Loeser, Huang and Viktor Katzenberger played three-handed for an hour before beginning talks of a deal. After one hour of fine tuning the numbers, the final three players agreed to a chop that left just €78,061 and the trophy to play for. Wei Huang - €552,056 Viktor Katzenberger - €529,707 Manig Loeser - €525,716 It took just 30 minutes of play to get heads-up. After dropping nearly all of his stack to Loeser one hand earlier, Katzenberger moved all in from the small blind with [poker card="ad"][poker card="8c"] after Huang limped from the button with [poker card="as"][poker card="kc"]. Riess folded the big blind and Huang called. The [poker card="6d"][poker card="5c"][poker card="4s"][poker card="qh"][poker card="jc"] runout sent Katzenberger out in third place. Huang and Loeser played for 80 minutes before Loeser put the finishing touches on the win. Huang raised to 1,200,000 and Loeser called. Both players then checked through the [poker card="jd"][poker card="9c"][poker card="5s"] flop. The turn was the [poker card="tc"] and Loeser bet 1,400,000 and then called after Huang moved all in for 8,205,000. Huang tabled [poker card="ks"][poker card="8c"] and Loeser happily turned over [poker card="qh"][poker card="8h"] for a turned queen-high straight. The river was the [poker card="ad"] and Huang was eliminated, leaving Loeser to pose for winner photos and collect just over €600,000. Final Table Payouts Manig Loeser - €603,777 Wei Huang - €552,056 Viktor Katzenberger - €529,707 Ryan Riess - €265,620 Nicola Grieco - €206,590 Luis Medina - €152,800
  13. After 13 days of record-setting fields and one massive announcement, EPT Barcelona wrapped up on Sunday with Sweden's Simon Brandstrom taking down the largest EPT Barcelona Main Event in history. Brandstrom topped a field of 1,988 players after defeating Marton Czuczor heads-up after the two players agreed to a deal that saw each of them become millionaires. The first hand of the day lead to the first elimination. Brandstrom raised to 425,000 from cutoff, Yunye Lu called from the button and Czuczor and Diego Falcone defended their blinds. After the [poker card="jc"][poker card="6s"][poker card="5c"] flop, Brandstrom checked and Lu bet 700,000. Czuczor raised to 1,975,000, Falcone and Brandstrom both folded before Lu shoved for 4,075,000. Czuczor called and showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="2c"] for a flush draw while Lu tabled [poker card="kd"][poker card="jh"] for top pair. The turn was the [poker card="7s"] but the [poker card="kc"] river completed Czuczor's flush draw and Yu was eliminated in sixth place. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"] The quick eliminations continued and five minutes later, Czuczor had his second victim. From the cutoff, Czuczor raised to 550,000 and Giovani Torre moved all in from the big blind for 4,200,000. Czuczor called and showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="kd"] which put him ahead of Torre's [poker card="kc"][poker card="jc"]. THe [poker card="as"][poker card="5h"][poker card="4c"] flop left Torre hoping for runner-runner. THe [poker card="8s"] turn was no help and as the [poker card="6d"] hit the river, Torre was eliminated in fifth place. Czuczor took almost a full 15 minutes off before finding yet another victim. From UTG, Czuczor raised to 550,000 and then called when Falcone moved all in for 5,100,000 from the button. Falcone showed [poker card="ah"][poker card="qs"] while Czuczor held [poker card="8d"][poker card="8s"]. The [poker card="qd"][poker card="tc"][poker card="2d"] flop gave Falcone top pair but the [poker card="8c"] turn gave Czuczor a set. Falcone had no outs left and could only watch the [poker card="4s"] hit the river to complete his elimination in fourth place. Thre-handed play lasted 40 minutes before an elimination but this time Czuczor wasn't in the role of executioner. Brandstrom raised his button to 525,000 and Rui Sousa called from the big blind. The flop came [poker card="8s"][poker card="4c"][poker card="3h"] and Sousa checked. Brandstrom bet 500,000 and Sousa raised to 1,400,000. Brandstrom responded by moving all in and Sousa called off the his last 6,625,000 and then showed [poker card="th"][poker card="8d"] for top pair but Brandstrom flipped over [poker card="jc"][poker card="js"]. Neither the [poker card="7h"] turn or [poker card="4d"] river were any help for Sousa and he was sent packing in third place. Heads up play began with Czuczor holding a slight chip lead over Brandstrom. The pair quickly discussed and agreed to a deal that saw both players pocket a seven-figure score. Czuczor locked up €1,253,234 and Brandstrom guaranteed €1,212,706 with €77,460 left to play for. The original first place prize was €1,659,000. While the first four eliminations took just over an hour, the heads-up battle between Czuczor and Brandstrom took on a life of its own. Each player took turns with the chip lead before Brandstrom seized it for good after three and a half hours of play before eliminating Czuczor. The Hungarian raised to 900,000 and Brandstrom moved all in. Czuczor called all in and showed [poker card="ks"][poker card="qc"] while Brandstrom showed [poker card="6c"][poker card="6h"]. The board ran out [poker card="9s"][poker card="7c"][poker card="2d"][poker card="ad"][poker card="5h"] to eliminate Czuczor and give Brandstrom his first major title. This is the second live tournament win for Brandstrom in Barcelona. In May he won the WPTDeepStacks Barcelona event for €270,000. Final Table Payouts Simon Brandstrom - €1,253,234 Marton Czuczor- €1,212,706 Rui Sousa - €607,400 Diego Falcone - €436,760 Giovani Torre - €364,660 Yunye Lu - €295,520
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. [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
  18. [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
  19. Heading into the European Poker Tour Sochi Main Event, Arseniy Karmatskiy hadn't picked up a single live cash in 2018. He had $350,000 in lifetime earnings over the previous four years but had struggled through the early months of this year. That all changed on Thursday night in Sochi as the Russian took down the European Poker Tour Sochi Main Event for a little more than $475,000 and a Platinum Pass which will put him into the 2019 PokerStars Players Championship event next January. "It's a very nice prize. I've never played a $25,000 tournament. I'm very excited to go to The Bahamas, I would like to see the ocean and palms. And I'm looking forward to playing with the top professionals," Karmatskiy said about the Platinum Pass. "I even thought about the Pass more than about the money prize." Karmatskiy started the final day with the chip lead and went on to eliminate each of the other six players on his way to the title, the fourth of his career and first since he took down the German Poker Championship last August in Rozvadov. It was only 30 minutes after seven-handed play started on Thursday. Andrey Kaygorodsev moved all in for 410,000 from UTG, Vahe Martirosyan called but Karmatskiy re-raised to 1,200,000 from the button to force Martirosyan to fold. Kaygorodsev showed [poker card="5d"][poker card="5s"] but got bad news when Karmatskiy showed [poker card="jd"][poker card="jh"]. The board ran out [poker card="tc"][poker card="7h"][poker card="6h"][poker card="2s"][poker card="6d"] to give Karmatskiy the pot and eliminate Kaygorodsev in seventh. Karmatskiy found another victim just 15 minutes later. He raised from UTG to 225,000 and action folded to Sergey Kerzhakov on the button and he moved all in for 2,020,000 and Karmatskiy called instantly and showed [poker card="kc"][poker card="kh"] while Kerzhakov showed [poker card="ad"][poker card="kd"]. The [poker card="ks"][poker card="9h"][poker card="7h"] flop left Kerzhakov drawing ridiculously thin. The [poker card="qc"] turn ended all of that and the meaningless river was the [poker card="7c"]. It took almost 2.5 hours before the next player was sent packing, but yet again it was Karmatskiy standing tall. Martirosyan raised to 250,000 from the cutoff, Karmatskiy re-raised to 875,000 from the small blind before Mikhail Kovalyuk cold four-bet to 1,600,000 from the big blind. Martirosyan folded but Karmatskiy moved all in and Kovalyuk called instantly and showed [poker card="ad"][poker card="ah"] while Karmatskiy turned over [poker card="kd"][poker card="ks"]. The [poker card="kh"][poker card="5h"][poker card="4h"] flop changed everything though, moving Karmatskiy into the lead but giving Kovalyuk a nut flush draw. The turn was the [poker card="9s"] and the river was the [poker card="9d"] to give Karmatskiy the biggest pot of the tournament and the chip lead while Kovalyuk was eliminated in fifth place. During three nearly three hours of four-handed play, Karmatskiy briefly relinquished the chip lead before doubling up through Shegai in 14,000,000 chip pot. That massive stack came in handy as Karmatskiy continued to be the reason other players were leaving the final table early. Karmatskiy moved all in for 15,150,000 from UTG and Martirosyan called from the small blind and Shegai folded the big blind. Karmatskiy smiled and turned over [poker card="6s"][poker card="3s"] while Martirosyan showed [poker card="7c"][poker card="7h"]. The [poker card="ts"][poker card="8d"][poker card="4s"] flop gave Karmatskiy a flush draw. The [poker card="2s"] turn filled that draw and all Martirosyan could do as the [poker card="7s"] fell on the river was shake hands and exit in fourth. Despite being left on fumes after the 14,000,0000 chip pot with Karmatskiy, Shegai kept fighting and picked up a much-needed double up three-handed before watching Karmatskiy and Ernest Shakaryan get into a confrontation that sent the tournament to heads up play. Karmatskiy moved all in from the button and Shakaryan called from the small blind. Karmatskiy held [poker card="ah"][poker card="6c"] which put him behind Shakaryan's [poker card="ad"][poker card="7s"]. The [poker card="6s"][poker card="3s"][poker card="2c"] flop put Karmatskiy ahead and he stayed there after the [poker card="tc"] turn and [poker card="2h"] river to eliminate Shakaryan in third. Heads-up play began with Karmatskiy holding a nearly 5-1 chip lead. Shegai refused to let that deter him though, chipping away at that lead. In the end though, Karmatskiy refused to give up the lead and picked up his sixth elimination of the day after two hours of heads up action. Karmatskiy moved all in for 21,080,000 and Shegai called all in and turned over [poker card="jc"][poker card="8c"]. Karmatskiy was ahead with [poker card="qs"][poker card="td"] and stayed there after the [poker card="tc"][poker card="7d"][poker card="6d"][poker card="7s"][poker card="6h"] runout. Final Table Payouts Arseniy Karmatskiy - $475,835.64 Viktor Shegai - $288,753.69 Ernest Shakaryan - $203,801.52 Vahe Martirosyan - $152,851.14 Mikhail Kovalyuk - $120,733.32 Sergey Kerzhakov - $90,507.09 Andrey Kaygorodsev - $63,619.68 Mikhail Plakkhin - $44,991.96
  20. The European Poker Tour officially returns in late-March with the first-ever EPT Sochi in Russia. It's not the first time that the former Winter Olympics host has played host to a big tour though. The Sochi Casino and Resort hosted both partypoker and PokerStars in 2017. The PokerStars Championship traveled to Russia in May and put a $2.6 million prize pool up for grabs via a $5,300 (RUB 318,000) buy-in. This year promises to be even larger. Main Event Takes Centerstage The party starts on Friday, March 23. A $2.5 million guaranteed prize pool (RUB 150 million) is up for grabs over three starting flights for the EPT Main Event. The buy-in is just over $3,200 (RUB 192,000). Day 1A and 1B play 10 60-minute levels and Day 1C is a turbo flight of 10 30-minute rounds. The turbo flight starts at 8:00 pm local time on March 24. The final prize pool will be known at the start of Day 2 on March 25. Levels from Day 2 all the way to the end of the event are 90 minutes apiece. The six-handed final table airs on PokerStars.tv on Thursday, March 29. All days of the EPT Main Event start at 12:00 pm local time. Last year’s PokerStars Championship Main Event in Sochi attracted 387 entries. Pavel Shirshikov walked away with first-place and $515,774. Quality Side Events PokerStars Sochi brings a strong schedule of side events to the table. The EPT National is a primary tournament listed. The approximately $1,100 buy-in (RUB66,000) opens on Tuesday, March 20 and offers three starting flights. The first starting flight is 13 levels each and move for 45 minutes. Day 1B and 1C are the same schedules with levels reduced to 30 minutes. The three flights combine on Thursday, March 22 and play hour levels until the end of the event on Day 3. Two events startup on March 27, just in time to catch the Main Event bustouts. The EPT High Roller and EPT Cup both run for three days. The High Roller is a buy-in of roughly $10,500 (RUB 617,000) and is a single re-entry. Day 1 levels are 45 minutes and are 60 for Day 2 and Day 3. Registration is open up until Level 11. For those looking for a faster-paced event, the EPT Cup is just that. All three starting flights are 20-minute levels before switching to 30 in Day 2. Other side events include Win The Button, Pot Limit Omaha, and other single-day No Limit Hold’em events. Complete EPT Sochi Main Event Schedule Date Event Number Name Buy-in (RUB) Buy-in (USD) March 20 1 NL Hold'em - EPT National (Three-Day Event) 66,000 ₽ $1,108 March 22 3 NL Hold'em Super Deep Stack 33,000 ₽ $554 March 23 5 NL Hold'em - EPT Sochi Main Event (Six-Day Event 192,000 ₽ $3,223 March 25 9 NL Hold'em - (Two-Day Event) 33,000 ₽ $554 March 26 10 NL Hold'em - (One-Day Event) 132,000 ₽ $2,216 March 26 11 NL Hold'em - Win the Button (One-Day Event) 33,000 ₽ $554 March 27 12 Pot Limit Omaha - (One-Day Event) 33,000 ₽ $554 March 27 13 NL Hold'em EPT High Roller (Three-Day Event) 630,000 ₽ $10,576 March 27 14 NL Hold'em (One-Day Event) 66,000 ₽ $1,108 March 27 15 NL Hold'em EPT Cup (Three-Day Event) 33,000 ₽ $554 March 29 16 NL Hold'em - (One-Day Event) 13,200 ₽ $222 March 29 17 NL Hold'em - (One-Day Event) 66,000 ₽ $1,108
  21. [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
  22. [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!
  23. [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.
  24. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. The European Poker Tour Monte Carlo event is done and dusted and Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters have all of that in a recap. They also discuss the uptick in the PokerStars Sunday Million while waxing poetically about what that tournament should be. They also talk about the return of the partypoker MILLIONS Online and try and make sense of the video released by Dan 'Jungleman' Cates. Senior Writer Jeff Walsh joins the show to discuss and debate the first players on PocketFives' ranking of the top 50 players in World Series of Poker history. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  25. If the opening days of the European Poker Tour stop in Barcelona are any indication, it's going to be a helluva week of poker in the Spanish city. Spanish grinder Sergi Reixach is proof of that. Playing the first €100,000 buy-in event of his career, Reixach topped the 64-entry field in the €100,000 Super High Roller event on Monday, beating a final table that included Luc Greenwood, Danny Tang, Steve O'Dwyer, and eventual runner-up Sam Grafton to win €1,816,210 ($2,015,000 US). Rui Ferreira started the final table with just 11 big blinds, but he took on the role of spectator for the first elimination. Mikalai Vaskaboinikau moved all in from UTG for 720,000 and Reixach moved all in over the top from late position. Vaskaboinikau turned over [poker card="9h"][poker card="9s"] but found out he was behind the [poker card="td"][poker card="th"] of Vaskaboinikau. The board ran out [poker card="6h"][poker card="2c"][poker card="2s"][poker card="tc"][poker card="as"] to give Reixach a full house and eliminate Vaskaboinikau in ninth. Ferreira's spectator status lasted just another 20 minutes before he became Reixach's second victim of the day. Reixach raised to 110,000 from the hijack before Ferreira moved all in for 650,000 from the big blind. Reixach called and turned over a[poker card="ac"][poker card="kh"] which put him ahead of Ferreira's [poker card="ah"][poker card="8c"]. The flop came [poker card="qc"][poker card="5h"][poker card="4d"] and Ferreira was unable to improve. Nothing changed for him through the [poker card="9h"] turn and [poker card="2d"] river and he was out in eighth place. Nearly an hour later, Tsugunari Toma raised from the cutoff before Steve O'Dwyer moved all in for 500,000. Toma called and turned over [poker card="ah"][poker card="4h"] while O'Dwyer showed [poker card="5d"][poker card="5h"]. The [poker card="qh"][poker card="8s"][poker card="2s"] flop kept O'Dwyer ahead but the [poker card="ac"] turn gave Toma top pair and after the [poker card="2c"] river, O'Dwyer was out in seventh. Reixach went got back to work and this time sent of the Greenwood brothers packing. Action folded to Greenwood in the hijack and he moved all in for 1,005,000. Reixach moved all-in from the small blind and then showed [poker card="ad"][poker card="qc"]. Greenwood was slightly ahead with [poker card="6h"][poker card="6s"]. The [poker card="qs"][poker card="3s"][poker card="2c"] flop changed things though and Greenwood was left wanting through the [poker card="5c"] turn and [poker card="qd"] river on his way to a sixth place finish. Reixach was involved in the next elimination as well - but only briefly. Reixach raised to 160,000 from UTG and Sam Grafton called from the hijack before Toma moved all in from the small blind for 755,000. Reixach folded but Grafton called. Toma showed [poker card="ac"][poker card="jd"] and Grafton tabled [poker card="8c"][poker card="8d"]. The [poker card="9c"][poker card="3d"][poker card="2c"][poker card="3c"][poker card="2s"] runout failed to save Toma and he was out in fifth place. Four-handed play lasted just 20 minutes before Grafton sent another player to the rail. Kahle Burns raised to 650,000 from the button and Grafton responded by moving all in from the big blind. Burns called all-in and showed [poker card="kh"][poker card="qc"] which put him well ahead of Grafton's [poker card="ks"][poker card="9s"]. The [poker card="as"][poker card="9h"][poker card="5d"] flop gave Grafton middle pair and Burns was unable to regain the lead after the [poker card="3s"] turn and [poker card="ad"] river and was eliminated in fourth. Another 20 minutes passed and the tournament was heads-up. From the button, Danny Tang moved all in for 690,000 and Reixach called from the small blind. Grafton folded his big blind and Tang revealed [poker card="ac"][poker card="8h"] only to find himself dominated by Reixach's [poker card="ad"][poker card="qh"]. The [poker card="9c"][poker card="9d"][poker card="2h"] flop gave Tang some chop outs but he was happy to see the [poker card="8c"] turn only to have the [poker card="as"] river give Reixach a better two-pair to eliminate Tang in third. Reixach began heads-up play with a slight chip lead and it took nearly three hours for him to finish off Grafton. From the button, Reixach called before Grafton raised to 600,000. Reixach called and then called again after Grafton bet 325,000 on the [poker card="kc"][poker card="js"][poker card="3h"] flop. The turn was the [poker card="5d"] and both players checked. The river was the [poker card="7h"] and Grafton moved all in for 1,725,000 and Reixach snap-called. Grafton showed [poker card="qc"][poker card="6s"] while Reixach happily tabled [poker card="kd"][poker card="8d"] to eliminate Grafton and win the EPT Barcelona Super High Roller for a career-best €1,816,210 score. Final Table Payouts Sergi Reixach - €1,816,210 Sam Grafton - €1,303,950 Danny Tang - €847,570 Kahle Burns - €639,560 Tsugunari Toma - €496,740 Luc Greenwood - €384,980 Steve O'Dwyer - €304,250 Rui Ferreira - €235,950 Mikalai Vaskaboinikau - €180,070

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