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Poker News | Casino Poker | Tournament Reports

EPT London Final Table Set to be Fight to the Finish

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Following the stellar launch of Season 5 of the European Poker Tour (EPT) in September, it seemed clear that the rest of the EPT stops would be well-attended. After 619 players entered the first stop in Barcelona, London was next, and it proved to be the most popular tournament to hit London since, well, the 2007 EPT London.

Players began descending upon the Grosvenor Victoria Casino in London for the first of two starting days on October 1st, and the crowd was larger than expected. The EPT London was originally set to be capped at 500 registrants, but upon seeing the 287 players that came out for Day 1A alone, they immediately planned to expand the field as space allowed.

Of the 287 players, some latecomers like John Phan were relegated to alternate status until others were eliminated early in the day’s action. But everyone was eventually able to play, and the field boasted of such names as Gus Hansen, Patrik Antonius, Kathy Liebert, Annette Obrestad, Chris Ferguson, Gavin Griffin, Freddy Deeb, Shane Schleger, Joe Beevers, Ross Boatman, Beth Shak, Max Pescatori, Jeff Lisandro, and Erica Schoenberg.

By the end of the day, many notables had been eliminated, players like Gavin Griffin had positive experiences, like in a midday hand in which he eliminated Lisandro, Deeb, and another player when he called everyone’s all-ins with pocket kings and found another king on the flop. Pescatori had a mixed day with many ups and downs, but the evening hours found him on a roll, eliminating several players to climb to the top of the leaderboard with 93,000 by the end of the day’s action. Sorel Mizzi sat in a close second position, while Scott Mongomery, Carter Gill, and Gus Hansen rounded out the top five.

Another stellar number of players turned out for Day 1B, and when everyone had finally been seated, another 309 players were in attendance to make the final tally 596. For an event originally thought to be kept at 500, it swelled due to the overwhelming popularity of the EPT. As usual, the field was a mix of young internet pros, amateurs taking their shot at the million dollar first prize, and a roster of well-known pros like Phil Ivey, Joe Hachem, Scotty Nguyen, Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer, David Rheem, Jean-Robert Bellande, David Williams, and Thor Hansen. Tennis pro Boris Becker was in the crowd, as were former EPT champions Julian Thew, Andreas Hoivold, Mads Andersen, and Sebastian Ruthenberg.

It was Huseyin Yilmaz who set out to be the chip leader late in the day when he eliminated three opponents in one hand, one of whom was Thor Hansen, when Yilmaz moved all-in with A-10 of diamonds and hit the runner-runner flush. His end-of-day chip count was 125,000, though nipping at his heels was Alexander Albertsson. Rounding out the top five were Erik Sjodin, Philippe D’Auteuil, and Alain Roy, with notable Thew in the sixth spot.

Day 2 brought everyone under the same roof, as the 158 survivors came back to battle their way into the money. The pros left in the ever-narrowing field at the start of the day included Vanessa Rousso, Vicky Coren, Scotty Nguyen, Barry Greenstein, Kathy Liebert, David Benyamine, Neil Channing, Gus Hansen, Alex Kravchenko, Roland de Wolfe, Isabelle Mercier, and Jean-Robert Bellande.

It was late in the day when the bubble finally burst. Hafiz Khan was the victim when his A-Q met up with pocket jacks, and though an ace hit on the turn, a jack came down on the river to give his opponent trips. Khan left in 57th place, and the rest of the players were in the money. Florent Auber was the one to grab the 56th spot and the first £8,156 payout. Other notables to cash on the second full day of play were Jonathan Aguiar in 43rd place, Vanessa Rousso in 39th, Vicky Coren in 38th, Erik Friberg in 35th, and Rene Mortensen in 33rd.

With the last elimination, play ended for the day. Philippe D’Auteuil was the chip leader with 477,000, though Antony Lellouche was close with 470,000. The next highest chip count was top pro David Benyamine with 280,000, and he was followed by Erik Sjodin and Peter Busch. Also in the top ten were Eric Liu and Ian Frazer.

Day 3 was when the magic would happen, if you consider playing down to the final table to be magical. The first to go was 2008 WSOP HORSE champion Scotty Nguyen, whose pocket sevens were covered by his opponent’s pocket queens. Nguyen was eliminated in 32nd place with £13,052. Next to join him on the rail was Beth Shak in 31st, and Sorel Mizzi fell in 27th place, followed by Ian Frazer in 25th to round out that payout level.

When the field was reduced to only 18 players and the final two tables loomed, it was WSOP “November Nine” finalist Peter Eastgate who took the 18th place exit, followed by Robert Firestone in 17th. With that and a dinner break, players were reseated at two tables with Michael Martin as the chipleader.

To begin the action, Marcin Horecki doubled through Eric Liu, and Chris Wolters doubled through Horecki, though Horecki would regain those chips only hands later. In the meantime, Joseph Elpayaa was eliminated by Peter Busch in 16th place. Soon after, Max Pescatori’s kings met up with the aces of Michael Martin when both flopped sets, sending the Italian to the rail in 15th place. Both finishers received £19,576 for their deep runs in the tournament.

Gaulter Salles was the next to go in 14th place, courtesy of Liu. Wolters made a valiant effort to stay alive by tripling up but was still short when he moved all-in with A-2 against the kings of Liu. An ace came on the flop but a king on the river sent Wolters out in 13th place. Both went to the cashier cage for their £26,102 in prize money.

David Benyamine was the next victim of the active table, as his Q-10 of clubs were no match for the A-K of Michael Tureniec. Benyamine was gone in 12th place. And after Peter Busch doubled-up Antony Lellouche, he then moved his last few chips in with K-Q, but it lost to an A-9, and Busch was gone in 11th place. The two were awarded £35,891 for their efforts.

Frode Gjesdal was the 10th place finisher at the hands of Tureniec, which was good for a £50,574 payout. The final nine players were then moved to one last table, which would play until one more competitor was no longer sitting. And finally, it was Erik Sjodin who moved in with A-J versus the pocket kings of Liu. The board only brought a jack on the river for Sjodin, which wasn’t good enough, and he was eliminated in 9th place for £50,574.

With Sjodin taking the place of the official final table bubble player, the remaining eight were sent home for the night, only to return on October 5th to play for the EPT win. The players and chip counts were as follows:

Seat 1: Eric Liu                1,308,000
Seat 2: Johannes Strassmann       434,000
Seat 3: Philippe D'Auteuil           476,000
Seat 4: Antony Lellouche        1,022,000
Seat 5: Michael Tureniec        1,331,000
Seat 6: Alan Smurfit               396,000
Seat 7: Marcin Horecki               309,000
Seat 8: Michael Martin               718,000

Tureniec would take the lead into the final table, but Liu was close behind, and Lellouche was hanging in with over a million. But most of the finalists were pros and knew what to do to stay in the game. Upon getting some rest, they would all return the following day to the final table of the EPT London.

(Thanks to PokerNews and PokerStars for detailed hand and chip count information from live updates.)

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