The second stop on the PokerStars.com European Poker Tour’s sixth season was Barcelona, Spain, and many pros on the tournament circuit list it as one of their favorites. Not only do they seem to enjoy playing poker at the Casino Barcelona, but most of them plan to spend extra time in the city to enjoy the nightlife, food, and history of the city. But as far as the EPT was concerned, there was a tournament to play, and it kicked off on Friday, September 4th.
As the first of two starting days got underway, the tables filled with 209 players, including such names as Roland de Wolfe, Jason Mercier, Katja Thater, Arnaud Mattern, Jesper Hougaard, Johnny Lodden, Leo Margets, Freddy Deeb, Casey Kastle, Luca Pagano, November Nine member Joe Cada, and defending champion Sebastian Ruthenberg. The latter was one of the last eliminations of the day, and only 117 players were still standing with Diego Arias Rodriguez as the chipleader with a stack of 190,000.
There were 270 players on the second starting day, making for a total field of 479 players and a prize pool of €3,832,000 for the last 72 competitors standing. Among the Day 1B players were “Miami” John Cernuto, Lex Veldhuis, Julian Thew , Robert Mizrachi, Daniel Negreanu, Pieter De Korver, Carlos Mortensen, Peter Eastgate, Boris Becker, Dario Minieri, Noah Boeken, Alex Kravchenko, Mel Judah, Ben Kang, Sandra Naujoks, and David Williams. And when the chips were bagged at the end of the day, Matt Woodward was the chipleader with more than 200K.
Day 2 began with 240 players returning to the felt, and some of the biggest names left early, like Freddy Deeb, Daniel Negreanu, Sandra Naujoks, and Leo Margets. And though players were eliminated throughout the evening, it wasn’t until the fifth level of the day that the money bubble approached. Lex Veldhuis lost ground throughout the day and busted just before the bubble, after which one player’s A-3 found itself up against the A-Q of an opponent. The A-3 player was out in 73rd place, and the 72 remaining found Matt Lapossie as their chipleader with 705,000, followed by Carter Philips with 500,000 and Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier holding about 425,000.
Day 3 thinned the field from its original 72 players, all of whom were in the money, down to only 23. Malte Strothmann was the first to go, earning €12,000 for his three days of play. Other big names to fall throughout the day and evening were Thayer Rasmussen in 70th place, Noah Boeken in 58th, Matt Woodward in 47th, and Lars Bonding in 27th. The intention to end with 24 players was usurped by the fact that Samer Rahman was ousted in 25th and Pontus Kers in 24th at the same time, and the action was stopped there. Georgios Kapalas was the chipleader with 1,724,000 chips, followed by Matt Lapossie and his stack of 1,664,000.
Those 23 players returned for Day 4 and immediately found Adam Markovits out in 23rd place, followed soon after by Bertrand Grospellier in 19th place, Patrick Bueno in 17th, and Roland de Wolfe in 15th. After Mike McDonald exited in 11th place and Cornel Cimpan in tenth, the official final table bubble was at hand. It took some time, but eventually Marc Goodwin raised and Julien Nuijten pushed all-in for his last 750K. Goodwin called with , and Nuijten showed . While it looked good for a double-up, the flop of changed all that. The turn and river then ended it and sent Nuitjen out in ninth place with €50,000 for the bubble.
The final table was then set for the next day as follows:
Seat 1: Georgios Kapalas 826,000
Seat 2: Mihai Manole 410,000
Seat 3: Santiago Terrazas 546,000
Seat 4: Asa Smith 1,380,000
Seat 5: Carter Phillips 4,421,000
Seat 6: Matt Lapossie 2,938,000
Seat 7: Toni Ojala 754,000
Seat 8: Marc Goodwin 3,100,000
Play began with an immediate double-up for the short stack, as Manole doubled through Phillips to stay alive. Soon after, Terrazas and Smith both doubled through Lapossie to do the same.
Kapalas made his attempt as well, pushing all-in from the big blind for his 695K stack with . But Goodwin made the call holding , and the board came to uphold his hand with . Georgeios Kapalas hit the rail in eighth place with €80,000 for coming to the final table.
Lapossie came in with a rather large stack of chips but slowly let it evaporate with players doubling through him. His want to play a great many pots resulted in him losing many of his chips and finally moving all-in with . Ojala called with pocket queens, and the board supported that decision when the flop came . The on the turn and the unknown river card eliminated Matt Lapossie in seventh place with €120,000.
Speaking of Ojala, who had a very decent stack and was not in jeopardy, decided to risk it all. The hand started with Manole putting in a small raise, Phillips calling, and Ojala making a reraise. Manole got out of the way, and Phillips pushed it up again. Ojala then moved all-in with pocket queens, but was dismayed to see that Phillips was ready to call immediately with pocket aces. The uneventful board came , and Toni Ville Ojala was ousted in sixth place with €160,000.
The very short stacks again found opportunities to double up, Smith through Phillips and Manole through Goodwin. But Smith tried it again a bit later, pushing all-in from the small blind with . Phillips made the call from the big blind with , and though the flop brought drawing hopes for Smith, the turn and river ended those hopes and gave Phillips the pot. Asa Smith was eliminated in fifth place with €200,000.
The two dominant forces at the table got involved, as Phillips and Goodwin put money in the pot on every street but the river on a board. When they checked the river, Phillips turned over J-8 to take the 2.16 million-chip pot and anger his opponent. Phillips then sat on more than 8 million chips and had a significant lead over the rest of the table.
Manole finally took another shot at an all-in move with , and Goodwin was the caller holding . While it looked good for that double-up, the board ran out to give Goodwin the last-minute flush. Mihai Manole was giveb his walking papers and €250,000 for the fourth place finish.
Terrazas finally made another move as well, though the hand started with him going to see a flop with Goodwin and Phillips. After the appeared, Phillips put out a bet that Goodwin called, but Terrazas check-raised all-in for 1.8 million. Phillips folded, but Goodwin called with , and his top pair was met by the flush draw of Terrazas. The turn brought the , and the river ended it with the . Santiago Terrazas missed the flush and accepted third place and the €300,000 that went with it.
Heads-up play began with the following counts:
Carter Phillips 8,010,000
Marc Goodwin 6,375,000
Goodwin made a valiant effort to come back from the deficit, though Phillips was a tough contender and made nothing easy for his opponent. Goodwin did manage to take the lead at one point, but Phillips chipped away at him again.
Goodwin made good on a double-up attempt when his flopped two pair against the middle pair of Phillips, and though that nearly evened the stacks, Goodwin found himself falling again.
Finally, after a long heads-up battle, the two players went to see a flop. Phillips bet out, and Goodwin check-raised to more than 1 million chips. Phillips called, and they watched the come on the turn. Goodwin immediately pushed all-in for his last 4 million chips, and though Phillips contemplated his options for a bit, he finally called and showed for top pair. Goodwin showed for the straight draw, which failed to come on the river. Marc Goodwin finished the tournament in second place with €530,000.
Carter Phillips, the 20-year old American, claimed victory at the EPT Barcelona, which came with a trophy and whopping €850,000 first place prize.