EPT8 Berlin: Does the name Mouawad mean anything to you?


Will we play the full six levels today? That's the new question being asked by people watching the clock tick down in quick time, as well as those eyeing a dinner early enough to digest before bed.

We started the day with 329 and now less than 180 remain, a torrent of eliminations making the chance of making the money a real possibility, with the top 112 players getting paid. If we reach that point it could be that play will end early, the two extra levels played on Day 1 (which is usually eight not ten levels long), hurrying things along somewhat.

Two players who will not be concerned with either scenario playing out today are Joseph Mouawad and Thang Duc Nguyen.


While for some the EPT is a relatively new thing, crowing champions like MacPhee and Wilinofsky, long term devotees remember the names of Mouawad and Nguyen being among the first crop of main event winners.

Nguyen was the unexpected winner of EPT Baden in Season 3, defeating a talented final table that among others, included the diminutive figure of Dario Minieri, who grinned his way to third place. But it was Nguyen who triumphed, the first ever German winner and the first winner not to speak English in his post-match interview, German pro Katja Thater providing the translation for the delighted champion.

Thang Duc Nguyen back in Season 3

Then, a year later, the poker world was treated to a second non-English speaking winner. Before Nicholas Chouity won the Grand Final for Lebanon, Joseph Mouawad was winning EPT London under the same flag, just a short walk from the Lebanese restaurants and sheesha pipe bars of London's Edgware Road.

Mouawad was among that rare breed of winner, those who win big and then wonder what the hell all the fuss is about, slightly taken aback by the sudden media interest as he collected a cheque for £611,500.

Joseph Mouawad in action in London

(Others in this category include Antonio Mathias, winner of EPT Vilamoura, whose wife waited impatiently for him "with a rabbit in the oven" as he had his winner's picture taken. Also this year's Barcelona winner Martin Schleich, who may still may be wondering what happened when someone put a TV camera in his face last September.)

Mouawad though was something a shock, beating Florian Langmann heads-up at a final table that also featured Frenchman Antony Lellouche.

All that though was several years ago. The game has changed, and the likes of Nguyen and Mouawad are welcomed back to the EPT scene like former World Series winners, waving their cowboy hats in the air, given a round of applause by an appreciative and respectful public. Only here there is no applause. Good to see them anyway.

Stephen Bartley
@StephenBartley in Berlin