Greek amateur player Sotirios Koutoupas (31) not only boosted his bank balance by Euro 614,000 and a $5,000 Swiss watch over the weekend, but also became the first Greek European Poker Tour champion at the EPT Deauville, besting 671 entrants from 48 nations on the way – 178 of them Pokerstars online satellite qualifiers.
Koutoupas had a near-miss in the ninth season EPT Prague, where he came in second, but he made no mistake this time around at EPT Deauville, beating formidable opponent Eugene Katchalov in a tense heads up for the lion’s share of the Euro 3,220,800 prize pool and denying the Ukrainian a Triple Crown achievement in the process.
Entering final table action with a significant chip lead, Koutoupas faced Katchalov; Oliver Price, Eli Heath and Harry Law from Britain; Pokerstars qualifiers Rustem Muratov from Russia and Carlo De Benedittis from Italy; and Anthony Lerust of France.
Koutoupas dominated the action and maintained his lead as one after the other final tablers departed until he faced Katchalov in the heads up.
The Greek amateur started heads up action with 15,050,000 in chips vs. Katchalov’s 4,990,000 – a 3 to 1 advantage with the blinds at 50,000/100,000, which Koutoupas used to good effect in his continuing domination of the game.
It was only Katchalov’s considerable experience and talent that kept the match going for as long as it did.
In the end the chip disadvantage had to tell, though, and it was Katachalov who good-naturedly exited in second place with Euro 379,500 as consolation, tweeting: “Bittersweet to get 2nd and miss out on the triple crown but I’m extremely happy nevertheless.”
A delighted Koutoupas commented to reporters: “It was my time now, it was my time to win. I was very lucky today in some situations but that’s poker. Everything went well for me.”