Unlike in other events this season, those watching today kind of knew that this final table would be a long one. The reasons were obvious. For a start the days in Campione begin at 2pm rather than 12pm, but aside from this obvious logic (and that most final tables these days take a while), the players had a lot of chips, and without exception, the talent to win.
When Day 3 dragged on for seven levels, reducing the field to 24, it shaved hours from the action yesterday, which slimmed the field to eight in just four hours. It left the finalists with chips and the time to use them when they sat down this afternoon. And over 13-and-a-half-hours they proved that point.
The final table
Against the backdrop of what looked like an electronic digital billboard sold to an Italian television by the makers of Blade Runner, Jannick Wrang endured the glare to win his first EPT title, the third in a row for Denmark, in the Casino di Campione tonight, earning €640,000.
The new EPT champion Jannick Wrang
“I was really rooting for Olivier to bust out when he was all-in (when four-handed) because he’s a very tough player,” said Wrang, shortly after his victory. “Everyone was tough actually, it was a sick final table.
“I can’t compare it with any other wins not yet. It’s a nice pay day.”
A win is a win on the EPT but Wragg’s title came against some significant opposition, not least Busquet.
A naturally gifted player, Busquet (who looked as unruffled in his waistcoat and tie at 4am as he had done at 2pm) was a unswerving threat to opponents this week, outlasting the gold-diggers who tried to rob him of the wealth he’d amassed earlier in the week, to come within a whisker of a first EPT title. Two weeks ago in Madrid he had shown us what he was capable with a short stack. Today he demonstrated what he can do with a big stack.
Of the eight finalists all had something in their pedigree to suggest a possible win today.
Robin Ylitalo, who departed in eighth, had previously reached the penultimate table of an EPT event, while seventh place Stefano Puccilli, the last Italian from a 42 per cent Italian field, had an Italian Poker Tour title to his name.
In sixth place went Mario Nagel, who won a SCOOP title in 2011, followed by the impressive Koen de Visscher, who had played a thoughtful game this week, only to crash out in fifth, two places short of his previous best finish of third at Snowfest in Season 7.
Koen de Visscher
It left a quartet of Busquet, Botond, Wrang and Soulier, arguably the four toughest players on the day.
As the clock reached 12.45am Botond, a fearless player for much of the week, made a big move on the turn but Wrang had top pair and a flush draw and snapped him off. It was nearly an hour and a half before Soulier followed.
The Frenchman looks like a man who has been awake for 36 hours whether he has been or not. This was his first EPT final table, despite a career full of success both in Europe and the United States. Today though he was unable to finish what he came here to do.
Short stacked compared to his last two opponents, Soulier, got his chips in with a king, which paired on the flop, before Wrang’s ace found its partner on the turn.
It left Busquet and Wrang relatively equal in chips, but as a heads-up specialist, Busquet was the favourite. But Wrang was not here to make it easy for the American, who looked as alert and focused, in a waistcoat and tie, as he did at 2 o’clock this afternoon. But finding strength from somewhere at 3.50am, he pushed on,
With the chips in the middle and the cards on their backs, Busquet was all-in with ace-nine against Wrang’s ace-six. Crucially though Wrang’s ace was a heart. Two hearts then hit the flop, a third the turn and a fourth the river.
After such a long time at the table players don’t jump in the air to celebrate. Wrang, exhausted, smiled and shook Busquet’s hand. From the look on his face, all this won’t sink in for Wrang until he’s woken up from a long sleep.
Catch up on all the live coverage from today on the live coverage page, while the features from today can be found below.
Introducing the players
Which countries crush the EPT?
Looking back from the stage
Last of the locals takes a bow
Deep stacked six max
Three in a row for Denmark?
De Visscher mounting a comeback, five remain
Busquet feeling the pressure
That brings another EPT main event to a close, one of the most picturesque in the tour’s history. Now though we leave lakes and mountains behind and point ourselves towards the German capital Berlin, which hosts the penultimate leg of the tour in two weeks from now.
Casino di Campione
Until then, what time does the sun come up?
Goodnight from Campione.
All photography © Neil Stoddart