EPT11 Barcelona: Thrilling Estrellas leader board contest goes down to the wire

There was one last contest to come in the Estrellas season, not an event as such, but the Tournament Leader Board, which would be decided today. And like everything "Estrellas" during this festival, it was a thriller.

As it turned out it came down to the wire, with two players neck-and-neck for the title and the prize of €18,000 worth of tournament buy-ins.

It had been a long but successful Estrellas series for both Heinz Traut and Pedro Prada, who like two heavyweights, slugged away at each other all season for top spot. This morning it was as close as it could be, with Traut on 190.8 points and Prada just 0.2 points behind.

Estrellas leaderboard.jpgThe Estrellas leader board coming into today

And so to today when the last three events of the Estrellas season took place. Either one of events 15, 40 and 43, could have proved the decider.

To look back at these two players over the course of the season, was to witness two players in the form of their careers.

Traut, from Germany, scored the bulk of his points by coming third in the Estrellas Madrid Main Event. He followed that up with a second place in a Marbella side event, with two further cashes before he arrived in Barcelona for the season finale.

heinz_traut_ept11espt_tlb.jpgHeinz Traut in action this week

Prada meanwhile was posting near identical results. A runner-up finish in a Madrid side event, a third place in a similar event in Marbella and a win in an Estrellas Series event, smaller tournaments with €300 buy-ins, in July.

Up to this point Prada held the lead. But crucially Traut cashed in the record breaking Estrellas Main Event last week, notching up 201st place.

Today though, neither Traut nor Prada could cash. The standings would instead stay the same, with Traut taking the leader board title by the narrowest of margins, and bringing one of the most dramatic seasons on the Estrellas Poker Tour to a close.

For Prada, it means the satisfaction of a great season, while for Traut, the reward of €18,000 of tournament buy-ins -- to be spent on PokerStars events in Spain next year whether they're Estrellas or European Poker Tour events - should fund another campaign to top the table again.

Congratulations to both players on a great end to a fabulous season.

Follow all the action from the tournament floor on the main EPT Barcelona page. There's hand-by-hand coverage in the panel at the top, including chip counts, and feature pieces below. There's also EPTLive, which is streaming action from Day 6 of the Main Event.

Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.