PokerStars Festival Marbella: Ignacio López wins record-breaking Main Event for €152K
A few days ago, we took you on a walk down Marbella memory lane to see all of the previous winners of PokerStars events here. After four years, there had been two Spanish winners, and two British winners. While the Spaniards dominated this final table, there was a sole Brit still in contention.
However, we can now confirm that Spain has taken the lead in the Marbella title race. Your newest PokerStars Festival champion is Ignacio López, who defeated Iñigo Naveiro heads-up, and Leo Margets before that, for a €152,400 payday.
Hailing from Madrid, López is a self-proclaimed amateur player who works as a tax assistant. He's been playing the game for six years, and in that time the 29-year-old has had some success, having taken down the biggest weekly tournament online on PokerStars.es. There's nothing quite like winning a big live event though.
But let's rewind and tell you how we got here.
All of the action kicked off back on Wednesday. Usually, Day 1As of tournaments are considerably smaller than their Day 1B counterparts; so when we ended up having 302 entries, we knew this event had the potential to be a Marbella record-breaker.
A further 444 people took their shot on Day 1B, which ensured the €700K prize pool guarantee was eclipsed; and then we had the Day 1C turbo flight on Thursday evening to add an additional 201 entries into the mix. When all was said and done, we had 949 total entries, a prize pool of €911,040, and 354 players returning for Friday's Day 2. Only 135 would make the money.
Snooker legend Stephen Hendry was in town to try his luck on a different felt. He played during Day 1A and put on a good showing, but unfortunately for the seven-time world champ, he busted with half an hour left on the day when his ace-queen couldn't beat ace-king. We chatted to Hendry about his ambitions in poker, Ronnie O'Sullivan's tilt, and "the subtle art of not giving a f**k" - you can check out that interview here.
Twitch superstar and PokerStars Team Online's Lex Veldhuis also played on Day 1A, but couldn't make it through. That gave him time to enjoy some time beside the swimming pool, during which we caught up him - you'll find that conversation here. Meanwhile, PokerStars Team Pro Marcin Horecki would return for another crack on Day 1C having busted Day 1A. He came into Day 2 short, and busted about half an hour in.
However, it was a different story for fellow Team Pro Fatima Moreira de Melo. She had a great run in this one, and ultimately it would take "the hand of the day" on Day 3 to eliminate her, alongside former UKIPT Marbella winner Ludovic Geilich. All we'll say is that it was a four-way all-in - read all about that hand here.
Saturday's Day 3 ended with ten players and several short stacks remaining. As the fourth and final day kicked off, we lost Mazvydas Simaitis and John Divers early on to bring us to our official final table. We did some profiles on them, so you can learn more about them here.
We then lost Switzerland's Marco Paul Lander in eighth for €15,900. He got his 28-big blind stack all in with pocket jacks pre-flop, but was up against Bárcenas' pocket queens, which held up. Fabrizio Privitena then exited in seventh for €22,300 after jamming with queen-ten and running into Ignacio López's pocket aces.
Leo Margets would then eliminate Jose Carlos Lopez in sixth for €31,200. Margets jammed with the K♥J♥ and with just six big blinds Lopez called all-in with the 5♥5♣. The A♥K♠6♣ flop gave Margets a bigger pair, which would improve to a flush after the 3♥ turn and Q♥ river.
Margets continued to play executioner when Ignacio Bárcenas was felted in fifth for €42,100. It folded to Margets in the small blind and she put Bárcenas all-in with the K♠5♣, only for Bárcenas to wake up in the big blind with the Q♠Q♥. The flop was safe for him, but a king on the turn gave Margets the lead and the elimination.
Twenty minutes later saw start-of-day chip leader Fernando Curto ousted in fourth. Curto found the A♠Q♣ in the small blind and raised after it folded to him, only for Iñigo Naveiro to three-bet jam, putting Curto to the test. He eventually called, and was up against Naveiro's 2♠2♣. He'd hit a set of ducks on the flop, and Curto couldn't find any miracles on the turn or river. For fourth, he collected €54,100.
And then there were three.
Naveiro seemed to be the only one winning pots for a while, cheered on by an enthused rail which included High Roller winner Oriol Fernández.
However, Ignacio López then took a demanding lead with this huge hand. Margets opened on the button, leading to a three-bet from Naveiro in the small blind. López thought for a minute, and eventually decided to shove with his A♥K♦. Margets got out of the way, and Naveiro - priced in - made the call with the 9♦7♦. The K♥J♦8♦ flop was certainly interesting, giving López top pair and Naveiro a straight flush draw. The K♣ hit the turn, improving López to trips, and the 2♠ river secured him the double up and that evolved into a dominating chip lead.
It wasn't long after this that the three decided to make a deal. With the blinds at 150K/300K, Ignacio López obviously got the lion's share with 13.2 million for €127,000, while Margets (5.8 million) and Naveiro (4.6 million) got €95,000 each. They still had €25,400, the title, and the trophy to play for.
Eventually it was Leo Margets who fell in third. With just ten big blinds, she jammed on the button with the A♣4♦ and was called by López who had her dominated with the A♠9♥. In the end the chipleader's kicker played, and Leo collected €95,500.
Heads-up didn't last long. In the final hand, López made it 950K to go and Naveiro called to see a 9♣9♦3♦ flop. Naveiro checked, López continued for 800K, and that bet was called. When the 2♦ turn hit the felt, Naveiro jammed, and after some time in the tank López made the call. It turned out to be a good one. His 3♠5♥ for a pair was ahead of Naveiro's J♦7♠, meaning Naveiro had to hit a jack, seven or diamond on the river to survive. Instead it came the 5♠, and López was our champion.
PokerStars Festival Marbella Main Event
Dates: June 21-25
Prize pool: €911,040
1. Ignacio López (Spain) - €152,400*
2. Iñigo Naveiro (Spain) - €95,500*
3. Leo Margets (Spain) - €95,500*
4. Fernando Curto (Spain) - €54,100
5. Ignacio Barcenas (Spain) - €42,100
6. José Carlos López (Spain) - €31,200
7. Fabrizio Privitena (Italy) - €22,300
8. Marco Paul Lander (Switzerland) - €15,900
9. John Divers (United Kingdom) - €12,350
*Indicates a deal was made.
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Jack Stanton is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.