EPT11 Malta: A round with...aka the Sebastian Pauli show

As we alluded to earlier there are some tasty looking table line-ups here on Day 2 of the EPT11 Malta Main Event. Whilst the table of Cody, ElkY, Selbst et al has got top billing the under card is none too shabby either.

You can stand between any section of four tables and have a potential candidate for 'A round with...' as it is we plumped for Table 38, one that, at the time, contained: two EPT champions, a two-time bracelet winner/WPT/LAPT champion, an IPT champion and the former number one ranked online tournament player in the world just for starters.

With blinds at 400/800 ante 100 this is how table 38 looked:

Seat one: Sebastian Pauli
Seat two: Dominik Nitsche
Seat three: Yury Gulyy
Seat four: Marc-Olivier Carpentier
Seat five: Jannick Wrang
Seat six: Justin Steinbrenner
Seat seven: --Empty--
Seat eight: Patrick Leonard
Seat nine: Andrea Benelli


Nitsche had a front row seat for the Pauli show

What started off as a standard 'round with' soon turned into the Sebastian Pauli show though as he was involved in the vast majority of the significant action and chipped up from 30,000 to a more comfortable stack of around 60,000 during the orbit we observed.

It was Benelli who suffered most at the hands of Pauli. The Italian has made three EPT final tables (fourth twice and seventh) and is also an IPT champion but had no answer to Pauli's aggression in their battles during this orbit.

In their first clash Benelli opened to 1,600 from under-the-gun and Pauli confidently, and swiftly, slid out a three-bet of 4,200. Back on Benelli he asked Pauli how much he had back - around 25,000 was the answer - and then called from his stack of over 100,000. A c-bet of 3,800 on the 7♠6♦2♥ board was enough to earn Pauli the pot. As he was stacking chips he conversed in German with Justin Steinbrenner with the latter exclaiming 'blocker' and laughing as he did.

The pair resumed their personal duel a couple of hands later with Benelli raising from the small blind and Pauli calling the extra from the big. There was action on all three streets of the 4♠9♦K♠A♠5♠ board with Pauli calling bets of 2,500 and 5,000 before raising Benelli's river bet of 8,000 to 19,000 total. There was no hollywooding from the Italian who near instantly released his cards and surrendered the pot to Pauli. The German had made short work of turning his stack of 30,000 into one now approaching 50,000.

8G2A4898_EPT11MAL_Sebastian_Pauli_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Pauli played power poker

He wasn't going to settle for that, oh no. You don't win EPT titles by settling. In, what you'd like to think was some kind of tacit agreement sealed over cigars and whiskey whilst relaxing on a Chesterton in the EPT winners members bar, Pauli took the next hand off and Jannick Wrang won it with a raise and take.

But one hand off was enough for the German. The action in the next hand was started by Marc-Olivier Carpentier, the Canadian opened to 2,000 from under-the-gun but he would go no further after Pauli popped it to 4,500 on the button. As the dealer prepared the deck for the next pitch, Kevin MacPhee, who Pauli defeated heads-up to win his EPT title, walked past on his way to a new seat assignment.

Pauli though had a new adversary as Benelli raised again, this time from the hijack, Pauli elected to just flat call on this occasion and Carpentier came along from the big blind. The dealer fanned a 7♣J♠8♥ flop, definitely one of those that you can file under 'actiony'. Perhaps not though as it checked to Pauli who bet 3,000. Would both fold like a house of cards again and allow the German to scoop yet another pot? We soon had an answer, Carpentier moved all-in for just over 20,000, Benelli folded and Pauli re-checked his cards before shrugging and calling the all-in shove. Both players had king-jack and after an uneventful turn and river the pot was chopped.

At this point a new level began and the blinds increased to 500/1,000 ante 100 but different blind level, same game flow. Action passed to Pauli and he min-raised to 2,000. Yury Gulyy, who had a 100% fold pre-flop stat in this orbit so far, slid out a three-bet of 5,200 only for Carpentier to then move all-in for 23,700 total. Pauli had seen enough and ducked out the way but Gulyy needed time to consider his options. He asked the dealer for a count of the all-in, looked at his own chip stack, which amount to around 85,000, and then folded.

Amazingly that was the first hand this orbit that had been won by someone who wasn't an EPT champion. Normal service was resumed on the following deal though as Wrang showed his class in a pot against Steinbrenner. The T♣ had been exposed during the deal, but with the pot unopened by the time Wrang had his option from the small blind, he elected to make it 2,800, which Steinbrenner called. There was no betting action on the J♣7♠A♣ flop but that changed on the 7♣ turn. Wrang led for 2,800, Steinbrenner raised to 6,100 and Wrang then tanked before raising to 10,200 total. After thinking it over Steinbrenner released his hand and Wrang raked in more chips.


Wrang - a class act

On the final hand of the orbit Wrang and Pauli both put in 2,000 apiece pre-flop, as did Sergio Remuinan, who was the big blind and had been moved to the table a few hands prior. On the K♥2♦5♦ flop Pauli fired a bet of 4,700 and Remuinan was the only caller. There was no betting on the 6♠ turn but when Pauli bet 20,000 on the 8♦ river Remuinan released his hand.

It was a seriously impressive performance from Pauli who hoovered up chip after chip during this orbit. But, if proof was needed that in no limit hold'em tournaments everything can change in one hand then look no further than Pauli's exit hand, which happened around 60 minutes later.

In a hand that was described to us by Patrick Leonard, he told us that after he raised to 2,400 with pocket queens, Pauli three-bet to 7,200 with pocket kings, only for Wrang to four-bet to 18,000. Back on Leonard he tanked for four minutes before folding, Pauli then moved all-in for around 85,000 and Wrang snap called with pocket aces. The Dane just had Pauli covered and on this occasion aces were not cracked. It was good to see Pauli smiling as he left the tournament floor though, not a lot you can do in a hand like that.

Follow all the action from EPT Malta on the main EPT Malta page. There's action from the Main Event on the Main Event page, and information from the Italian Poker Tour event on the IPT page. It's also about time you downloaded the EPT App, available on both Android or IOS.

Nick Wright
@PokerStars in European Poker Tour