The kick-off of the fifth season of the European Poker Tour couldn’t have gone more smoothly. It began with the EPT Awards on September 9th and the beginning of the poker tournament the following day in Barcelona. A great turnout for the main event, many of the most famous faces in poker, and a European winning the title made for a successful start to the EPT season.
A total of 619 players turned out to play in the two starting days of the EPT Barcelona at the Gran Casino, though only 203 survived to return for Day 2. The field was further thinned to 38 by the third day, and when the chips and cards settled at the end of that night, the final table of eight was set. The highlights of the lead-up to the final table can be found here.
The players and chip counts for Day 4 were as follows:
Seat 1: Martin Nielsen 1,229,000
Seat 2: Davidi Kitai 600,000
Seat 3: Dren Ukella 734,000
Seat 4: Jason Mercier 526,000
Seat 5: Samuel Chartier 879,000
Seat 6: Daniele Mazzia 359,000
Seat 7: Fintan Gavin 701,000
Seat 8: Sebastian Ruthenberg 1,204,000
On September 14th, the action began to determine the first EPT champion of Season 5. But it started out slowly, as none of the players were ready to put their tournament lives on the line right away until Martin Nielsen and Sebastian Ruthenberg tangled in the first hand that went all the way to the river. Ruthenberg took that first pot with two pair that beat the two of his opponent, and Ruthenberg jumped out to the chip lead.
The short stacks then began to gamble. It paid off for the shortest of them all, as Daniele Mazzia was able to double through Dren Ukella when he river-flushed to beat Ukella’s pocket pair. Then it was Jason Mercier’s opportunity to push preflop with pocket sixes, but he faced the pocket tens of Nielsen. The shorter stack turned a six for trips, and that was good enough for Mercier to double up.
After Nielsen’s loss to Mercier, he moved all-in from the button soon after and was called by Mercier. This time, Mercier had the pocket tens, and Nielsen showed his . The board came , and Martin Nielsen, who came to the final table as the chip leader, was suddenly gone in 8th place with 119,000 Euros.
Samuel Chartier had lost ground since the beginning of the day’s action and finally raised all-in from the button preflop. Fintan Gavin thought about it and called with , and Chartier flipped his . The cards came , and Chartier was eliminated quickly in 7th place for 178,000 Euros.
Mazzia was again on the chopping block after a hand with Davidi Kitai after Kitai doubled through him with A-K versus pocket sevens. Kitai hit the Ace on the turn and left Mazzia with only 80,000 chips. The two tangled again when Mazzia shoved all-in preflop with Q-10 and Kitai called with pocket tens. The board came J-9-9-3-8 to give Mazzia the straight and a much-needed double-up.
The new short-stack at the table, Dren Ukella, looked for a chance to stay in it by moving all-in with pocket deuces, and Mercier called with K-Q. The community cards brought no help for Mercier, and Ukella’s deuces held up to double up.
Mercier, left with a stack in the 500,000 range, pushed all-in with pocket sevens, but chip leader Gavin woke up with pocket Queens and called. The board ran out , and Jason Mercier’s hopes of capturing a second EPT title in less than a year were squashed. He finished a still-respectable 6th and received 227,000 Euros for it.
Going into the dinner break, Gavin was the clear chip leader with more than one million more chips than second-place Ruthenberg. Mazzia was the short-stack and planned to do something about that after dinner. In response to an initial raise by Ukella, Mazzia moved all-in with A-J, and Ukella called with Q-J. The dealer gave neither player a pair, so Mazzia gladly took the double-up.
Ukella was the new short-stack with 540,000 and doubled through Gavin to stay alive, but it wasn’t long before he moved again. Gavin made a preflop raise, and Ukella simply called to see the flop come down . Gavin raised, but Ukella check-raised all-in with and the flush draw, but Gavin called with and middle pair. The turn came and the river , and the nines held up for Gavin. Dren Ukella was eliminated in 5th place with 292,000 Euros.
Mazzia then made another attempt to climb the increasingly short leaderboard but saw that his pocket nines were dominated by the pocket tens of Kitai. There was no nine on the board, and Kitai doubled while Mazzia sat with a crippled stack. On the very next hand, Ruthenberg and Kitai limped into the pot, and Mazzia pushed from the big blind for his last 13,000. Both called and then checked down to the river when the board ran out . Mazzia showed Q-8 for two pair, but Ruthenberg scooped the pot with J-9 and the straight. Daniele Mazzia took 4th place and 351,000 Euros.
Ruthenberg came on strong during three-handed play, first doubling through chip leader Gavin, and then taking another sizable pot from Gavin, putting Ruthenberg in the chip lead once again.
The newly aggressive Ruthenberg came out firing in a key hand by moving all-in from the button, and Kitai called all-in from the small blind. Kitai showed , and Ruthenberg showed , and it was off to the races. The board produced , and Kitai couldn’t make it happen. Davidi Kitai was eliminated in 3rd place with 455,000 Euros.
Moving directly into heads-up action, the chip counts were as follows:
Sebastian Ruthenberg 5,050,000
Fintan Gavin 1,180,000
And in only three hands, the match was decided. Gavin pushed all-in preflop with , and Ruthenberg called with . The board ran out to give Ruthenberg two pair. Gavin had only one lower pair and was out of the tournament as the runner-up. Second place for Fintan Gavin was worth 792,000 Euros.
The title, trophy, and first place prize money of 1,361,000 was reserved for only one person, and that was German player Sebastian Ruthenberg. Congratulations on winning the PokerStars EPT Barcelona!
Next on the EPT Season 5 schedule is London, which will take place from October 1st through 5th at the Victoria Casino. And many more stops will follow. To qualify for your seat at an EPT event, log on to PokerStars to take advantage of the ample opportunities awaiting you there.