PokerStars Blog has been on the floor to report on every major High Roller at every European Poker Tour stop, until this year of course. But while we can’t be there in person, we can still bring you some EPT action thanks to EPT Online.
We’re now in the High Roller stages, with the $10K playing down to a champion tonight and the $25K Super High Roller kicking off tomorrow (Friday, Nov 12).
So what better time to take you on a trip down memory lane and tell you some of the most memorable High Roller moments from EPTs past.
Did Will Kassouf buy himself an EPT High Roller title?
Things have certainly changed a lot since December 2016, but back then “nine high like a boss” was all the rage and the controversially chatty Will Kassouf was a big talking point in the poker world.
His deep run in the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event brought him the notoriety, but later that same year he proved he wasn’t a one-trick pony when he took down the final €10,300 High Roller of EPT Prague, winning €532,500 and the trophy (on his birthday, no less).
However, what really made that victory stand out was the heads-up deal Kassouf made with “runner-up” (if you can call him that), Patrick Serda.
The two never even played heads-up.
“When the pair got down to two, Serda had a four to one chip lead,” we wrote in our event report. “That meant he wanted to get the lion’s share of the prize pool and didn’t really care about the trophy or winner’s photo. Kassouf was offered €532,500 (compared with €485,600 originally intended for second place) and the trophy for first place, while Serda locked up €719,000 and second place.”
Did Kassouf actually win the title, or did he buy it? At the time he felt the win was more important than the money due to the potential sponsorships he could pick up. But due to some other controversies, the dust has well and truly settled on that dream. For now.
Henrik Hecklen’s dominating breakout performance
Two years later we were back at EPT Prague and this time around we witnessed the breakout result for an already massively successful poker star.
“There aren’t many ‘enigmas’ left in poker,” we wrote in our event recap. “You could probably count on one hand the players you really want to know more about, but don’t.
“Henrik Hecklen’s mythology was mainly built behind the computer screen. Known on PokerStars as “hhecklen”, he’s amassed millions in online earnings over the years, both in high stakes cash games and tournaments.
Now it seems he’s growing his mystique in the live poker world too. He had a deep run in the WSOP Main Event in the summer, and this week enjoyed a deep run in the Prague Main Event, busting in 23rd place.
“That means he hopped straight into this EPT Prague €10K High Roller after four straight days of grinding the Main. Three days later, he’s the champ.”
Hecklen dominated the final table, which included the likes of Michael “imluckbox” Addamo, Daniel “oxata” Dvoress, Danny Tang, and eventual runner-up Ole “wizowizo” Schemion to take down the title and €503,700.
Mustapha Kanit battles and bluffs some of the best
There aren’t many players who are as entertaining to watch in live events than Italian superstar Mustapha Kanit. But the UK’s Charlie Carrel might be one of them.
Throw live-read specialist Chance Kornuth into the mix, and you’ve got a three-handed match for the ages.
That’s exactly what we got back at the 2016 EPT Dublin in the €25,000 High Roller.
Before they were down to three we saw Kanit pull off some incredible plays, including this bluff:
Kanit had an enormous chip lead heading into three-handed and could have won it all in a three-way all-in. He held A♦9♠, Carrel had 5♣5♥, and Kornuth had them both in trouble with his K♥K♣.
To find out what happened (SPOILER: Kanit didn’t win it all) watch the video below (the hand starts at 1:20:09).
Anyway, after all the drama Kanit would eventually get the job done and take it down for €501,640.
Leon Tsoukernik shows the pros a thing or two
A few days before Kassouf won his €10K title at EPT Prague 2016, all eyes were on the €50K Super High Roller final table, which featured two players seemingly destined to battle each other heads-up:
King’s Casino owner Leon Tsoukernik and the garish young whizkid Charlie Carrel.
Their completely different styles and personalities resulted in some fantastic action, most memorably this huge pot and extremely long tank:
Ultimately Tsoukernik took down the title in his home city winning €741,100, while Carrel had to settle for €535,250.
Professor Seidel educates the young wunderkind
By the time the €100K Super High Roller rolled around at the 2015 EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo, Poland’s Dzmitry Urbanovich had built a big buzz for himself, racking up big result after result on the EPT circuit.
He was aggressive and super talented, but when he faced up against the legendary Erik Seidel heads-up, he was taken back to school.
“in order to wrap up this one, Seidel had to do what nobody in the game has deemed possible in the past couple of months: beat Dzmitry Urbanovich heads up,” we wrote in our event recap. “Seidel wasn’t in Malta last month when the 19-year-old Pole announced his arrival on the global poker scene by winning four events, including the €25,000 Special High Roller tournament.
“Despite only buying in at the start of Day 2, and despite coming to the final table with the second smallest stack, Urbanovich had seemed set to continue his devastating run with victory in this enormous event. Let’s not do him down — second place and €1,446,600 is yet another sensational result in Urbanovich’s embryonic career — but Seidel overcame a three-to-one heads up chip lead to prevail and hand out a harsh lesson to this incorrigible upstart.”
Seidel won €2,015,000 for his efforts.