EPT8 Madrid: Jensen topples great Scot to win Spanish title
The last two players in the EPT Madrid main event took their seats at either end of the table. It was the denouement of a week of play, but seemed like the first hand to be played in about an hour. To everyone's relief a period of endless deal brokering had come to an end; Andrei Stoenescu had been eliminated in third place, leaving Frederik Jensen and Fraser MacIntyre to play for the title. To everyone's relief the cards would be back in the air.
Jensen held a two-to-one chip lead over the Scot, who looked to have spent what was left of his energy persuading the others that his plan for a deal - in which all three players would be guaranteed €300,000 - was best for everyone. Jensen had disagreed, while Stoenescu had consulted with Romanian friends. Finally MacIntyre got his deal, albeit a revised one, guaranteeing himself €290,000. Stoenescu took away his €330,000 while Jensen had €385,000 in the bag. Before long he'd have the balance, and an EPT title.
"It feels pretty damn amazing," said Jensen. "At the Aussie Millions (where Jensen finished second) I got up against someone who was pretty tight, he won the first three or four pots and I thought he changed gears but he was just hitting.
"I've thought a lot about that for the last two years and I decided that I would stick to my game plan. That's what I did this time; grinding steadily, not playing big pots unless I had some equity."
The heads-up started with Jensen leading 9.5 million to 4.8 million. Soon it was 11.5 million to 2.7 million. Was MacIntyre content, having already got what he wanted? Had the Scot tossed caution aside like a caber? Not exactly, but the heads-up was all over in about 15 minutes, Jensen shoving with ace-ten, MacIntyre calling with ace-nine, and the board telling them both it had had enough.
The two players stood and shook hands, sharing a few words. For MacIntyre, it has been the best performance of his career and a result that makes him proud to be second on the Scottish all-time money list, behind EPT winner David Vamplew. For Jensen, it now meant a first live title and a winner's cheque worth €495,000, as well as the Shamballa bracelet. He also receives an invite to the Champion of Champions event later this season.
MacIntyre congratulates Jensen
It wrapped up a lengthy final table and a long week of poker at Casino Gran Madrid.
When play began the key player had been Spaniard Francisco Ibanez. After a brutish performance yesterday he'd seemed unstoppable. Yet, the others had different ideas, although not before three players had been dispatched, the three short stacks coming into the day.
The final table
Jason Duval went first. Playing his first EPT, Duval, a PokerStars qualifier from Quebec, fought well to score a finish worth €48,000 before Frenchman Nicolas Levi, who was short stacked today and seemingly every day this week, settled for seventh and €69,500. Ilan Boujenah went next. Ever present at the top of the leader board this week, the Israeli, whose style would best be described as burly with confidence, managed sixth place and €92,000.
Then went Ibanez, although not before he caused a stir.
Ibanez made EPT history today, becoming the first player ever to be given a penalty during final table play, after he made a deliberate forward motion with his chips, hoping perhaps to provoke a response from Stoenescu, who had moved all-in. Tournament staff spotted it and promptly penalised him, forcing him to step away for two hands.
Tournament director Toby Stone explains his ruling to Ricardo Ibañez
Ibanez had relied on an unconventional approach for much of the week, and to maximum effect. His exit though was much more conventional, his ace-two dethroned by a pair of Queens, out in fifth for €115,000. The wait for a first Spanish winner continues.
Known off the table for all manner of acrobatics and musical accomplishment, Bruno "Kool Shen" Lopes continued his mission to achieve similar recognition at the poker table. He got it.
Having recently won a major event in Paris, Lopes was looking for EPT glory in Madrid, and could have had it were it not for a huge hand that sent the bulk of his stack to Jensen. Jensen meanwhile went from short stack to chip leader. Lopes could only plummet. Left with six big blinds he had it all in shortly after, busting with head in hands, to Stoenescu with ace-ten against queens
The Romanian followed, although not before that agonising deal making process. Crucially his chips went to Jensen, leaving the Dane with what proved an insurmountable lead. That makes it back-to-back wins for Denmark following the success of Mickey Petersen in Copenhagen.
"Mickey needled me in the Danish press saying that he was always winning pots against me. He's a good guy."
Petersen had been commentating as his friend and countryman took the title and joined him on the stage a few moments later. Would Jensen now be giving Petersen some heads-up advice?
"Hey," said Petersen. "I know how to put on a show."
The final result:
1st. Frederik Jensen, €495,000
2nd. Fraser MacIntyre, PokerStars qualifier, €290,000
3rd. Andrei Stoenescu, €330,000
4th. Bruno Lopes, €140,000
5th. Ricardo Ibañez, €115,000
6th. Ilan Boujenah, €92,000
7th. Nicolas Levi, €69,450
8th. Jason Duval, €48,000
Read all our colour features form the day below, including the thoughts of a defeated Mike McDonald, at the links below. You can also find hand for hand details on our live coverage page.
Who will be the next Madrid Champion?
McDonald's double on hold
Short stacked but Levi not running dry
The hidden millions of Andre Stoenescu
Duval's dream comes to an end
MacIntyre winning but Boujenah loving the battle
Ibanez brings audience back to life
Ibanez booked - school boy error or professional foul?
No title for Spain as Ibanez's run comes to an end
MacIntyre chasing Vamplew's Scottish crown
Frederik Jensen with Mickey Petersen
That brings to an end another leg of the European Poker Tour. The eighth season continues in just a week's time when the Tour rolls into Campione for the first time for what is expected to be a great tournament with a fantastic back drop. We'll be there, just as soon as we work out whether it's in Italy or Switzerland. We hope you can join us.
Until then, it's goodnight from Madrid.
All photography © Neil Stoddart