Big hands from EPT Grand Final

The 2013 PokerStars and Monte-Carlo Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final Main Event is in the books, and after seven days of play, which included two starting flights, Steve O'Dwyer topped the 531-player field by defeating arguably the most talented final table in EPT history, one that included four PokerStars Team Pros--Jason Mercier, Jake Cody, Daniel Negreanu and Johnny Lodden.

While PokerStars Team Pros were well represented at the final table, they were making noise throughout the tournament starting on Day 1a. It was then that PokerStars Team Pro Vanessa Rousso played a hand that polarized the railbirds. According to the PokerNews Live Reporting Team, it happened in Level 7 with the blinds at 250/500/50 when Ignat "0Human0" Liviu opened for 1,200 from the button and Rousso three-bet to 3,200 from the small blind. Liviu, who has been a high-stakes cash game regular on PokerStars for years, then four-bet to 8,000, Rousso called, and the flop came down 3♥9♠8♠.

Rousso ended up check-calling a bet of 7,500, and then check-called another bet of 16,500 on the 6♦ turn. Rousso checked for a third time on the Q♦ river and Liviu moved all in for 22,375. Rousso hit the tank hard and began talking.

"I hate this hand," she said before making the call. Liviu then tabled the Q♣Q♠ for a set of queens. "Oh my god, that's so sick. Wow, so sick." It was at that point that things got interesting as a member of the tournament staff stated that since it was an all-in situation, Rousso had to show her cards. Rousso was adamant that she didn't have to show her cards, but alas that was the rule. A frustrated Rousso was then forced to flip over the J♥6♠.

"Sometimes you get a soul read and you're wrong. Sometimes you try to be a hero with the J6 off and they have the old QQ for the rivered set," Rousso tweeted after the hand. It ended up being a big pot, and one the PokerStars Team Pro couldn't recover from as she was eliminated a short time later.

Speaking of eliminations, fast-forward six days to the final table. After Australia's Grant Levy was felled in eighth place for €103,000, it was Mercier's time to go. It happened in Level 26 when Lodden opened to 80,000 from the cutoff holding the A♠7♠ and Mercier moved all in for 650,000 holding the Q♠[10H] in the small blind. Andrew Pantling then called from the big with the A♦Q♦, Lodden folded, and Mercier sighed upon discovering the bad news. There would be no reprieve for the young American as the board ran out an uneventful 7♣2♠9♦5♥9♥ to send him to the rail in seventh place for €137,000.

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In the next level, a big hand developed that saw one PokerStars Team Pro eliminating another, with Noah Schwartz getting caught in between. It began when Negreanu opened for 115,000 from the cutoff only to have Schwartz move all in from the button for 630,000 holding the K♦[10C]. Cody then moved all in over the top for 860,000 with the J♦J♥, and Negreanu couldn't get his chips in fast enough with the A♥A♠. The board ran out Q♣8♣7♦8♥[10S] and Schwartz and Cody were eliminated in sixth and fifth place, taking home €189,000 and €251,000 respectively. The hand also marked the elimination of the last EPT champ from the field (Cody previously won the 2010 EPT Deauville).

Despite scoring the double elimination, Negreanu was the next to go. It happened when Lodden opened for 110,000 under the gun and Pantling called from the button. Negreanu then moved all in for 1.3 million from the big blind and only Lodden called. The former was ahead with the 4♦4♠ but was racing against the Norwegian's A♦Q♦. The K♣[10H]2♠ flop kept Negreanu in the lead, though it did give Lodden a gutshot straight draw. The 9♥ turn didn't change a thing, but the J♠ river did as it gave Lodden the said flush and the win. Negreanu, who was fresh off his bracelet win in the World Series of Poker Asia Pacific Main Event, had his hopes of the Triple Crown dashed, but he had €321,000 to console him for his fourth-place finish.

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That left Lodden as the last PokerStars Team Pro standing, but he would be unable to claim victory. In Level 28 (30,000/60,000/10,000), Steve O'Dwyer opened for 150,000 on the button only to have Lodden three-bet to 400,000 from the small blind. O'Dwyer not only called that bet, he called one of 350,000 on the 7♣4♠[10D] flop. When the 3♠ turned, Lodden moved all in for 1.45 million and O'Dwyer snap-called with the A♦[10H]. Lodden turned over the A♥J♦ and was in need of a jack on the river to stay alive. Unfortunately for him, the K♦ blanked and he finished in third place for €467,000, the largest score of his career!

From there, O'Dwyer and Pantling advanced to heads-up play with the former player ultimately taking down the title and €1,224,000 first-place prize. With that, the European Poker Tour Season 9 came to an end, and there was no better way to go out than with a bang.

Chad Holloway
@PokerStars in PokerStars news