It has grown to be one of the most popular stops on the PokerStars.net European Poker Tour, and each season seems to bring even more players to the small coastal town in Northwestern Italy of San Remo. And the Season 6 EPT stop in San Remo was even bigger than anticipated. It is a testament to the Casino Municipale as much as San Remo and the ever-growing popularity of the EPT.
Day 1A of the second-last stop on the current season’s schedule brought a whopping 585 players to the tables in only the first of two starting days. Among the players were names like Dario Minieri, Ludovic Lacay, Isabelle Mercier, Antony Lellouche, Luca Pagano, Arnaud Mattern, Chad Brown, William Thorson, Humberto Brenes, and Mike McDonald. And it was on that day that a unique rule was implemented and noticed among players. Per Italian regulations, they were not allowed to display online poker brands for sites that were not licensed in the country of Italy, meaning that PokerStars was allowed - they do sponsor the tournament - but others were denied unless the online poker company was licensed with a .it website. But despite the strict rule, it did not seem to dissuade anyone from making the trip to San Remo. And when the day was done, a total of 276 earned the right to play another day. The chip leader was Alexey Rybin with 213,100 chips, and Manuel Coppola was close behind with 212,000 chips.
Day 1B brought another 655 players into the mix, which made for a total field of 1,240 players who hailed from 44 countries. After calculating the €5,300 buy-ins from everyone, the prize pool was determined to be a whopping €6,014,000, which would be used to pay 184 finishers and award €1,250,000 to the ultimate winner. The numbers not only set a record for the most players at San Remo but for the most in any EPT event in Europe.
Among those at the tables were a number of players who had been stranded in London. Due to volcanic ash in the air from a recent eruption in Iceland, flights out of London and Paris were canceled for several days. Thus, poker players from all walks decided to find alternate modes of transportation. Some, like Marc Goodwin and friends, were stuck in Paris and eventually got on a train to Nice and then took cabs to San Remo. But PokerStars aided a large group stuck in London, including Jason Mercier, Peter Eastgate, and Barry Greenstein, by renting a massive bus to transport them to San Remo, a trip with reportedly took about 20 hours. The tournament staff allowed registration to stay open quite a bit past the designated time to accommodate all of the players who overcame flight issues to play in the event.
When the day was all said and done, though, there were 344 players left standing. And atop the leaderboard was Michael Eerhart with a stack of 247,800 chips, though not far behind was EPT star Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, who bagged a total of 232,200 chips.
Day 3 brought a huge hit to the size of the field, as there were 627 players to start and only 194 when it ended after the standard six levels of play. Obviously, the vast majority of the players did not survive the day, and some of those who made their way to the exit were Pieter de Korver, Lex Veldhuis, JP Kelly, Dario Minieri, Andre Akkari, Sandra Naujoks, Liz Lieu, Kevin MacPhee, Antony Lellouche, Moritz Kranich, Humberto Brenes, and the day’s initial chip leader Michael Eerhart. When those 194 chip bags were counted, it was Dmitry Stelmak with 670,000 chips and the overall lead, and he was followed by Alexander Roumeliotis and his 633,500 chips.
Day 4 was the money day. Starting with 194 players, the field was only ten spots from the guaranteed payouts of €7,500 each. It took only minutes to reach the 186-player mark, at which point hand-for-hand play ensued. And though it took a few dramatic hands, the bubble finally burst. The reporters caught the action on a flop, at which time Michael Robinson was all-in with for two pair and Michael Piper had him covered with pocket aces and the set. The on the turn and on the river gave both players full houses but Piper with the top one, eliminating Robinson on the bubble. Rainer Artur Meyer became the first person to cash in 184th place, and he was followed by some notables like Jude Ainsworth in 171st place, Dennis Waterman in 165th, Danny Ryan in 163rd, Nacho Barbero in 162nd, Bertrand Grospellier in 144th, Quinn Do in 140th, Sebastian Ruthenberg in 122nd, Arnaud Mattern in 113th, Jason Mercier in 100th, Peter Hudlund in 91st, Dan Shak in 84th, Thomas Bichon in 77th, and Chris Bjorn in 68th. When only 66 players remained, play was halted for the day. Jakob Karlsson was the chip leader with 1.8 million chips, and following in second place was Kadir Karabulut with 1,577,000.
On Monday, April 19, play resumed, and the first player to be eliminated was Fabrizio Ascari in 66th place, and other familiar names that followed throughout the day included Joe Serock in 65th, Dag Martin Mikkelsen in 43rd, Nick Schulman in 42nd, and Harrison Gimbel in 39th. And with the bustout of Gijs Verheijen in 25th place, action was stopped after a rather quick few hours of play. The chip leader of the final 24 players was Allan Baekke, who only recently won the inaugural EPT Snowfest, with 3,483,000 chips. And holding on to second place was Dermot Blain with 2,568,000 chips.
Day 5 started with those 24 players, though Paul Valkenburg didn’t stay long, as he was the first player to go, taking home €30,000 for the 24th place finish. As the day progressed with the intention of playing down to the final table of eight, some of the notables exiting included Jens Thorson in 22nd place, Thang Duc Nguyen in 18th, and Allan Baekke in 12th. After Dmitry Stelmak left in tenth place, it took about an hour to eliminate one more player, and it happened when Claudio Rinaldi pushed all-in preflop with against the of Jakob Carlsson. The board came to give Carlsson the full house, and Rinaldi was ousted in ninth place with €63,500.
With eight players remaining, action stopped and the final eight players were set to return on April 21 to play for the win. Their starting chip stacks and seating assignments were as follows:
|Seat 1: ||Claudio Piceci ||4,460,000 |
|Seat 2: ||Alexey Rybin ||1,890,000 |
|Seat 3: ||Atanas Gueorguiev ||2,520,000 |
|Seat 4: ||Jakob Carlsson ||13,525,000 |
|Seat 5: ||Guiseppe Diep ||1,830,000 |
|Seat 6: ||Liv Boeree ||3,440,000 |
|Seat 7: ||Toni Pettersson ||5,035,000 |
|Seat 8: ||Michael Piper ||4,600,000 |
Action began with Rybin looking to make moves and finally doubling through Pettersson to stay alive.
The next to put himself at risk was Gueorguiev, whose preflop raising war with Pettersson prompted Gueorguiev to battle with pocket nines. Pettersson was all-in with , and the board hit him on the flop. The on the turn and on the river gave the pot to Pettersson for the double-up. And it left Gueorguiev with little more than 200K chips. Those went all-in on the very next hand, and Carlsson and Rybin went along to see the flop. When Rybin bet out, Carlsson folded, and Rybin showed to the of Gueorguiev. The turn and river gave Rybin the flush, and Atanas Gueorguiev was eliminated in eighth place with €90,000.
Piceci tangled with Carlsson on a flop. They both checked to the turn. Carslsson led out with a bet, and Piceci check-raised. Carlsson called, and the was delivered on the river. Piceci made his all-in move for 1,610,000 chips, and though Carlsson considered it for quite awhile, he finally called with A-2 of unknown suits. The pair of aces was good enough to take the pot as Piceci showed and left the tournament in seventh place with €150,000.
Pettersson doubled through Carlsson to keep his tournament going, though the latter maintained a solid lead over the rest of the players at the table.
Diep, on the other hand, was a short stack and decided to push all-in for his last 1,235,000 from the small blind. Original raiser Piper made the call with pocket tens, and Diep had to show . The flop of gave Diep a pair, and the gave him flush outs, but the squashed his hopes of a double-up. Guiseppe Diep was eliminated in sixth place with €210,000.
Rybin was ready for more action, this time battling preflop with Piper and Carlsson, though a big reraise from Carlsson forced Piper out of the way. The two took a look at the flop, and Carlsson put out another large bet. Rybin considered his options and check-raised all-in with for top pair. But Carlsson called with pocket jacks and the overpair. The on the turn and on the river ended that match, and Alexey Rybin was sent away with €270,000 for the fifth place finish.
Carlsson was on a heater, so it didn’t seem like much of a stretch to see him involved with another all-in player. The hand started with a raise from Carlsson and call from Pettersson, but Piper reraised from the big blind, pushing all-in for 4,695,000 chips with . Carlsson made the call with , and Pettersson folded out of the madness. The flop came to solidify Carlsson’s lead, and the turn changed nothing. The on the river gave Carlsson the full house, and Michael Piper left the table in fourth place with €345,000.
Three-handed play started with Carlsson holding approximately 25 million chips, while Pettersson claimed 6 million and Boeree held on to 5.5 million. But things were about to change.
Pettersson doubled through Carlsson. Boeree doubled through Pettersson, and winning a small battle with Carlsson put her at the 14 million mark while Carlsson dropped to 17 million, though Pettersson doubled through Boeree to push her back down to 8 million. But the last female standing was not giving up, and a double-up through Carlsson pushed her back above 10 million.
Finally, it was Pettersson’s turn to move again, though the hand started with a simple raise from Pettersson, big blind raise from Boeree, and call. The flop of prompted a bet from Boeree and raise to 3.2 million from Pettersson. Boeree assessed the situation and moved all-in. Pettersson called all-in for his tournament life with for top pair, but Boeree confidently turned over the pocket threes and the set. The came on the turn to change nothing, and the did the same on the river. Toni Pettersson headed to the cashier cage to gather €420,000 for the third place finish.
After a short break, heads-up play started with the following counts:
|Liv Boeree ||23,215,000 |
|Jakob Carlsson ||14,065,000 |
The match got underway with Boeree taking down the first pot, but Carlsson put the pressure on and took subsequent pots to even the chip counts. And when Carlsson looked to take a sizable pot to the limit with an all-in move, Boeree folded and gave up the chip lead.
But Boeree was far from done. She evened the stacks again and eventually regained the lead. And a subsequent pot - with a board of and a bet from Boeree, raise from Carlsson, and all-in reraise from Boeree - when Carlsson couldn’t commit for the rest of his chips. That gave Boeree 28 million and Carlsson 9 million going into a mandatory dinner break.
When the two returned, both players took it slow, folding to raises preflop. But shortly into the resumed match, a big hand developed. Boeree made the preflop raise, and Carlsson pushed all-in for his last 6.35 million chips with . Boeree called with . The race was on, but the board came to give no relief to Jakob Carlsson, who finished the tournament in second place with €750,000 to show for it.
Liv Boeree won the biggest EPT tournament ever held on European soil and became only the third woman to ever win an EPT Main Event, following Victoria Coren and Sandra Naujoks . For the San Remo victory, Boeree was awarded a PokerStars trophy, entry into the Grand Finale to be held next week in Monte Carlo, and €1,250,000 in prize money.