EPT9 Grand Final: Max Altergott brings festival to a close with victory in Super High Roller
The finale of the European Poker Tour's ninth season is over with Max Altergott triumphing in the last major event of the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino EPT Grand Final, the €100,000 buy-in Super High Roller event, earning a first prize of €1,746,400, and a Shamballa Jewels bracelet worth €10,000, courtesy of the Official Bracelet Sponsor of the European Poker Tour Season 9 High Roller and Super High Roller events.
It marks the first major cash for the German, who was largely unknown before he registered late to play what is rightly billed as one of the most exclusive events in world poker. High stakes cash games are evidently his thing, but his transition to high stakes tournaments has been seamless, beating crowd favourite Jason Mercier heads-up to the title.
Max Altergott on his way to the title
When we say crowd favourite, we mean of the half a dozen high rollers who made regular appearances on the rail to watch the final seven players play down to a winner in a tournament room slowing down after a busy nine days.
All smiles but Mercier falls short
The TV crew in action
Short stacks Mike Watson and Scott Seiver were quickly pressed into action, doubling up to survive the first hour, before departing in seventh and sixth place respectively. The Russian Vladimir Troyanovsky busted in fifth place, while Timothy Adams followed him in fourth, details of which can be found on our live coverage page.
Scott Seiver needed help from somewhere, but got none
After a deal was nixed, play continued three-handed, with Sorel Mizzi, a one-time chip leader, sparring with both Mercier and Altergott before his tournament came to an end in third place, his king-queen dethroned by Altergott's pocket jacks.
Out in third - Sorrel Mizzi
It left only a short heads-up duel to wrap things up, Altergott, once in front, never permitted his chip lead to slip, denying Mercier his 15th live tournament win in the process. Mercier had come out worst in a big hand with a pair and a turned flush draw against Altergott's over pair. It effectively decided the tournament.
Mercier got his last chips in with ten-six of diamonds, which Altergott called with jack-nine off-suit. While Mercier paired his six on the flop, the turn and river filled a straight for Altergott. It's a result arguably tinged with anti-climax, at least if you like your winners well-known. But Altergott has made it obvious that his first title was earned by hard graft and talent, and a Super High Roller win is a guaranteed fast track into the poker spotlight.
It brings to an end the three day tournament that attracted 50 entries, and the end of a nine day festival that attracted hundreds more.
It started last week with the €10,000 main event that gradually became the tour's most memorable, with a final table line-up that will for a long time be considered the best in history - won by Steve O'Dwyer. Prior to that the €25,000 High Roller event was claimed by Steven Silverman, one of 50 side event winners from the festival that you can find on the side event results page.
It also concludes the ninth season of the EPT, following stops in Barcelona, Sanremo, Prague, the PCA, Deauville, London, Berlin and here in Monaco. It had a new look and a new appeal and thousands of players took part in what are the best tournaments anywhere in the world. Now, the wait for Season 10 begins.
Former baseball commissioner Bart Giammati once famously wrote of how baseball breaks your heart. "It blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings", he said, and then, "it leaves you to face the fall alone."
The Monte Carlo Bay Hotel
Perhaps it's not quite as stark for poker, the seasons are reversed and there's a plentiful supply of games to be played somewhere, not least online or on the UKIPT which starts again in June. But it does make you wonder where the time went, and long to do it all again.
Thanks to everyone who has read our coverage throughout the season, and taken the time to contact us. We shall return for Season 10 starting in Barcelona in August, where this whole thing starts once more for what will be the tour's tenth anniversary.
For now, have a good summer, and goodbye from Monaco.
EPT9 Grand Final, Super High Roller
Date: 13-15 May, 2013
Players: 41 (+9 re-entries)
Prize pool: €4,851,000
1 - Max Altergott, Germany, €1,746,400
2 - Jason Mercier, USA, Team PokerStars Pro, €1,115,700
3 - Sorel Mizzi, Canada, €679,100
4 - Timothy Adams, Canada, €485,100
5 - Vladimir Troyanovsky, Russia, €339,500
6 - Scott Seiver, USA, €266,900
7 - Mike Watson, Canada, €218,300
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.