EPT10 Grand Final: Paul Berende wins the Open-Face Chinese, books €19,400. More to come?

Paul Berende tonight won the €2,200 Open-Face Chinese tournament to pocket €19,400. Could it kick-start another golden run for the Dutchman at the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final? Back in 2010, at the Season 6 EPT Grand Final, Berende went on a tear and seemed to run deep at ease.

"I had an insanely good year and was in the best run of my life probably," said Berende. "I cashed in Sanremo, went 17th (€30,000), then went straight to Monte Carlo, which I won a package for, then went 24th in the main (€50,000). I was running so good, feeling so good that I sold some action in the High Roller and went fifth in that (€191,400). That was an insane year."


Paul Berende enjoying a High Roller last season with JC Alvarado and Mike McDonald

Few would begrudge Berende another good year, insane or otherwise. He's a hugely popular player in the Dutch poker community and is 'good for the game'. You know, he's very talkative at the table and isn't shy of a beer.

Berende has clocked up a very creditable $1,715,079 in live tournament cashes, but even more so online. He's closing in on $3.5m tournament cashes on the virtual felt and is just a WCOOP away from the completing the online triple crown (the Triple COOP). Read about his 2013 TCOOP win here or his 2012 SCOOP win here.

While you might expect some players who have cashed for more than $5m in tournaments to shrug at a €19,400 win, Berende was tonight refreshingly thrilled about it.

"It's awesome," said Berende, sat next to the final table, which was being readied for the winner shot, "especially as this game feels more like a home game because all the cards are open, everybody's relaxed, you know. I started this game a year ago, maybe a little longer, and I didn't really consider myself one of the best players in it so to win it is really, really awesome."

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Berende fist-pump

Berende almost didn't play, but it's no sob story. He was too busy trying to win €119,000 in another tournament. Berende explained; "I made Day 2 of the FPS High Roller today so figured that if I bust the €2k I'll play the Main Event on Day 1B and maybe chill or play the Chinese, so, yeah, I ended up playing the Chinese, which I don't regret."

He'd played some Open-Face Chinese pineapple a couple of days ago, but quickly found out that the guys playing there had been playing a while and knew what they doing. He decided against donating too much to them.

"Even though it's a really gambly game," explained Berende, "I was probably the fish if I was going to join, so I thought I'd play the tournament."

It was a wise choice which paid off. Although he's obviously a very nice bloke, don't be thrilled if you have Berende at your table tomorrow, there's only one thing more dangerous than a confident Berende playing with a win under his belt, and that's him playing with a beer in his hand. Tomorrow could see both.

Click through to live updates, features and interviews from the EPT Grand Final Main Event and the EPT Grand Final Super High Roller.

is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.

Rick Dacey
@PokerStars in European Poker Tour