Lundmark's landmark win at EPT Barcelona
A great first act, a slow, more reflective act two, followed by a dynamite finale. The main character to this televised drama? A quiet, unassuming Swede named Kent Lundmark, with a knack of picking his moments and who can now call himself a European Poker Tour champion.
Lundmark, 22, from Stockholm, dispatched Jesus Cortes Lizano heads-up after what at one point had looked a likely walkover, a choreographed ball staged to make Lundmark look invincible.
Kent Lundmark, winner of EPT Barcelona
The reality was slightly different. Neither chipped up nor a short stack at the off, Lundmark sat out the two early parries, then shifted up a gear, seeing off five of the last six players with well-timed flourishes, the type that had he been Spanish would have been met by Olés by the partisan crowd.
But even in defeat Cortes Lizano's result marks a high point for Spanish poker players on the EPT, beating the record set by Santiago Terrazas who finished third here in season six.
Jesus Cortes Lizano
The day had begun in chaotic style, a first act featuring two players busting within a hand of each other. First, Italian Francesco Notaro moved with ace-king against Jesus Cortes Lizano's ace-queen. All looked good for Notaro until a rivered queen sent him to the rail. Then on the next hand Georgios Skotadis joined him, his tens flattened by Thor Stang's pocket jacks. Down to six.
For all Stang's efforts he would be next to depart, the first sign of what would be Lundmark's sudden turn of foot, making up the bulk of act two. But while the first two eliminations hinted at a speedy last day, the action soon reverted to type. Long periods of inactivity, peppered with key highlights, such as the gradual and Quixotic demise of Giuseppe Pantaleo.
After Stang's last stand failed, and his king-queen was bettered by Lundmark's pocket fives, Pantaleo was in the firing line almost immediately, his tournament simply peaking too soon.
Chip leader coming into the day, Pantaleo suffered as his stack was worn away, and he may in some part have himself to blame.
In what proved a cautious hand, Jesus Cortes Lizano called Pantaleo's river raise with what would turn out to be jack high, but crucially Pantaleo had already mucked without showing, an act he would soon come to regret. The suggestion was that he folded the winning hand. Pantaleo's misery would soon be complete, sent home by Lundmark, whose pocket queens held firm against the German's ace-jack.
That left four, only not for long. Shander De Vries, who certainly had his gib cut like that of a champion, would instead have to settle for fourth place as Lundmark's rampage continued.
Shander De Vries
Then the tables turned. In a massive hand against Cortes Lizano, Lundberg suddenly knew what it meant to be behind. Four-betting with ace-deuce against the Spaniard's pocket queens the Swede was now the short stack, and Cortes Lizano, buoyed by a jubilant crowd cheering his every play, looked set to become the first ever Spanish EPT winner.
But EPT finals never proceed as expected, and the script is so often torn up. Step forward Konstantin Puchkov, the hero maker in this case, who allowed Lundmark back into the game by slow playing his pocket kings. When he called Lundmark's all-in he was ahead. But Lundmark had a spade draw and the king on the river just happened to be one of them.
It flung Lundmark and Cortes Lizano into a head-to-head matchup that most predicted would be a short sharp shock. Instead it lasted an hour and 20 minutes; Lundmark plugging away, against the tide of Spanish euphoria, to complete a third act, his last ace-queen holding up against the local hero's king-jack, bringing this EPT production to an end.
Lundmark (right) and Cortes Lizano meet heads up
Congratulations to Kent Lundmark, the sixth Swedish EPT winner and the new Champion of EPT Barcelona.
A happy Kent Lundmark, with friends
Find it all too improbable to believe? It's all recorded in the links below.
Those links mark the end of our EPT Barcelona coverage. A final reminder of who won what can be found on our prize winners' page.
Our thanks one last time to our foreign bloggers, no doubt much better than us, who write in German, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Greek and Swedish. As is customary, photography today was brought to you by Neil Stoddart.
The magic fountain
That's it. Thanks for following our coverage of EPT Barcelona. Next up for us will be EPT Prague starting in a little more than two weeks. It's where the "cold outside, scorching in the tournament room," cliché was born and is also where we've had some memorable finals. Just ask Arnaud Mattern, Salvatore Bonavena and Jan Skampa. It will be excellent.
Until Prague then, it's good night from Barcelona.