Chills and Thrills of the European Poker Tour

The Top Poker Moments from EPT Season 12

The PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino European PokerTour Grand Final is set to have a massive field which will include a record number of qualifiers – over 300 in fact. Once you add in poker’s elite players, there’s no doubt that the finale of Season 12 will provide us with some intriguing tales from the felt.

Can’t wait to drool over the action that will come out of Monaco in just a few days? Bide your time by checking out some of the top moments that have come out of EPT Season 12.

The Grand Final will be staged at the Monte-Carlo®Casino in Monaco

The Grand Final will be staged at the Monte-Carlo®Casino in Monaco

Juanda Bests in Barcelona

The vibrant and quirky Spanish city of Barcelona is the only stop to have been included in every season of the EPT, and it was there that Season 12 kicked off with a record breaking Main Event that boasted 1,673 entrants. Given that this was the largest field in EPT history, let’s just say there was a lot on the line when seasoned pro John Juanda got heads-up with the UK’s Steve Warburton.

We join the action as Juanda looks down at pocket queens and puts in a raise on the button.

John Juanda feeling the strain of Barcelona

John Juanda feeling the strain of Barcelona

No one can really blame Warburton for shoving with the eights; after all, it’s a decent hand heads-up, and avoiding post-flop play with your opponent who has already booked over $16 million in tourney wins is generally a smart idea. Unfortunately for the young British player, Juanda’s queens held up to earn him €1,022,593 and a congratulatory hug from Team PokerStars Pro member ElkY. Before you feel too bad for Warburton, don’t forget that he took home €941,613 for his runner-up finish in Barcelona. Not too shabby.

The EPT 12 Barcelona trophy

The EPT 12 Barcelona trophy

A Hell of a Sweat in Malta

The EPT returned to the luxurious Portomaso Casino in Malta for Season 12, and there was a colorful cast of characters to help swell the prize pool to over €3 million. One such player was the always-theatrical Italian Antonio Scalzi, who has just called an all-in bet from the unstoppable Canadian Mike McDonald.

Scalzi is obviously elated to see that he is dominating his opponent’s pocket jacks, and slams down his cards in celebration. Commentator Joe Stapleton isn’t a big fan of Scalzi’s antics, saying he wishes it was a little less “in yo face”.

What transpires next is nothing short of pure sickness, which some might refer to as poker karma…

The 'TV Table' in Malta

The 'TV Table' in Malta

When McDonald hits his spade on the river, nobody can believe it. Even Stapleton legitimately seems a bit sickened by the result and comments, “So gross, I can’t even play a funny sound effect” (which he still of course does). McDonald, who is known as “Timex” on PokerStars, went on to place 27th at EPT Malta before hitting a string of deep runs that have afforded him the current lead in the EPT 12 Player of the Year race.

An unknown player summons the 'triangle of death'

An unknown player summons the 'triangle of death'

Monster Match-Ups in Prague

When the weather turned chilly, the EPT headed for Prague where the cards were the antithesis of cold for one very lucky player. With over a thousand entrants in the Main Event, there was a lot on the line in the Czech Republic capital, and we join this hand as Ilkin Amirov flat calls after two players have shoved in front of him. To everyone’s surprise, Javier Gomez glances at his cards and also decides to jam. Then, the room’s surprise turned to astonishment when Amirov snap called, sealing the deal on an official four-way all in at EPT Prague.

The infamous 4-way all-in hand in the flesh

The infamous 4-way all-in hand in the flesh

The holdings were pretty much what could be expected – big pocket pairs and one slightly speculative suited connector. After his kings held up and he stacked the monstrous pot, Amirov had nearly a third of the chips in play which helped propel him to his 3rd place finish, good for €391,910.

Final Table of the Main Event in Prague 2016

Final Table of the Main Event in Prague 2016

Runner-Runner Royalty at the PCA

Anyone who’s anyone in poker turns up atthe annual PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA), which was the 4th stop of EPT 12. An annual event that takes place on Paradise Island in The Bahamas, this massive poker festival culminates with the Main Event, drawing players from every corner of the world.

We tune in to this hand as Fabian Chauriye of Chile is deliberating a call. With French player Paul Tedeschi already all-in on the turn, Chauriye bets into the dry side pot on the river, and is now facing another shove from Phillip McAllister. To believe what happens next, you’ll have to see it for yourself.

Chauriye getting down to business

Chauriye getting down to business

Once Chauriye gets out of the way, the hands are revealed, and it’s not pretty. A flopped top set from Tedeschi has been bested by astonishing perfect turn and river cards to make McAllister’s royal flush. The odds of making this unbeatable hand by the river are 1 in 43,316, which somehow probably didn’t ease Tedeschi’s pain of being eliminated in such an agonizing way.

The massive pot gave McAllister the momentum he needed to bank his biggest tournament cash to date when he finished 3rd at the 2016 PCA for $356,020,which is about $330,000 more than Paul Tedeschi earned after flopping the stone cold nuts.

PCA 2016, Main Event Final Table

PCA 2016, Main Event Final Table

Deception in Dublin

After taking an eight year break from stopping in Dublin, the poker world reconvened in the Irish capital for the penultimate stop of EPT 12. There were plenty of chills and thrills on the felt back in February, but perhaps no moment was as heart-stopping as this one in the €25,750 high roller event. With over €500k on the line for first, Italian player Mustapha Kanit got down and dirty with this creative bluff against Anton Bertilsson.

Mustapha Kanit deliberating over a call

Mustapha Kanit deliberating over a call

It’s a tough situation for Bertilsson after Kanit floats the river with absolute air. It’s especially difficult to find a call here because Kanit has built such a solid reputation, setting up the perfect opportunity to pull off this creative and somewhat unorthodox bluff. Ultimately Bertilsson tanked and folded, while Kanit went on to emerge as the well-deserved champion of the event, taking home over half a million euros.

Considering all the electrifying EPT action we’ve seen from Season 12, there’s bound to be heaps in store for us at the long-anticipated conclusion in Monte Carlo. And with seven days of poker action sure to feature the game’s biggest names being streamed on EPT Live, you better get your popcorn ready.

Trophy, meet Mustapha Kanit

Trophy, meet Mustapha Kanit