EPT12 Barcelona: Loosli wins Super High Roller as Urbanovich finishes second again
With 17 players left in this tournament Dzmitry Urbanovich was the recipient of a full double up with kings against the queens of Jason Les. That cooler gave him the chip lead and although his stack at that point only amounted to what would be an average stack with seven players left, it seemed as if was his tournament to lose at that point and that the Pole was set fair to go one better than he did in the same event at the EPT Grand Final back in May.
But just as in Monaco, Urbanovich fell at the final hurdle here in Barcelona as Sylvain Loosli became the first Frenchman to win a Super High Roller title. Tonight the 2013 November Niner he has a shiny trophy to take back to France along with €1,224,000. It's a victory that was unexpected, not because of Loosli's poker ability, but because of the size of Loosli's stack. He returned today in sixth place of the nine remaining combatants and never troubled the upper echelons of the chip counts or took the chip lead until heads-up play began.
By that point Loosli could have taken the view that he was freerolling as he'd got it in bad and doubled three times whilst play was six handed or more, been as low as 3.8 big blinds with seven players left and was the basement dweller when play was four-handed and three-handed. Having dodged all those bullets he may well have been of the belief that his name was already on the trophy (do we have an EPT trophy engraver?). "I've been playing a lot of these tournaments for the last few years so I just know it's never over," he told the PokerStars Blog. "Even if you're down to a few big blinds sometimes you get lucky a lot. That's tournament poker. You just have to hold on to your chips and keep focusing on your game."
When Loosli took care of the impressive Christoph Vogelsang in third place he had a slim lead going into heads-up play and if there's been a weakness in Urbanovich's armour in these big buy-in tournaments it's come at this stage of the tournament. In quick order Loosli stretched out to a two to one chip lead. It was one way traffic until Urbanovich doubled back to parity (threes against K♥T♣) but it was to be short lived.
A big hand in which Loosli check-raised all-in on the river reduced Urbanovich to 20 big blinds. "In the heads-up match I check-raised all-in on the river against Dzmitry and I turned my hand into a bluff. I might have had the best hand, I'm not sure. I feel like I was representing a big hand and decided to put my tournament at risk at this point," said Loosli of that pivotal pot.
The final hand came when Urbanovich shoved with J♦T♠ and Loosli called with pocket fives. A five on the turn gave Loosli a set and the title. "It's been a rollercoaster," said the Frenchman after the dust had settled. "The final table was filled with great players. You had to fight to win every single pot. It was so tough and I had to play my best."
The win is Loosli's biggest result since his fourth place finish in the WSOP Main Event in 2013. "It's a different the Main Event, which was amazing," he said. "But this is a win and you play poker to win tournaments and titles."
As for Urbanovich, it was another near miss to winning a Super High Roller title. Whilst the history books will show that he finished second again, the manner of this runner-up finish in comparison to Monaco was markedly different. There he stumbled to the final table as the second shortest stack and wore a suit for the occasion, here he was third in the overnight chip counts, wasn't even in his seat when play began and came dressed in shorts and a hooded sweatshirt.
When he did show up he quickly set about adding to his stack and was chip leader when the official final table began. He retained that position - or was close to it - for the entire final table and it's easy to forget that he's barely 20 having celebrated that birthday in May. Whilst he may not have won, the reigning EPT Player of the Year has laid down a big marker for the season ahead.
In one of those strange quirks of tournament rules we had our final table when play started at 12.30 local time only we didn't. Final tables on the EPT are, as standard, eight handed, but nine remained. All were seated around the one table but one more player would have to be eliminated before the official final table photos could be taken.
It took 80 minutes for that to happen but Byron Kaverman would ultimately be the first to go. He was the shortest stack when play began, nines into the kings of Ivan Luca did the most damage before Urbanovich dealt the fatal blow, although that doesn't tell the whole story.
The next exit would come far quicker, like London buses some would say, and it was the last remaining Englishman who was sent on his way. Paul Newey is starting to become a regular fixture at the final table of these events but there was nothing he could do when the poker gods decided it was ace-king's turn to win the classic race against his queens.
Newey hopped into the Main Event and the next player out would be one of only two players to have pulled off the Main Event and Super High Roller EPT double (the other is Martin Finger). Steve O'Dwyer's record in high roller events is simply ridiculous and he again put up another solid showing. His exit hand was, like Newey's, a case of a big pair against two overcards. His 16.45 big blind three-bet shove with pocket jacks was called by Ivan Luca who held A♠K♠, a king on the flop sent O'Dwyer to the payout desk to collect €221,000.
Luca would be next to feel the hangman's noose. Along with Urbanovich the Argentinian player had been the breakout star of Season 11 of the EPT and like the Pole he's quickly gone about showing it was no fluke. His rollercoaster of a final table came to an end when he ran pocket sixes into the pocket tens of Urbanovich. The two have struck up something of a friendship, or at least a mutual appreciation, as they were seen bumping fists on a couple of occasions at the final table.
It remains to be seen if Michael Egan has a big a impact on the tour as Luca has in the past nine months, but the Australian has fired a decent opening salvo. The start of day chip leader had a tough seat to the left of Urbanovich and Christoph Vogelsang who were both well stacked and couldn't get anything going. He busted in fifth place when his A♥T♠ didn't get there against Urbanovich's A♠J♥. A €358,900 payday is his best yet.
The four players headed off to dinner but when play resumed Urbanovich was nowhere to be seen. A few hands later JC Alvarado was probably wishing he'd missed the first few hands as he went from second in chips to out in just five minutes. First he doubled up Vogelsang with J♠7♦ against pocket tens and he then lost the rest to Loosli. Fourth place was good for €446,800
At this juncture Vogelsang and Loosli were all but level in chips but over the next 25 minutes Loosli would loosen those chips from the German before dealing the knockout blow. The two players saw a J♠A♥T♥ flop and Vogelsang check-raised all-in with Q♣8♠. Loosli made a quick call with A♣8♠ and held on the 3♦ turn and 8♦ river.
That hand gave Loosli a slight chip lead and the platform on which to build his victory.
EPT12 Barcelona - Super High Roller
Total entries: 99
Prize pool: €4,753,485
1st.Sylvain Loosli (France) €1,224,000
2nd.Dzmitry Urbanovich (Poland) €841,500
3rd.Christoph Vogelsang (Germany) €551,485
4th.JC Alvarado (Mexico) €446,800
5th.Michael Egan (Australia) €358,900
6th.Ivan Luca (Argentina) €280,500
7th.Steve O'Dwyer (Ireland) €221,000
8th.Paul Newey (United Kingdom) €168,700
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