Three-handed, the result of the EPT London looked a hard one to predict. The remaining players were each sizably stacked, each had fire in their eyes, and with a dinner break on the horizon no one felt any need to be hasty.
Then the earth suddenly moved, two hands collided, sending one man to the rail and another into a massive lead. But just as it looked like John Juanda’s four-to-one chip advantage over David Vamplew would have the final wrapped up within minutes, Vamplew began to battle. And what a fight he put up.
The 23-year-old’s previous best result was a cash in a World Series hold’em event earlier this year, but today he showed all the experience of a wise old pro, fighting back to level the chip counts, then digging deeper and deeper when Juanda won it back, finally turning over the winning hand to be crowned newest champion on the European Poker Tour.
David Vamplew, winner of EPT London
If Vamplew is a shock winner of EPT London then it’s because of the man he had to defeat on his way to the title.
Juanda is a pro of the very highest order, a four-time bracelet winner with more than $10.5 million in the tournament bank, a resume comparable with only a handful of players. Two years ago he finished second in the EPT London High Roller £1 million Showdown. Today he settled for second place once more, denied by a Scottish terrier who doesn’t know how to quit.
“He got really unlucky,” said Vamplew of Juanda after the final. “It will be really interesting to see what he had when it was broadcast, [to see] what he had when he was getting me off some of my hands.”
Vamplew took to the task of overhauling Juanda’s 19.6 million to 5.6 million chip lead, but it was no straightforward task. At times Vamplew looked physically worn and mentally exhausted, while Juanda remained fresh, occasionally stretching the muscles in his neck, that being his only public show of fatigue. That Vamplew was able to overcome this lent further weight to his achievement tonight.
Back at the start today Juanda had led. Well almost. Actually Bowker arrived at the London Hilton Metropole with a 90,000 advantage over Juanda, but that was quickly overcome, Juanda stretching out toward the 10 million mark as Bowker remained static.
The feature table
The table featured an unusual dynamic, the big stacks of Bowker and Juanda casting shadows over the other six.
Per Ummer was first to depart, eliminated by another short-stack Artur Wasek, before Tom Marchese departed in seventh place, seen off by Vamplew.
Portuguese player Fernando Brito went next, another member of the short-stack club, followed by Kayvan Payman in fifth.
Artur Wasek was no better equipped chip wise but matched his fourth place at EPT Berlin with a similar game plan, one of caution and intense chip management. All-in several times the Polish giant was finally felled by John Juanda, his two final tables in just a few months a remarkable achievement nonetheless.
It left Vamplew, Bowker and Juanda, the three players deemed “most likely” all day; Bowker departing in that hand to set up a gruelling heads-up finale, one made memorable for the tireless efforts of the newcomer Vamplew taking on Juanda, one of the game’s genuine legends.
In the last hand, with Juanda reduced to little more than 3 million chips, both players turned over their cards, A♦3♣ for Vamplew against Juanda’s K♦2♦. When the flop landed 3♠A♦10♠ Juanda allowed himself a smile, beaten, unable to crack his young foe.
As far as EPT final tables go this one was a good one and you can read back through all of the action at the links below, and find out who won what here.
Aside from a £10,000 6-Max Turbo event and the UKIPT Tournament of Champions tomorrow, Vamplew brings to an end the Festival of EPT London. Alongside the main event ran the High Roller tournament, results for which can be found here, as well as an 8-Game European Championship won by Chris Bjorin, a Ladies event won by Anais Lerouge and a Charity Event won by Dutch player Arnoud van der Werf. There really was something for everyone.
That then wraps up our EPT London coverage. Thanks for joining us in London. Next stop for the tour is Vienna in Austria, where the EPT bandwagon will waltz into the home of Strauss, Freud, Kafka and the Von Trapps. It should be quite a combination. It all starts on 26 October. See you there.
Until then, it’s goodnight from London.