EPT12 Barcelona: Mustapha Kanit wins High Roller and €738,759

After the stress and strains of an event 506 entries long, which some worried could never fit into a three day shaped whole, the High Roller came to an end at around 9.45pm tonight, but not in a way anybody expected.

Instead, it was declared "done by deal". After the elimination of Niklas Astedt in fourth place, chip leader Mustapha Kanit, second placed Kuljinder Sidhu and third placed Nick Petrangelo went into conference to talk numbers. At first it seemed unlikely. Kanit didn't like ICM and snubbed chip-chop. But the will to agree persisted and a deal done.


kanit_wins_barcelona_hrw.jpgAnother high roller win for Mustapha Kanit

As is often the case in events of this size, the players knew each other personally, and the back slaps, handshakes and fist pumps were genuine and heartfelt. But once the pleasantries were over Kanit's rail erupted, as their man was declared winner on points, if not by knock out. For his part a visibly thrilled Sidhu told his jubilant friends they could now go out for pizza.


kanit_hugs_barcelona_hrw.jpgKanit was well supported all the way

It brought to a close another of the festival record breakers, leaving only the Main Event to conclude (which you can watch on EPT Live here, and follow reports of on the PokerStars Blog here). It also closed out a sometimes volatile final table, one that could easily have gone in another direction.


deal_making_barcelona_hrw.jpgPetrangelo, Kanit and Sidhu thrash out a deal

Nick Petrangelo especially might feel that this one got away from him. Let's be clear, there was no error in his performance, the latest in a year full of them. Petrangelo is a man of enormous talent, as he has shown repeatedly this year (a bracelet is just one highlight), and indeed this festival.

nick_petrangelo_barcelona_hrw.jpgNick Petrangelo took third place

He brought the lead to the final table, and in a crucial hand that sent Ami Barer and Aliaksei Boika to the rail, looked to have sewn it up with a massive lead. But the description of Petrangelo as one of the game's hottest players happens to apply to Kanit as well.

The Italian, who in contrast to Petrangelo's appearance is something of a scruff bag, at times looked unstoppable, able to pick himself up from beats to rally and prevail. The size of his talent (this was only his third biggest win of this year alone and his second EPT High Roller win of the year) is matched by the size of his popularity. For Kanit the pain of defeat is soon forgotten and, as in this case tonight, the joy of victory easily shared.


kanit_and_friends_barcelona_hrw.jpgPopular guy: Kanit and friends

So after Petrangelo took his lead Kanit began his attack, and with pocket Queens won a big pot against the American that swing the lead back in his favour. Kanit never looked back.

It had been a typically familiar final table. Kevin MacPhee, an EPT winner, departed in eighth placed while Austria's Gerald Karlic followed in seventh. Barer came close to matching his performance in this event exactly a year ago. In Season 11 he finished fourth. This time it would be sixth, after the hand that most thought would see Petrangelo taking home silverware.

It was a hand worth recounting. Finding aces, Petrangelo made an easy call with Barer and Boika all-in. When he flopped a set it ended Barer's campaign but also that of Boika, who nearly made it back to back Barcelona High Roller wins for Belarus.

That left four, but Astedt was in danger. With his stack perilously short the sharks began to circle. He put his faith in king-five, but Sidhu had found Ace-king. With the Swede gone it opened the way for the deal that would bring this one to a finish.

Kanit deserved his win, but had either of the others come through to take it all would have proved deserving of their achievement.

That it finished so soon also surprised some who worried this event might test the casino rule that enforced a hard stop at 2am. With 30 left today it was certainly a possibility. But it didn't, and you can recall every step of this tournament, with all the action and features from the day, check out our High Roller coverage page.

An anti-climactic ending? Some might say so. But to see three players genuinely happy with the outcome was itself something new. Especially Kanit, now Italy's highest earning player, who with a rail at least 30 strong, and with local bars still open, just led them out to celebrate.

The full result is below:

€10,000+€300 High Roller (single re-entry)
Entrants: 401 (105 re-entries)
Prize pool: €4,908,200
Places paid: 71

1. Mustapha Kanit (Italy) €738,759*
2. Kuljinder Sidhu (United Kingdom) €640,000*
3. Nick Petrangelo (United States) €592,840*
4. Niklas Astedt (Sweden) €336,700
5. Aliaksei Boika (Belarus) €265,600
6. Ami Barer (Canada) €206,500
7. Gerald Karlic (Austria) €155,600
8. Kevin MacPhee (United States) €108,500
* denotes a three way deal


luca_vivaldi_mustapha_kanit_barcelona_hrw.jpgTournament director Luca Vivaldi and Mustapha Kanit

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Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.