Belarus player Mikalai Pobal won Spain’s biggest ever poker tournament, EPT Barcelona today and a massive first prize of €1,007,550 . The 28-year-old from Minsk beat Ilari “Ziigmund” Sahamies heads-up with Aces after outlasting a record-breaking field of 1,082 players at EPT Barcelona, the debut event of EPT Season 9.
Pobal, whose previous best cash was €7,500 at EPT Berlin last season, is the second Belarus EPT champion - Vadzim Kursevich won EPT8 Deauville. Pobal is relatively new to the live poker scene and mainly plays online on PokerStars under the name ‘leanod’. He said: “I'm really excited about it. I am very tired but very happy. It is my dream which came true. The title means a lot more to me than the money.”
Sahamies, who came fourth just a few days ago in the EPT Barcelona €50,000 Super High Roller for €291,900, took €629,700 for his runner-up finish while fellow Finn Joni Jouhkimainen got €404,050 for third place. The total prize pool for the event amounted to €5,247,700.
Spanish hopes for a first ever EPT champion were thwarted when local student Samuel Rodriguez, who won his seat for just €100 in an online PokerStars satellite, busted in fifth place for €230,900. The 25-year-old part-time hotel worker had never played a major live event before but made it through five days of intense poker to reach Saturday’s final table.
EPT7 London runner-up John Juanda, five-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner and certainly the most decorated player at the final table, finished eighth for €76,100 – bringing his total live tournament winnings to nearly $12.5 million.
This season’s EPT Barcelona final was broadcast live on PokerStars.tv in English, German, Spanish, Italian and Russian and also filmed for television.
As well as the €5,300 Main Event this week, there were nearly 50 other side events taking place at Casino Barcelona. For the first time, the EPT joined forces with the Estrellas Poker Tour, PokerStars’ national tour in Spain, to create a mega 11-day Poker Festival. All in all, there were 6,848 tournament entries with nearly €14 million up for grabs in prizes.
The EPT kicked off with the televised €50,000 Super High Roller tournament, won by American Dan Smith for €962,925. Bryn Kenney won the €5,000 no-limit Turbo for €83,000 while Frenchman Laurent Polito won the €10,000 High Roller for €270,229. The €550 Ladies Event won by Russian Liya Gerasimova and the €10,000 Heads-Up tourney won by Norwegian Terje Augdal.