EPT Malta is here and soon we will have a handful of new championship stories to tell. With any luck, they'll be half as good as these 3 epic EPT endings.
(The European Poker Tour is a very prestigious poker tournament series with annual events in several European locations. The series comes to Malta this month with two weeks of tournaments ranging in buy-in from €200 to €25,000. Many of the world’s top professionals will be there fighting for glory and riches. I’ll be there as well (October 23-30), reporting on the action and playing an event or two myself)
EPT Malta is here and soon we’ll have a handful of new championship stories to tell. With any luck, they’ll be half as good as these 3 epic EPT endings I’m about to show you.
It’s hard to win tournaments, even the world’s best players can go long stretches without a title. Perhaps the hardest part of winning is defeating your final opponent. There’s nowhere to hide in a heads-up match. You must stand-up to the spotlight and withstand the pressure from both your opponent and the spectators, in order to emerge victorious. One wrong step and you face defeat and humiliation as well as the knowledge that you came this close and couldn’t lock it down.
Today we’ll take a look at 3 epic final hands of EPT events. All three of these are massive ‘coolers’, and sometimes that’s exactly what it takes to end matters when two locked-in pros do battle heads-up.
(For newbies: A ‘cooler’ is when you are dealt an extremely strong (usually un-foldable) hand while your opponent was dealt an even stronger one.)
Sebastian Malec defeats Uri Reichenstien, EPT Barcelona Main Event 2016
The most recent hand on this list as well as the only hand where I can possibly see a fold from the losing player. Perhaps more epic than the hand itself is the context. The 21-year-old Malec from Warsaw, Poland qualified for this event via a €27 buy-in online qualifier and ends up winning the whole thing for €1.2 million! Talk about an upswing! Anyway, while Malec is clearly a very skilled and worthy champion, in this hand he actually gives off a lot of obvious tells and almost inadvertently convinces Reichenstien to make an otherwise impossible fold. I’ll let ‘The Poker Guys’ do what they do best and analyze why Reichenstien could have maybe gotten away from this one:
Steve O’Dwyer defeats Andrew Pantling, EPT Monaco Main Event 2013
Rivering quads to win €1.2 million and an EPT title will certainly get you a spot on this list. What a roller coaster of a hand for both players. O’Dwyer seems more relieved that it’s over than excited about winning. That’s what a grueling heads-up match will do to you, even if you’re an absolutely legendary poker boss with $17 million in career cashes.
Jan Bendik defeats Adrien Allain, EPT Monte Carlo Grand Final Main Event 2016
Poor Adrien Allain. Set over set* is extremely uncommon even in a full ring game with 9 players, so when it happens heads-up you just want to cry. I’m certain that Allain wasn’t even considering the possibility that he was behind, and was more likely planning what to do with his 1st prize money and EPT fame. Unfortunately for him, it wasn’t meant to be and instead it was Bendik who took home the 1st prize of €961,000 and became the first ever Slovakian to win an EPT title.
*For Newbies again: A ‘set’ is when you make 3 of a kind with 2 of them coming from your hole cards (as both players have here). If you make 3 of a kind using 1 of your hole cards and 2 on the board, that’s called ‘trips’.
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