EPT Barcelona: No such thing as friends in poker
Quick, quick, slow, quick.
We started the day wondering whether we'd still be here tomorrow waiting for this intriguing PokerStars.com EPT event to come to a close. Thirteen players came in from the Catalonian sun to chase the €1.1 million first prize. But before the clock even ticked around to 12.30am, we had a champion after one of the quickest final tables in the tour's history.
Sander Lylloff, from Copenhagen, Denmark, continued the Nordic domination of the EPT when he, first, edged onto the final table, then watched three of his adversaries fall in the opening two hours. Then Sander himself joined in the carnage, building his stack as he slayed three of his final five opponents, ending with the brief heads-up assassination of close friend and hotel room-mate Mark Teltscher, from the United Kingdom.
The Cristal champagne that Teltscher ordered for the friends to sup over their mano-a-mano battle hadn't even arrived before all the chips were in the middle. Teltscher was delighted: he'd found kings. Lylloff had a meagre looking J-10 but hit two jacks -- on flop and river -- to earn bragging rights and the cheque for €1,170,700.
But, begin at the beginning.
When we convened at 3.30pm, the chip leader was Nikolaus Jedlicka, a PokerStars Supernova from Austria. He had about 100,000 more chips than Mika Paasonen, from Finland, and the now-familiar Lylloff, Teltscher and Juan Maceiras, from Spain.
And while those four hung tough, the shorter stacks began a steady procession out the door, often bust by the young American PokerStars sensation Gregory Dyer.
First out was Voitto Rintala, from Finland, a Dyer victim. Then Philip Yeh was on his way back to Sweden, who slipped up on Davidi Kitai's big slick. But Kitai himself was soon on his way, the result of an unhappy clash of queens against Lylloff's aces.
Things slowed ... for a moment. After some to-ing and fro-ing involving Patrick Bruel, the French actor/singer/poker player and Teltscher, it was Mohamad Kowassie who lost his patience and shoved with Q-3. Gregory Dyer, silent smiling assassin, picked up another big slick and grinned Kowassie out of the tournament.
That brought us to the faux final table. There were nine players around it, which is one too many for the EPT television treatment. Something had to give and it was Juan Maceiras, the popular local, egged on by vociferous Spanish support, who got it in with A-6 but ran into another A-K of Dyer.
Out. Down to eight.
By the time the final eight got together, there had been a change at the top of the pile. Dyer's incredible run had taken him over the million mark, while Nikolaus had slipped down to fourth. The final table lined up like this:
1 - Gregory Dyer (USA) - 1,606,000
2 - Adam Junglen (USA) - 320,000
3 - Nikolaus Jedlicka (Austria) - 569,000
4 - Mika Paasonen (Finland) - 924,000
5 - Mark Teltscher (UK) - 676,000
6 - Sander Lylloff (Denmark) - 502,000
7 - Trond Eidsvig (Norway) - 452,000
8 - Patrick Bruel (France) - 374,000
But no one was in the mood to hang around, it seemed, and three hands into the final we lost Bruel, who had a stab at an ace-high, all-heart flop with pocket 10s. Mark Teltscher had an ace, and a heart to boot, and it was the singer's swansong. C'est la vie.
Then Jedlicka bit the dust, and again it was Teltscher and again it was pocket 10s in the eliminated player's hands. Teltscher had ace-queen and both appeared on the board to win the race for the Englishman.
Six became five. Adam Junglen, the 19-year-old from Ohio, who won the PokerStars Sunday million in July, among countless major tournament results, was the next to perish. He threw it all in behind A-4 and Sander woke up with pocket eights. He made the call and knocked Junglen to the rail.
And, at the blink of an eye or the flip of a chip, we were down to four. Trond Eidsvig hadn't played a hand on the final table before he trap-checked a jack-high flop, but didn't get the expected bet from Mika Paasonen. Instead, Mika came out firing when a 10 came on the turn - with good reason, that had made him two pair, tens and nines, and Eidsvig had trapped himself.
Greg Dyer was the leader of the final four, with Sandor Lylloff the short stack. But an early double up for the Dane, through Dyer, started the comeback.
Meanwhile, Mark Teltscher was accounting for Mika Paasonen. A massive battle-of-the-blinds left the Finn crippled and Greg Dyer finished him off.
Down to three, and finally the action slowed. In fact, it was close to two hours, plus dinner break, before the final three could be parted. They exchanged chips, exchanged chip leads, levelled out, pulled away, levelled out again. But the rot had set in for Dyer, and despite surviving a number of gutsy all-ins, he ran into aces and couldn't wriggle out of that.
So, heads up. Lylloff versus Teltscher. They're friends and are even sharing a hotel room in Barcelona. For some, this might have been a battle for the EPT crown and a million odd euros. For them, it was all about who gets to sleep on the roll-out bed.
And it was quick. Mark found the kings, Sander had a speculative punt with his J-10. And sometimes in poker, fortune favours the brave. The jack on the flop looked dangerous, the second jack on the river looked decisive.
Teltscher, who could have become the first player to win two EPT crowns, was instead gracious in defeat and embraced his friend.
Party round theirs -- all welcome.
Goodnight from Barcelona.
For a full list of tournament payouts, please click HERE.