The long, ultimately unproductive deal discussion having ended, the final four in the EPT10 Barcelona Main Event have been cut in half to two, with Kimmo Kurko the cause.
During those negotiations, Luca Fiorini had the chip advantage, slightly ahead of Kresten “the Killer” Nielsen with Tom Middleton and Kimmo Kurko not that far behind.
The 43-year-old former real estate agent gave himself over to poker about four years ago, concentrating on tournaments both live and online.
Fiorini won his way here via PokerStars.it, and prior to the final table he mentioned having traveled to Barcelona without his girlfriend, suggesting her presence might have proven distracting. But he was talking marriage, a house, and family should he triumph here. “Not if I come in second though!”
It was just an orbit after play resumed that Fiorini lost the lead and a hatful of chips to Kimmo Kurko.
After a button open by Fiorini was met with a big blind reraise from Kurko. Fiorini called, a 4♣7♦J♦ flop went bet-raise-shove, and after asking for a count Fiorini quickly called.
Kurko’s 10♥7♣ was technically ahead of Fiorini’s 10♦9♦, although Fiorini was the favorite with two cards to come. But after the 3♣ turn and J♣ river, Kurko was suddenly in first and Fiorini fourth.
Fiorini got some back from Kurko, winning a race with pocket treys versus the latter’s queen-jack.
But soon he was at risk again with A♥J♦ versus Middleton’s Q♣Q♦, and despite turning an open-ender met his end in fourth.
A dramatic fall, made more so by the immediate context of the non-deal. In any case Fiorini walks away with a best ever score of €328,000.
Just a few hands passed, and soon it was Kurko claiming another final table victim, this time in fellow golden-hat wearer Kresten Nielsen.
It was blind-vs.-blind, and from a 5♥8♠6♦ flop swirled a perfect storm of bets between Nielsen with top pair (K♦8♦) and Kurko who had a straight with 7♣4♣.
At the tabling of hands, Nielsen stood and grimaced, and after the 5♣ turn the golden cap came off, replaced by a pair of hands.
The river Q♥ ended Nielsen’s run, and after handshakes all around he replaced his cap and strode from the stage having earned a career-best — by far — cash of €440,500.
On the strength of those knockouts, Kurko has a slight lead to start heads-up with 19,766,000 to Tom Middleton’s 17,225,000.
It sounds like the pair is edging back into deal-making territory. Stay tuned to see how the negotiations — both away and at the table — proceed.
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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.