Players proved that the Deauville, France stop on the PokerStars.com European Poker Tour is one of the most popular by showing up in droves for the Season 6 tournament. Despite the rain, the quaint French town saw the poker community travel from all over the world to play in the €5,300 No-Limit Hold’em tournament on January 20, 2010, in such numbers that the original cap of 600 players was lifted after organizers saw the demand for seats on the first of two starting days.
Day 1A brought 339 players to the tables at Casino Barriere, and among them were many of PokerStars’ biggest names. And though a pause in the late evening action for players to accept their French Poker Awards honors held up the action for awhile, it all ended with 186 players still in the running. When the chips were counted, it was a PokerStars qualifier, Robert Cezarescu from Romania, who held the lead with 216,900 chips. Andrew Cheel Teng came up in second place, while Vladimir Geshkenbein, Corneliu Cretu, and Tony Fabien rounded out the top five.
Day 1B brought another 429 players to the casino for live tournament action, which brought the registration total to 768, which far and away beat the previous year’s record of 645. That 768-player field then calculated a prize pool of €3,686,400, out of which 104 players would be paid and the ultimate winner would take home €847,000. And when the second starting day was complete, there were 209 remaining with PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano in the lead with 193,100 chips. Joann Lenne was just behind with 187,800, and the rest of the top five were Ludovic Lacay, Goghan Seref Soysan, and Freddy Deeb.
The field of 395 survivors combined to start Day 2 of the tournament, though the majority of them didn’t make it through. Along the way, players like Arnaud Mattern, Jean-Robert Bellande, Katja Thater, Alex Kravchenko, and EPT Prague champion Jan Skampa (http://pokerworks.com/poker-news/2009/12/07/2nd-consecutive-final-table-jan-skampa-wins-ept-prague.html) were eliminated. But there were 133 who did live to see another tournament day, and it was Nicolas Levi atop the leaderboard with 648,500 when play ceased. George Claudius Secara was behind in second place, and Ludovic Lacay, Stefan Fuchs, and Benjamin Juhasz completed the top five list of players.
The goal of Day 3 was to play down to a 24-player field, and though it took quite a long time, it eventually happened. Action started with 133 players, and the first of it saw Jude Ainsworth and Juha Helppi leave before the money bubble. When hand-for-hand got underway, several exciting hands played out with no eliminations before the final one took place. That happened when short-stacked Daniel Millar was in the small blind and faced with a Peter Eastgate all-in raise before him. Millar called with , which looked good when Eastgate turned over . The board came , and the pair of fours for Eastgate busted Millar, who left the tournament on the money bubble. Everyone else was guaranteed a minimum payout of €8,100.
Richard Jerome Leblanc was the first to cash, and other notables who made trips to the cashier cage throughout the afternoon and evening included Davidi Kitai, Patrick Bruel, Luca Pagano, Patrick Bueno, Dario Minieri, Ludovic Lacay, Nicolas Levi, and Shane Schleger. Eventually, the elimination of Stephan Fuchs in 25th place ended action for the day with Teodor Caraba in top position with 3,220,000 chips, followed by Hugo Lemair and his 2,301,000 stack. The rest of the top five were Mike McDonald, Peter Eastgate, and George Claudius.
The 24 players who began Day 4 were in for a rough one as they battled for seats at the final table. The first to exit the field was Andras Nemeth, and other recognizable faces who left soon after included Bruno Fitoussi in 14th place, Freddy Deeb in 12th, and Alexia Portal in tenth. Out of the nine players remaining, three of them had stacks under 1 million, and Bertrand Grospellier was one of them. He pushed all-in with but found that Teodor Caraba called with pocket aces. The board came down , which left “Elky” on the rail. Grospellier finished in ninth place with €51,500.
It was then that the final table was established, with chip counts and seating assignments as follows:
Seat 1: Claudiu Secara (Romania) 795,000
Seat 2: Jake Cody (UK) 4,650,000
Seat 3: Michael Fratty (France) 1,595,000
Seat 4: Teodor Caraba (Romania) 6,915,000
Seat 5: Peter Eastgate (Denmark) 695,000
Seat 6: Craig Bergeron (USA) 3,135,000
Seat 7: Stephane Albertini (France) 3,555,000
Seat 8: Mike McDonald (Canada) 1,815,000
Action started courtesy of Eastgate, who pushed all-in with his short stack but found no callers. That worked a second time as well, which put him in seventh chip position. Then it was McDonald, who was able to double through Albertini to sit with a new stack of over 3 million chips.
Eastgate made another attempt, this time with pocket tens but found Bergeron ready to call from the small blind with . Eastgate had the upper hand only until the flop came , which left him with few outs. The turn of the didn’t fit into that category, nor did the on the river. Peter Eastgate was eliminated in eighth place with €70,000.
Bergeron took some hits going forward, as Caraba took a big pot from him and Albertini doubled through him. At the same time, Secara was moving up the leaderboard by doubling through Albertini and McDonald.
But it was Fratty who decided to move next. With only 1.24 million left, he pushed with , but original raiser Cody immediately called with pocket kings. Fratty found some hope on the flop, but the turn and river only improved Cody’s hand. That left Michael Fratty out of the tournament in seventh place with €92,000.
The double-ups became even more frequent, as Secara did it through McDonald, Bergeron through Caraba, and McDonald through Cody. The chips changed hands at a fast pace.
Albertini was the victim of several double-ups early in the day and finally decided to attempt one of his own. When Cody pushed all-in from the small blind, Albertini decided to call all-in for his tournament life from the big blind with . Little could he have known that Cody would flip over pocket aces. The board came , which left Stephane Albertini to head to the cashier cage for the €129,000 to signify his sixth place finish.
Secara was the next to attempt a recovery from some earlier hits. With only 910K remaining, he pushed all-in with pocket jacks, but McDonald quickly called with pocket kings. The board was an uneventful , which eliminated Claudius Secara in fifth place with €165,000.
Cody found a great deal of momentum in the next few rounds that saw him double through Bergeron and McDonald in two separate hands. He then doubled through Bergeron again, which put him up to the 7 million chip range and left Bergeron with about 425K and a very desperate position.
Bergeron tried to come back and was able to double once through McDonald to stay alive. But with little more than 1 million chips, another attempt was in order. He started the hand with a raise, but when Cody reraised all-in, Bergeron called for his remaining chips holding . Cody turned over the , which only improved on the flop. And the on the turn gave him trips, while Bergeron watched his hopes fall to the rail with the on the river. Craig Bergeron left the tournament in fourth place with €221,000.
Three-handed action began with nearly identical chip stacks: McDonald with 7.94 million, Caraba with 7.49 million, and Cody holding 7.32 million. As time passed, Caraba climbed into the lead while his opponents lost ground. After a 3-million-plus chip pot courtesy of Cody, Caraba went to the dinner break with almost 11 million, Cody sat with more than 7 million, and McDonald was the short stack with 4.43 million.
Upon the players’ return from the evening meal, McDonald decided to start his push with a preflop raise, but when Caraba pushed all-in, McDonald called for his tournament life with pocket jacks. Caraba showed and hit his magic card on the flop of . The on the turn and on the river left McDonald out of the game, and he received €295,000 for the third place finish.
Heads-up play began with the following chip counts:
Teodor Caraba 14,860,000
Jake Cody 7,880,000
Cody used some selective aggression to slowly chip up, but then the action got out of control.
Cody put it all at risk with pocket eights, and Caraba had only , which didn’t translate into a better hand on the board. That allowed Cody to take a massive lead with nearly 20 million in chips, and Caraba was relegated to just under 3 million.
But then it was Caraba’s turn. He doubled with over the of Cody when a six came on the flop. Caraba did it a second time when triumphed over .
With stacks close to even, it was left to one final hand. Caraba raised, Cody reraised, and Caraba pushed all-in for 9.54 million. Cody called with a quickness holding pocket kings, and Caraba showed for only a few outs. The board dramatically came , and Teodor Caraba was forced to accept second place and the €516,000 that went with it.
Jake Cody, a 20-year old from the UK, won the EPT Deauville title, which came with a PokerStars trophy and a whopping €847,000.