EPT10 Barcelona: Bendik headlines Season 9 award winners

As play begins on Day 1A and nearly everyone who started the day still has chips, all remain upbeat as they continue to harbor hopes of lasting the week to become the next EPT Main Event champion. The mood seems extra festive as well either thanks to or despite hangover -- depending on whether we're speaking literally or figuratively -- from last night's welcome party at the popular Opium club here in Barcelona.

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Besides food, drink, and good cheer, last night's gathering had an additional bonus with the presentation of EPT Season 9 awards. That required the party schedule to be rearranged a bit, but such was ably handled by a special team of jugglers on hand.

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Among those carrying away hardware last night was Anaras Alekberovas of Lithuania who earned the title of EPT9 Online Qualifier of the Year, thanks in part to having final tabled the Barcelona Main Event one year ago where he finished fourth.

Ankush Mandavia of the U.S. cruised to EPT9 Heads-Up Player of the Year after taking heads-up titles in Berlin and Prague. Miltiadis Kyriakides of Greece won EPT9 Omaha Player of the Year thanks to PLO wins in both Barcelona and London. Meanwhile, a couple of mixed games victories at the PCA plus another seven-card stud win at EPT Berlin helped the Netherlands' Marcel Luske secure the award for EPT9 Mixed Games Player of the Year.

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Marcel Luske

There were still more trophies handed out last night. Players from Norway collectively earned the title of EPT9 Best Country. A win in Deauville and a final table at Monte Carlo helped Russia's Vladimir Troyanovskiy win EPT9 High Roller of the Year.

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Vladimir Troyanovskiy

Finally, Jan Bendik of Slovakia won the most coveted award last night, winning EPT9 Player of the Year after amassing a long list of cashes and wins during the course of the season.

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EPT9 Player of the Year Jan Bendik

The start of a new EPT season means the race for trophies begins anew, with today's Super High Roller champion earning a head start on at least a couple of them.

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Click through to live coverage of the EPT Barcelona Super High Roller. Check out all the festival results here. Follow the @PokerStarsBlog Twitter account to keep up-to-date with all the EPT action and check out the EPTLive webcast.

Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in EPT Barcelona