It’s been a busy weekend as several major poker tournament competitions drew to a close, with millions in prizes claimed by an international roster of final table players.
In London, the European Poker Tour main event was concluded at the Grand Connaught Rooms, with German student Sebastian Pauli dominating the final two days of the event despite formidable opposition that included two former EPT champions.
The final table provided a wealth of entertaining and exciting action for the railbirds and comprised Pauli leading a multi-national roster of talent that included Kevin MacPhee (USA), Kevin Killeen (Ireland), Artur Koren (Germany), Jake Cody (UK), Jakub Mroczek (Poland), Jonathan Bensadoun (France) and Pablo Gordillo (Spain).
Three handed play saw Pauli battling it out with the more experienced Killeen and MacPhee but more than holding his own. The trio tried but failed to reach agreement on a three-way chop, and Killeen departed later after being eliminated by MacPhee.
Heads up, Pauli held a chip lead of over 5 million, and he managed to maintain it despite strong comebacks from MacPhee that almost saw the chip stacks levelled at one point. However, Pauli continued to stave off the MacPhee assaults and regain his tight hold on the game to eventually score his first major tournament win.
The young German’s decision to eschew the three way chop earlier paid off handsomely; he took home GBP 499,700, leaving MacPhee with a second placing pay-out of GBP 308,500.
Other final table pay-outs were:
Kevin Killeen GBP 220,500
Artur Koren GBP 168,900
Jake Cody GBP 133,800
Jakub Mroczek GBP 104,200
Jonathan Bensadoun GBP 75,900
Pablo Gordillo GBP 51,900
Still with London and the EPT, Canadian player Andrew Chen (26) claimed the honours and the big money in the GBP 10,000 High Roller event, taking home GBP 394,200 in the second biggest win of his poker career and boosting his career earnings to date to over $4 million.
On the final table of the 173 entries competition Chen faced an international collection of tough and talented players in fellow countryman Philippe D’Auteuil, Lebanon’s Fady Kamar, Craig McCorkell and Niall Farrell from the UK, Russian ace Leonid Markin, Salman Behbehani from Kuwait, German pro Martin Quack and WSOP November Niner chip leader Jorryt van Hoof from the Netherlands.
When heads up play was reached, Chen squared off against Fady Kamar, a EPT High Roller Grand Finalist from Lebanon with a reputation for skill and aggression. Given Chen’s penchant for the same sort of action, the heads up offered the promise of some exciting exchanges…and it did not disappoint.
Chen seemed determined not to repeat his runner-up finish against David Kitai in the EPT Berlin two years ago and played with determination and vigour despite a chip disadvantage. His approach, and an unfortunate run of the cards for his opponent, quickly demolished Kamar’s lead, with the Canadian piling on the pressure to finish the heads up with a victory in a surprisingly short time.
Chen added GBP 394,200 to his career earnings, whilst Kamar claimed the runner up prize of GBP 267,000.
Six-figure pay-outs extended all the way down to fifth finisher Salman Behbehani, who received GBP 117,000.
Across the world in Melbourne, Australia the 2014 WSOP Asia-Pacific main event concluded with a victory for US pro now residing in Canada, Scott Davies, who claimed a handsome A$ 850,136 first prize to add to winnings that include the proceeds of no fewer than six cashes in WSOP events this year.
Importantly to Davies, his victory over a talented 328-strong field also brought with it his first WSOP winner’s bracelet.
The six-man final table opposing Davies consisted of England’s Jack Salter, Henry Wang of Taiwan, US players Kyle Montgomery and Frank Kassela, and Aussie Ang Italiano.
Salter and Davies survived the final table melee to confront each other in the heads up with the chip stacks virtually even. Davies knew he was in for a tough tussle with the Brit player, who was runner up in the EPT Grand Final main event this year and has a formidable reputation.
He was proved right as the heads up developed into an intense 85-hand affair between two evenly matched aces, distilling down to a major pot which decided the issue when Salter went all in and lost, taking home a still-impressive second placing reward of A$ 516,960.
A relieved and elated Davies characterised his win as a personal Super Bowl and the peak of his ambitions.
Other pay-outs on the final table looked like this:
Henry Wang A$343,805
Kyle Montgomery A$231,287
Frank Kassela A$164,089
Ang Italiano A$118,769