The PokerStars.net European Poker Tour (EPT) Grand Final Main Event wrapped up in Monte Carlo yesterday, with Lebanese PokerStars Qualifier Nic Chouity emerging victorious after one of the most one-sided final tables in EPT history.
Chouity started on the final table with over 40% of the chips in play and never once lost his lead, eliminating six out of his seven opponents on his way to the taking down the EUR €1.7 million (AUD $2,445,601) first prize and the coveted EPT Grand Final trophy.
Despite the recent airport chaos caused by the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull, a massive field 848 players from 51 countries descended upon the Atlantis Casino in Monte Carlo to take part in the EUR €10,600 EPT Grand Final Main Event. The Team PokerStars Pros were out in force, with Barry Greenstein, Dennis Phillips, Greg Raymer, Alex Kravchenko, Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier, Peter Eastgate, Daniel Negreanu and JP Kelly – just to name a few – all taking part in this prestigious event.
Other big name international pros to have taken their seats include Gus Hansen, Sorel Mizzi, Erick Lindgren, John Juanda and Liv Boeree, fresh from her recent EPT San Remo Main Event win.
Flying the flag for Australia included Hong Kong-based Aussies David Steicke and Andrew Scott, as well as Australian Poker Hall of Famers Mel Judah and Team PokerStars Pro Joe Hachem. Hachem’s apprentice, Amanda De Cesare, also took her seat as part of her sponsorship package she won on the reality TV show The Poker Star.
All five Aussies made it through to Day 2 but Judah was the only one who cashed, finishing in 56th place for EUR 30,000 (AUD $43,158). The money list read more like a “who’s-that” as opposed to a “who’s-who” of the poker world, but there were two notables who collected from the cage – British Team PokerStars Pros Vicky Coren (26th place, EUR 40,000) and 2003 WSOP Main Event Champion Chris Moneymaker (69th place, EUR 25,000).
It was the same case for the final table, which looked a little something like this:
Seat 1: Herve Costa - 1,590,000
Seat 2: Roger Hairabedian - 1,130,000
Seat 3: Aleh Plauski -1,695,000
Seat 4: Dominykas Karmazinas - 2,285,000
Seat 5: Josef Klinger - 1,170,000
Seat 6: Mesbah Guerfi - 3,670,000
Seat 7: Nicolas Chouity - 10,280,000
Seat 8: Andrew Chen - 3,670,000
The action between the players was few and far between during the early stages of the final table, but after an hour Mesbah Guerfi was the first to go when he got the last of his money into the middle on a board that read with , but was snapped off by Chouity who tabled for an unbeatable full house. The river completed the board but Geurfin was already on his way to collect EUR €140,000 for his 8th place finish.
Roger Hairabedian then departed in 7th place (EUR €200,000) after moving all in for his last of his short stack with , only to find himself dominated by Chouity’s , which gave a full house on a board of and Hairabedian the heave-ho.
The action slowed down again and almost two hours went by before Aleh Plauski moved all in preflop with , only to be called down by Chouity who tabled . Chouity led all the way down the board of and improved to a pair with the river , sending Plauski packing in 6th place for EUR €300,000.
From there, the eliminations came thick and fast. Andrew Chen was eliminated in 5th place (EUR €400,000) after trying to make a move on Josef Klinger, reraising him all-in preflop with but was caught out when Klinger snap-called with . The flop of gave Klinger two pair and Chen a gut-shot straight draw, but did not appear after the turn and river ran out , .
Three hands later, Herve Costa was directed to the cage to collect EUR €500,000 for his 4th place finish when he got the last of his money into the middle before the flop with and found himself in good shape to double up against Chouity who called with . Amazingly, the board was spread – a third KO with a full house for Chouity!
Chouity then sent Dominykas Karmazinas to the rail in 3rd place (EUR €700,000), forcing him all in before the flop and managing to outdraw with against Karmazinas’ when the dealer spread the board of .
By this time, Chouity had amassed a five-to-one chip lead against Josef Klinger going into the heads-up battle, which was over in three hands. Chouity raised before the flop, Klinger went all-in and Chouity snap-called, showing against Klinger’s . Neither hand improved on the board of and Klinger was out in 2nd place (EUR €1,000,000).
In the end, it was as if the poker gods had found their “Chosen One” to win the EPT Grand Final. Chouity could not be stopped, putting on a dominant display and cruised to victory. It should also be noted that this is Chouity’s biggest tournament result to date, smashing his previous mark of EUR €31,500, which he won in the very same event last year.
With the exception of the final table of the EPT Grand Final EUR €25,000 High Rollers Event, Season 6 of the PokerStars.net European Poker Tour has come to a close. It was another highly successful year for the tour, with 8,912 players taking part in 13 events, generating EUR €56,672,284 in prize money, up by more than 4 million Euros from last year. In addition, 2133 players qualified for EPT events online at PokerStars – almost an 88% increase from Season 5.
However players won’t have to wait too long for EPT Season 7, which will kick off with a brand new event in Tallinn, Estonia in August, with plenty more to come. For more information, log onto to www.ept.com.