It is a favorite stop of many on the PokerStars -sponsored European Poker Tour, and Vilamoura, Portugal, was on the schedule again at the beginning of Season 7 of the EPT. Players came from around the world to descend upon the Algarve resort to participate in the €5,300 buy-in Main Event, and it looked from the beginning as if the record from 2009 of 322 players and a €1.5 million prize pool would be broken yet again.
The first of two starting days brought 181 players to the tables inside the resort, and among them were names like Dario Minieri, Arnaud Mattern, Vicky Coren, John Duthie, Annette Obrestad, Antonio Esfandiari, James Dempsey, Ludovic Lacay, Alex Kravchenko, and English football star Teddy Sheringham. When all was said and done, there were only 102 players still standing at the end of the day, and it was Andre Coimbra in the lead with 157,600 chips. Paul Foltyn was right behind with 145,900, and the rest of the top five included Toby Lewis, and the aforementioned Minieri and Esfandiari.
Day 1B added another 203 players to the field, which made the grand total 384 players, well over the total for the year before. And the final figure of the prize pool came to €1,862,400, out of which the final 56 players would be paid and the ultimate winner would take home the substantial amount of €467,835. Some of the better known names at the tables on the second starting day were Daniel Negreanu, David Williams, Bertrand Grospellier, Andy Black, Tom Marchese, Jeff Sarwer, Luca Pagano, Liv Boeree, Rob Hollink, Carter Phillips, Noah Boeken, reigning champion Antonio Matias, and field hockey star Fatima Moreira de Melo. There were only 119 players remaining to bag their chips at the end of the night, though, and Leonid Bilokur had the most with 161,200 chips. Second was Nic Heather with 140,800, and others in the top five were Danny Neess, Samuel Tricket, and Sorel Mizzi.
Day 2 started with 221 survivors from the first two days of play, but the majority of them fell by the rail as the action progressed. Some heading out of the tournament area for good today included David Williams, Dario Minieri, Liv Boeree, Vicky Coren, John Duthie, Lex Veldhuis, Fatima Moreira de Melo, Pieter de Korver, Sebastian Ruthenberg, and the 2009 winner Antonio Matias. When the required levels were completed for the day, only 70 were still standing, and it was Brandon Cantu atop the leaderboard with 557,400 chips, followed by Andre Coimbra with 476,400 chips. The top five was rounded out by Johan Berg, Sam Trickett, and Grzegorz Cichocki.
Day 3 began with 70 players but quickly worked its way toward the money, though players like Stephen Chidwick and Arnaud Mattern failed to make it that far. And action sped up so much that hand-for-hand didn’t even get underway, as the bubble was being taken care of when Ayaz Sadrudin Manji was all-in with on a flop, but Martin Jacobson was there with . The turn and river eliminated Manji on the bubble. The remaining 56 players were in the money, and the cash was being doled out to players like Joe Ebanks for 56th place, Nuno Coelho in 54th, Luca Pagano in 52nd, Andre Coimbra in 49th, Brandon Cantu in 36th, Marcin Horecki in 35th, Toni Ojala in 31st, JP Kelly in 29th, and William Thorson in 26th. With the elimination of Jonas Toth in 25th place, action stopped for the night with Martin Jacobson in the lead with 1,362,000 chips. Marco Leonzio followed with 778K, and the rest of the top five included Guillermo Garcia, Sam Trickett, and Rob Hollink.
Day 4 kicked off with 24 players, all hoping to survive to make it to the final table. But as the day progressed, players hit the rail quickly. It started with Carolyn Gray in 24th place, and some who followed included Kevin O’Donnell in 22nd and Fabrizio Ascari in tenth. Ultimately, with all players seated together at one table, it came time for Erik van den Berg to make the all-in move for his last 128K with , and Toby Lewis made the call with . The board came , and the king took the pot while van den Berg departed in ninth place with €27,936.
That left just eight players for the official final table, and it was set to start the following day with these chip counts:
|Seat 1: ||Teddy Sheringham ||1,783,000 |
|Seat 2: ||Toby Lewis ||3,322,000 |
|Seat 3: ||Martin Jacobson ||441,000 |
|Seat 4: || Jason Lee ||1,167,000 |
|Seat 5: ||Sergio Coutinho ||872,000 |
|Seat 6: ||Sam Trickett ||3,318,000 |
|Seat 7: ||Rob Hollink ||259,000 |
|Seat 8: ||Frederik Jensen ||375,000 |
On September 2, players took their seats and began play that would take some down a rocky path. Trickett had the roughest time of it, though he started out by taking over the chip lead after the first two pots, but Jensen proceeded to double through him twice. The second time put Jensen up over the 1 million mark, while Trickett dropped to 2.5 million.
Coutinho attempted his double-up by pushing his last 200K all-in with , but Trickett had a good feeling and pushed all-in over the top, which prompted big blind Rob Hollink to fold. Trickett showed a dominating , and that hand held up as the board came . Sergio Countinho, representing as the sole player from Portugal at the table, exited in eighth place with €37,248.
Hollink was down to a very short stack of only 151K and made his all-in move with . Sheringham called with and only improved on the flop. The on the turn gave Hollink the pair of eights and some hope, but the on the river ended it. Rob Hollink headed to the cashier cage to pick up €55,872 for his seventh place finish.
More double-ups ensued. Jacobson did it through Trickett, as did Jensen, and those hits put Trickett under the 2 million mark. Lee then doubled through Jensen.
It was not a surprise when Jensen made another move. He pushed all-in from the small blind with , and original raiser Jacobson called with . The board came , and the pocket pair held up to take down the pot. Frederik Jensen took leave of the table in sixth place with €74,496.
Five-handed play began with Lewis in the chip lead with 4.2 million, one of the quietest players at the table who had chipped up without much fanfare thus far. Lee held second place with 1.8 million, and Trickett and Sheringham were not far behind. Jacobson had 1.5 million to round out the group of five, but a short time later, he doubled through Trickett to climb up the leaderboard. And Lee proceeded to do the same, doubling through Trickett. Even so, Trickett managed to accumulate chips when necessary and actually climb into second place, though he soon fell back to the short stack, courtesy of a hand with Jacobson.
The next to be at risk, however, was Sheringham. The hand started with Sheringham and Jacobson going to see a flop of . They checked to the on the turn, at which point Sheringham bet, Jacobson raised, and Sheringham reraised all-in. Jacobson immediately called with for the flopped straight, and Sheringham could only show the for two pair. The came on the river, sending Jacobson another pot and now the chip lead, while fan-favorite Teddy Sheringham exited in fifth place with €93,120.
A few minutes later, the spotlight was on Trickett as it had been so many times that day. Lewis started the hand with a raise, and Jacobson raised it up. Trickett came over the top all-in from the big blind for 1.37 million chips. Lewis didn’t hesitate to fold, but Jacobson considered his options and ultimately called with . Trickett showed , and the race was on…until the flop came and caught Jacobson to give him the pair of jacks. The on the turn and on the river ended it right there, and Sam Trickett was ousted from the tournament in fourth place, though he took with him €139,680 as a consolation prize.
It didn’t take long from there to see Lee make his move, and he did it with . But none other than Jacobson was there with . The board of brought no hearts or fives, only a ten to give Jacobson an even better hand. That left Jason Lee eliminated in third place with €186,240.
Heads-up action then got underway with the following chip counts:
|Martin Jacobson ||7,075,000 |
|Toby Lewis ||4,405,000 |
Lewis took the reins during the beginning of the match and won some significant pots to not only even the numbers but jump into the chip lead. Jacobson was faltering and couldn’t seem to gain any momentum.
That was until Jacobson decided to risk it all with pocket sevens against the A-8 offsuit of Lewis. The board of J-K-3-J-4 allowed Jacobson to double-up and even the stacks. But Lewis continued to keep an edge on his opponent. And both players decided to speed up the action by requesting that levels be changed to 30 minutes instead of the 75 minutes that had been the norm thus far. Their wish was granted.
Moments later, though, it was over. A raise and call led the two players to a flop of , at which point they both checked and saw a appear on the turn. Jacobson bet, Lewis raised, and Jacobson reraised. Lewis pushed it up again to more than 2 million, and Jacobson responded with an all-in move. Lewis called with for the set, and Jacobson showed for the two pair. The on the river changed nothing except to give Lewis the full house, and Martin Jacobson was out in second place with €297,984.
Toby Lewis claimed the second EPT title of Season 7, and he was awarded €467,835 for the accomplishment.