EPT13 Barcelona: No sleep, but Nick Petrangelo €400K richer as first major champ of festival
You don't win close to half a million euros without being made to work for it. And the poker gods certainly made Nick Petrangelo put the hours in before he walked away with €413,000 at around 2am, Saturday morning, as the first major tournament champion of the EPT13 Barcelona festival.
After two long days cutting a starting field of 195 players to within sight of the final table, it required another 12 hours of play to get to a champion, nearly four hours of which were played between only three players.
Each of Petrangelo, Marcin Chmielewski and Markku Koplimaa held the chip lead on at least three separate occasions as they tried to get it to heads up. But no one could get a lead to stick and the only thing that was predictable was how unpredictable it all was.
By the time it finally ended, it was something of a crapshoot--and Petrangelo was ultimately in the right place at the right time.
That in itself was an exceptional achievement. He was playing a high roller event in Hollywood, Florida, earlier this week--making a final table at about 5am on Monday morning. He was eliminated in fourth spot on Tuesday and made a dash for the airport, only making his plane with minutes to spare, and then landing in Barcelona about two hours before registration opened on this event.
He bought in for €10,000. And he re-loaded. And after three gruelling days, he is the champion. He's already intending to play the €50,000 Super High Roller, which starts at 12:30pm tomorrow. Some people just can't help themselves.
Petrangelo was the class act on the final day, but had to see off stiff competition from Chmielewski in particular. For a man with not much more than €100,000 in live tournament winnings before today, Chmielewski took to the €10K world like a duck to water. He came up one place short, but took more than €200,000 for his troubles.
Fourteen players returned today looking for a seat at the final table, but it became clear very early on that there were no guarantees. Even the chip-lead, which belonged to Alexandru Papazian at the start of the day, did not help. In fact, as things progressed, the chip-lead became an albatross drowned in a poisoned chalice. Nobody could keep it for long.
Papazian, having been cut down to size in plenty of small pots, the lost a massive one to Pavel Plesuv--kings losing to ace-king--to go out in 10th. And by that time other former chip-leaders, including Dario Sammartino and Patrick Leonard, were also on the rail. It left a final table with representatives of eight different nations: the United Kingdom, United States, Taiwan, Estonia, Russia, Moldova, China and Poland.
Thanks to the huge hand against Papazian, Plesuv was the big stack when they got to the official final table. At the other end of the spectrum, Yang Zhang, Enzo Del Piero and Kitty Kuo were short.
Although it took a while, they would end up being the first three knocked out too: Zhang was rivered by Petrangelo, who made a last-gasp straight; Del Piero ran nines into aces; and Kuo's long and talkative stay ended when she ran queens into Roman Korenev's kings.
Petrangelo had taken over the chip lead by the time they were five-handed, and everyone except him was relatively short. The second-placed Korenev had only 28 big blinds as the levels crept onwards--and Korenev very nearly ended up being the next man out.
He lost a huge race with ace-king against Chmielewski's nines, and had only five big blinds when he shoved from the small blind against Plesuv. Plesuv called, but was dominated. (It was king-eight against jack-eight.) That that ended up leaving the man from Moldova short.
Then a few hands later, Plesuv was the next out when Korenev finished the job with ace-king against K♦J♦.
Even after scything down Plesuv, Korenev was still a short stack and although he had laddered to fourth, he would go no further. His 7♠7♦ couldn't out-race Chmielewski's A♠T♠ (a ten flopped) and then there were three.
Of the final three, Petrangelo had by far the most esteemed reputation. He has been blowing red hot for more than two years now, and came to Spain in fine form even though he had had no sleep. His fourth at the $25,000 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open was worth the best part of $200,000.
He also had a big stack--and you would have thought that would be decisive. But what actually happened was that Petrangelo, Koplimaa and Chmielewski played one of the most unpredictable passages of three-handed play the EPT has seen.
Actually, it began to be predictable in its own way. The simple fact was that whoever took over the chip-lead surrendered it almost immediately, losing race after race, with the big chips moving from Petrangelo, to Chmielewski, to Koplimaa and back again. Scroll through the blow-by-blow account to see what I mean.
After a series of outdraws and short-stack double-ups (and there really were loads) the blinds were creeping up. Eventually the three-way pass-the-parcel ended when Koplimaa's A♥7♣ couldn't beat Chmielewski's A♣J♠. Chmielewski punched the air as he took a commanding heads up lead.
Petrangelo doubled up almost immediately, with jacks against ace-king. And then he doubled, dwindled, doubled, dwindled until he finally won two races and took the title.
He can now have some much needed sleep--but will come back among the favourites for the rest of this festival.
Event #7: €10,000 single re-entry
Entries: 240 (195 unique + 45 re-entries)
Prize pool: €2,328,000
1 - Nick Petrangelo, United States, €413,000
2 - Marcin Chmielewski, Poland, €285,410
3 - Markku Koplimaa, Estonia, €220,230
4 - Roman Korenev, Russia, €173,670
5 - Pavel Plesuv, Moldova, €134,100
6 - Kitty Kuo, Taiwan, €101,500
7 - Enzo Del Piero, United Kingdom, €75,900
8 - Yang Zhang, China, €57,270