Lucien Cohen wins EPT Deauville and €880,000
When it comes to big buy-in poker sometimes the script is torn up and simply thrown out of the window. Other times the script is just too weird to take seriously. Today we got both, one that involved an underdog winner, a giant plastic rat and a new French hero.
Tonight Lucien Cohen can call himself an EPT champion, the sixth from France, having driven home an unlikely two-to-one chip advantage against Sweden's Martin Jacobson. Jacobson was forced to accept his second runner-up finish of the season to allow Cohen the limelight in what was a spirited home turf display.
Lucien Cohen wins EPT Deauville
Cohen triumphed after an unpredictable final table in which the likely lads became unlikely losers and the underdogs barked and bit for all they were worth.
Cohen celebrates one of several winning hands
Chief among them was Cohen. Using a toy plastic rat as a card protector, the mascot of the pest control company he owns in Paris, he would produce an even bigger version from a rucksack by his feet when involved in a big hand. It annoyed and amused in equal measure among the populous local rail, although his victorious hollering may not have gone down too well with the players paying him off with chips. Over-achievement perhaps, but Cohen finished having done what all champions must do - win every chip in play.
In terms of pests at least three players might have wished Cohen had been able to rid the table of Latvian Kaspars Renga. Ruslan Prydryk, Anthony Hnatow and Kenny Hallaert must all feel that they busted prematurely today. Renga, who runs a hunting magazine when not playing poker, arrived at the final table as the short stack yet nursed his handful of chips into an unlikely fifth place, eliminated about four hours after everyone expected him to be gone.
Hanging on, Renga
Sometimes you just have to sit tight and wait for the nuts. Renga did, and got them three times, including a royal flush, for a hard-fought fifth place cheque worth €200,000.
Prydryk had gone first within minutes of the start, earning €66,800, while shortly after Jacobson had his first setback, a three-way pot with the indefatigable Renga and Wice which resulted in Jacobson reduced to 2,000,000 while Renga and Wice split the main pot, the Canadian taking the lead with more than 10,000,000 chips.
The end finally comes for Kaspars Renga
Jacobson fought back while the likes of Anthony Hnatow and Kenny Hallaert departed in seventh (€110,000) and sixth place (€155,000) respectively, not before Cohen had doubled through Wice with a turned full house, a critical moment.
Following Renga in fifth place was Julien Claudepierre, whose solid performance was worthy of a hat tip and €260,000. Suddenly the field had been reduced from six to three in just 20 minutes, while Claudepierre's elimination sent Wice back past the 10,000,000 mark and put him on a collision course with Jacobson and Cohen.
The young Canadian had dominated all through the week, never being far from the leaders, and the pre-match predictions that he and Jacobson would meet heads-up almost came to fruition.
But there was Cohen again. The image of him screaming and that blasted giant rat on the table may haunt Wice for weeks. The pair clashed for what would be the last time when after receiving a walk with aces Wice found ace-queen and raised from the small blind, only for Cohen to find pocket queens and raise from the big blind. Soon enough the money was in the middle and the blank board sent Wice out in third for €330,000. A superb performance obliterated in a wall of noise.
Wice in action
Cohen's two-to-one heads-up lead soon became five-to-one. Jacobson had to act and shoved for 6♥7♥ with 1,500,000 chips. Cohen called with A♠K♦ and he, his rat, and the bundle of vocal supporters standing a few feet away braced themselves for one last hand. The board missed everything the Swede was looking for and Cohen erupted.
For Jacobson it's his second near miss this year following Vilamoura, to go with the third place finish he secured in Budapest back in season five. The €560,000 Jacobson takes away tonight will be some consolation, but somehow you sense this will not be the last we see of him.
Congratulations to Lucien Cohen, the newest champion on the European Poker Tour. Night time Deauville better brace itself.
EPT Deauville champion Lucien Cohen
To find all the intimate details of today's final table click through the links below. You can also find a complete list of all of those who finished in the money at EPT Deauville on the official payout page.
That brings to a close our coverage from EPT Deauville. Thanks to our photographer Neil Stoddart for his work today, especially in dodging the security guards to get close to the action. Thanks also to our foreign blogging friends, working in Dutch, German and French, the latter of whom graciously endured our efforts at speaking French this week.
Casino Barriere in Deauville
We now turn our back on Northern France and head for an even colder place. EPT Copenhagen is just three weeks away, starting on 21 February at the Casino Copenhagen, complete with a foot of snow, service station hot dogs and several hundred players; the sort of players who infuriate and fascinate in equal measure. It's an event that never fails to provide a final table with a twist. Join us then for our live coverage from Denmark.
Until then thanks for reading and good night from Deauville.