The turnout at the Grosvenor Victoria Casino in London for the European Poker Tour’s London stop was indicative of the excitement surrounding Season 5 of the EPT. Though the event was originally capped at 500 players, so many players turned out that the organizers decided to allow alternates and accommodate those wanting to register. In the end, that number was 596.
The massive field was typical of the EPT, a heavy European contingent with a spattering of some of the most well-known live and online pros in the world. And when it came down to the final table of eight who would fight for victory on Day 4 of the tournament, the young Europeans definitely outweighed the presence of that of the Americans (Martin and Liu) and the seasoned pro (Smurfit). Details of the table 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
Antony Lellouche looked solid at the start of play on October 5th with a third place chip count, but it wouldn’t take long before he began to fall. On the very first hand, it was Lellouche as the aggressor when he picked up pocket fours, and Philippe D’Auteuil called all-in with A-K offsuit. Both players had a club, and when four more clubs fell on the board, D’Auteuil’s king of clubs was the better and gave him a double-up. Lellouche also lost another all-in when his sevens went up against the pocket aces of Johannes Strassmann. Those two hands reduced Lellouche to only 222,000.
Lellouche then took his final stack all-in preflop with and found a caller in Strassmann, who was holding . The board came , and the spade flush belonged to Strassmann. The 8th place finish worth £81,569 belonged to Lellouche.
After Alan Smurfit doubled through Michael Tureniec, the next slew of doubles involved Strassmann. The action was fast and furious as Marcin Horecki doubled through Strassmann, as did Michael Martin. Though Strassmann was on the winning end of one double-up opportunity against Eric Liu when his tens held up against the A-Q of Liu, Horecki struck again and doubled through Strassmann, leaving the latter with only 370K.
Strassmann then called all-in after Michael Martin pushed preflop. Strassmann had pocket jacks, and Martin had the overcards with . The board came , and Martin took the pot. Strassmann took 7th place and the £120,723 that came with it.
With several players struggling to stay in contention, it was Eric Liu who steadily climbed, despite doubling up a short stack here or there. He soared above the 2 million chip mark at a point when no other player remaining could surpass 1 million.
The eldest and most experienced member of the final table had been unable to gather much momentum as the action went along, and with only 185,000 left, Alan Smurfit pushed preflop on the button with . Martin called from the small blind with pocket jacks, and the board came . Smurfit was eliminated in 6th place with a £153,351 consolation prize.
D’Auteuil was struggling, especially when his stack shrunk to 165K after doubling up Horecki. D’Auteuil was able to double through Tureniec, though, with only against the of his opponent. The dealer gave them some exciting cards with , and the flush on the river trumped Tureniec’s two flopped pair.
Though D’Auteuil was gaining some ground, he looked down at pocket eights and couldn’t resist moving all-in. But Horecki had kings and pushed to isolate, and the two were heads-up. The board brought an uneventful , and it was all over for Philippe D’Auteuil in 5th place with £195,766.
The chip counts moving into four-handed action had Liu boasting of an ever-commanding lead with nearly 2.9 million. Martin was a distant second with barely more than 1 million, Horecki had a bit less, and Tureniec was holding steady with just less than 600K.
Horecki made a run for it. After steadily chipping up, he got involved in a big hand with Liu. After seeing a flop of K-8-7 with a Q on the turn, Liu bet, and Horecki check-raised all-in with K-10. Liu called with the A-10 of hearts, but the 5 on the turn didn’t fulfill the flush or the straight, and Horecki’s top pair held up to give him the chip lead with 2,162,000, and Liu was relegated to a close second with just over 2 million.
Liu took a turn for the worse. Tureniec doubled through Liu, pushing the latter down to just under 495K. While Liu did manage to double through Michael Martin, it wasn’t enough to get him back to the top. He got aggressive with his 1.5 million chips and pushed it all-in with , but Martin, who had climbed back from 100K to be able to cover Liu’s bet, called with . The board came , and the set of aces took it down. Eric Liu was gone in 4th place with a £234,920 prize.
Three-handed action began with Martin as the significant chip leader with 2.62 million. Marcin Horecki was looking to knock Martin out of that top spot and moved all-in from the button with . But Martin called from the small blind with . The board ran out , and though the turn gave Horecki hope, the river knocked him out in 3rd place, which was worth £303,439.
Heads-up play began with the following chip counts:
Michael Martin 4,800,000
Michael Tureniec 1,205,000
Tureniec doubled through his chip-leading opponent as action got underway, when his A-J found two more aces on the flop to beat the pocket sevens of Martin. Martin maintained his lead for some time, though Tureniec slowly but surely inched ahead of him at one point. But Martin stayed aggressive and took those chips back.
Finally, as Martin looked to seal the deal, he pushed all-in with pocket fours. Tureniec called with , and the two competitors saw the board produce . The turn was exactly what Martin hoped for, and with the full house hitting on the river, Michael Tureniec was eliminated in 2nd place and awarded £525,314 for his efforts.
Michael Martin, one of only two American players at the final table, claimed victory at the EPT London for the massive £1 million first prize and the title.
(Thanks to PokerNews and PokerStars for detailed hand and chip count information from live updates.)