PokerStars Festival Marbella: 20-year-old Oriol Fernández takes down High Roller for €78,200
Y'know, it can be pretty hard to sit in an air-conditioned room playing cards when the blazing sun, gorgeous beaches and amazing food and drink that Marbella has to offer are enticing you outside. But for one young man in particular tonight, that was a sacrifice he's now very happy he made two days ago.
Oriol Fernández is a well-known character on the Spanish poker scene despite his tender age (twenty), yet the online hyper heads-up sit & go specialist player only had three live cashes to his name before tonight.
He now has a gold trophy, a live title, and €78,200 in his bank account. He's our PokerStars Festival Marbella €2,200 High Roller champion.
Let's rewind back to earlier in the day. Of the 184 entries in this event, only 27 were set to make the money. However, when two players busted simultaneously, that meant 28 actually ended up getting a prize. You can find out how the bubble burst here.
Fast forward a few hours and the final table was set.
After Ladislao Dalfo was eliminated in eighth place for €9,550, Laka had the chip lead with 1.47 million, more than half a million more than his nearest competitor. Amiel Alexander, who had the chip lead when the bubble burst, was next to go in seventh (€13,200) when he shoved with the 9♥T♥ and ran into Laka's A♠A♣.
We then lost Michal Ozimek, who also fell to Laka when his K♣J♥ couldn't outdraw Laka's A♠Q♦. He collected €18,130 for his efforts, meaning Robert Aver - who busted just a hand or two later - got a payjump up to €23,650.
Laka then gave his eventual heads-up opponent the chip lead, when he flopped top pair but got trapped by Fernández's pocket kings for an overpair to the board. Laka still had plenty of chips though, and it set the two on the road towards heads up.
Rui Bouquet got pretty unlucky to bust in fourth. He got his money in good with the A♥J♠ against David Jakobson's A♠6♦, but a six on the flop gave Jakobson a pair, which held up. Bouquet then went to the cage to collect €29,650.
Three-handed was when Laka started to pull away. He'd even keep hold of the chip lead after Fernández felted Jakobson with the A♣K♣ over Jakobson's Q♠Q♥. An ace on the flop sent Fernández's rail into a frenzy, gave Jakobson €36,350 for third, and meant we would definitely have a Spanish High Roller champion.
When things got heads-up, Fernández managed to even the stakes before eventually battling back to clinch the title. In the final hand, Laka shoved with the K♣5♣ and Fernández called with the dominating K♠9♥. A nine landed on the flop, and that was all she wrote. For second place, Laka banked €52,800.
"In the heads-up I had to play against one of the best players of the moment in this format, which makes the joy even greater," Fernández said after the win. "I do not mind recognising that I felt David was better than me. I know him well; we had dinner together when the final table was formed. We spoke that if we made a hypothetical heads-up, we would not deal. For me it's the best heads-up player I've ever faced, even being Sit & Go Hyper-Turbo specialist."
Having won by far his biggest poker prize, Fernández now plans on making the trip to Barcelona for the PokerStars Championship in August, where he hopes he can have similar success.
"In addition I had all my friends cheering me near the final table, so the joy was even greater!" he added.
All of our attention now focuses to the Main Event, which will crown a winner tomorrow. Join us back here on the PokerStars Blog for all the latest from Marbella.
PokerStars Festival Marbella High Roller
Dates: June 23-24
Prize pool: €353,280
1. Oriol Fernández - €78,200
2. David Laka - €52,800
3. David Jakobson - €36,350
4. Rui Bouquet - €29,650
5. Robert Aver - €23,650
6. Michal Ozimek - €18,130
7. Amiel Alexander - €13,200
8. Ladislao Dalfo - €9,550
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Jack Stanton is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.