At every EPT festival there are stories. Most involve poker, some involve late night shenanigans, of which we are largely asked to show a little discretion, but Deauville had a few great threads that lasted right until the very last hand of the Main Event.
Would Team PokerStars Eugene Katchalov complete his Triple Crown? Would Greece finally snatch its first EPT title? Was PCA winner Dominik Panka as good as Ike Haxton seemed to think he was? In the end, we got two yes’s and a no.
The EPT Deauville Main Event
There was a great turnout at Deauville, especially when you consider how many big names had made the trip to the Aussie Millions, which is now also a PokerStars sponsored event. After two starting days had been tallied, there were 671 entries into the €5,300 Main Event creating a €3,211,200 prize pool. Greek part-time player Sotirios Koutoupas won the Main Event for €614,000 having first taken the chip lead during Day 4 of play. It was a Trojan effort.
Koutoupas ended up heads-up against Team PokerStars Pro Eugene Katchalov. Both players were looking to score the maiden title for their home countries of Greece and Ukraine respectively, but Katchalov, the shorter stack, was also looking to complete his Triple Crown. He’d come close before, finishing third at EPT8 Barcelona, but Koutoupas’ stack and flopping power was too much. The €379,500 he collected for second was enough to tip Katchalov over the $8m career live winnings mark.
Greek players have put in some great performances over the last couple of seasons to notch up three EPT Main Event runner-up finishes, one of which was Koutoupas at EPT9 Prague. It’s fair to say that he and Greek poker deserved their moment in the sun.
The EPT Deauville High Roller
Just weeks after winning the PCA Main Event for $1.4m, young Polish player Dominik Panka arrived in Deauville to prove that he wasn’t a one-hit wonder. Winning an EPT High Roller for €270,000 should do it, although he was quick to admit that he ran pretty hot at the final table: he picked up aces three times, including in a coup where Kitai five-bet jammed into him with four-high pre-flop. Easy game, even when you’re at a table with three other EPT winners, a former EPT Player of the Year and the reigning European Rookie of the Year. That young buck was Adrian Mateos Diaz, a player we’re likely to see a lot more of over the next couple of years. Panka has all but taken the 2014 Rookie of the Year title. It will take someone pretty incredible to swipe that away from him – and he’s still got another 11 months to impress.
There were more than 40 tournaments during the EPT Deauville poker festival. Click through to see all the EPT Deauville results, cashes and trophy winners.
Rick Dacey is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.