Deauville had been removed from the PokerStars.Com European Poker Tour schedule several years ago due to the ambiguity of French laws regarding poker, much to the dismay of players and media on the circuit. But the current season schedule added Deauville, and it became the first EPT stop of 2009. The excitement did not go without a corresponding registration number and poker stars from the world over.
Day 1a alone brought 312 players to the felt, and the group was not without recognizable faces like Bertrand Grospellier, Isabelle Mercier, Alex Kravchenko, Vicky Coren, Vanessa Rousso, Juha Helppi, Sebastian Ruthenberg, Jani Sointula, Carter Gill, Ludovic Lacay, Eric Haber, and Joao Barbosa. The eight levels of play resulted in a portion of them left to fight another day, and Jonathan Abdellatif led the 125-player pack with 105,000 chips. The others in the top five, in order of chip counts, were Guillaume de la Gorce, Manuel Bevand, Olivier da Silva, and Conor Crilly.
The second starting day brought an even bigger crowd to the Casino Barriere, as 343 players joined the tournament to make for a total field of 645. That put the prize pool over the €3 million mark, which would be reserved for the final 64 players. More big names could be seen, including Peter Eastgate, Freddy Deeb, Max Pescatori, Gavin Griffin, Bruno Fitoussi, Noah Boeken, Luca Pagano, Dario Minieri, David Ulliott, Davidi Kitai, Antony Lellouche, Julian Thew, Jon Van Fleet, and Maria Mayrinck. When it was said and done, Ulliott’s chips were counted and recounted, the latter of which put him into the chip lead for the day. He was followed by Alessio Isaia’s 104,500 chips, then by Joep van den Bijgaart, Arnaud Vicente, and Otto Richard.
Only 248 players returned to a combined Day 2 field, and it didn’t take long to get to the money bubble. During hand-for-hand play, Janek Schleicher pushed all-in with pocket sevens, but Arnaud Vicente called with pocket kings. The hand played out with nothing to help Schleicher, and he finished as the bubble player, allowing the rest of the field to cash in the EPT Deauville tournament.
Isabelle Mercier was the first notable to cash in the tournament, followed by Surinder Sunar in 62nd and Freddy Deeb in 56th. Play ended with 47 remaining and Moritz Kranich with his 517,500 chips giving him a dominating lead. Michael Abecassis was second in chips with 310K, and Arnaud Esquevin, Joep van den Bijgaart, and Bruno Haddad were the others in the top five.
Day 3 began with the final table in sight as players prepared to play down to the final eight. It was a day that saw Eric Haber depart in 25th place, David Ulliot exit in 23rd, and Alessio Isaia leave in 13th. Action was fairly quick and culminated in the departure of Jan Meinberg. He got all-in with against the pocket threes of Andrea Benelli, but the did nothing to improve his hand. Meinberg left in ninth place with €46,400 but on the final table bubble.
That left the final eight players to get a restful night before playing for the big money the following day. Their chip counts were:
Tristan Clemencon 1,731,000
Moritz Kranich 1,434,000
Andrea Benelli 1,195,000
Jorn Walthaus 539,000
Arnaud Esquevin 483,000
Jonathan Azoulay 426,000
Bruno Launais 402,000
Thomas Delatte 233,000
The five Frenchman came to the final table on January 24th in the hopes of keeping the Deauville title in France, but the players from Germany, Italy, and Holland had other plans. Despite the national pride on the line, though, it was not destined to be a long night.
Play got underway at 2:30pm local time with Delatte taking the first pot with an all-in move and no callers. But within 30 minutes, he found a caller. It was actually Launais who moved all-in preflop holding A-K and Delatte who called all-in with A-10. The flop came 9-Q-8, which gave Delatte some much needed outs, but the jack did not appear on the turn or river, and Thomas Delatte was the first to be eliminated from the final table, good for €77,400 for the eighth place finish.
Esquevin was the next short stack on the board, but he successfully doubled through Kranich to stay in the game. Esquevin then got involved with Launais preflop, which consisted of all of the latter’s chips being committed with A-7 offsuit to the A-K of Equevin. A king on the flop solidified the result, and Bruno Launais took leave of the tournament in seventh place with a €108,300 prize.
Jorn Walthaus was the next player to be on the chopping block, as he pushed all-in preflop with A-2, only to be called by Clemencon and his A-K. The flop came J-7-8, the turn was a 9, and the river was not what Walthaus needed, sending him home in sixth place with €142,400.
Moments later, Azoulay shoved all-in with J-8, and Andrea Benelli was there for the call with A-2. A jack on the flop was outdone by an accompanying ace, and the pot went to Benelli. Jonathan Azoulay was ousted in fifth place, which was worth €182,700.
Four-handed play saw Benelli in his newfound position as chip leader with 2.61 million to the 2.6 million of Clemencon. Kranich and Esquevin were equally in need of help with 650K each. The two chip leaders soon tangled though, and Clemencon took a 2.4 million-chip pot from Benelli. Soon after, Equevin doubled through Benelli, leaving the latter in a desperate situation.
Benelli pushed the remainder of his chips into the pot with and found two callers in Clemencon and Esquevin. The flop of prompted a check from both, but the on the turn brought a bet from Esquevin and fold from Clemencon. Esquevin showed his K-6 for trips, and the river couldn’t save Benelli from a fourth place elimination and €219,800 consolation prize.
Some time passed before the next elimination, and it was a bit of a surprise. Over the hour following Benelli’s departure from the final table, Clemencon lost a significant amount of chips - millions in fact. Finally, down to only 100K, Clemencon moved all-in with J-2 offsuit. After the 10-high flop and a bet from Kranich, Equevin folded to leave Kranich with his 10-8 hand in the lead. Clemencon caught no help on the rest of the board and left in third place with €284,800.
Heads-up play began with the following chip counts:
Moritz Kranich 5,550,000
Arnaud Esquevin 920,000
It took less than an hour for the two to battle it out, and Esquevin, despite his best efforts, could not get ahead in chips. Finally, Esquevin put his A-3 to work for all of his chips, but Kranich was there with A-7. The board came 9-10-6-5-A, and the Frenchman Arnaud Esquevin was forced to accept a second place finish and the €495,500 that went with it.
Moritz Kranich, an online qualifier from Germany took the EPT Deauville title, enormous trophy, and €851,400 in prize money for the feat.
(Thanks to PokerStars Blog for detailed tournament information.)