Well, could 2016 actually be it? I mean, first there was the announcement of the Eureka Poker Tour in Bucharest kicking off on May 18th, at which Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu will be playing in the birth country of his parents. Then there’s the wave of talented Romanian pros who have been taking the EPT and other PokerStars tours by storm, prompting Stapes to say it in the first place.
One thing’s for sure, Alexandru Papazian must have been listening. The young Romanian beat Alexandros Kolonias heads-up to take down €25K high roller here in Monaco tonight for a huge score of €1,197,000 – the biggest ever live cash by a Romanian. His victory sends him up to third on Romania’s all-time money list, breaking the records of 1,701 of his countrymen.
The PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT12 Grand Final has been all about breaking records. First we had the biggest ever main event in the history of the Grand Final; now you can add the biggest ever €25K to that list. Here’s how it played out.
|Rafael Da Silva Moraes||Brazil||1,026,000|
Ramin Hajiyev was the first to be eliminated, followed by Thomas Miller and Ivan Deyra. That got us down to one table, but it wasn’t the official final table until Saar Wilf was eliminated in 9th place for €122,250. The Israeli got his stack in with Ace-Jack, but was trailing the Ace-Queen of Anthony Zinno who ended up making Queens full.
It didn’t take long for us to find an eighth place finisher. Imad Derwiche knows all about this event as he finished runner-up in last year’s Grand Final €25K to Charlie Carrel. He was super relaxed all day, dancing in between hands and joking with just about everybody, but he came into the final eight very short with less than ten big blinds. He went all-in over Anthony Zinno’s 100,000 open for 325,000 with the J♥ J♠ , which Zinno called. He was racing against Zinno’s A♠ Q♠ , and suffered a Barry Greenstein – aka an Ace on the river – to hit the rail. Still, he picked up €147,710, so it was another great showing for the Frenchman.
The shortest of those three would be next to go. He called all-in against Papazian after hitting top pair on a Queen-high flop – the only problem was that the Romanian also had a Queen, plus a better kicker. The Brazilian couldn’t hit two-pair on the turn or river and he went to collect his €568,200.
Alexandru Papazian – 7,390,000
Alexandros Kolonias – 4,160,000
While these two may not be big names on the live circuit, online it’s a different story. Papazian, playing under the screen name ’tilt21sted’ on PokerStars, has $1.68 million in online winnings – his biggest score coming in a TCOOP event in January when he finished runner-up for $209,300. Kolonias is no stranger to the virtual felt either; he’s amassed $956,000 on PokerStars, $365,500 of which came from a third place finish in the 2015 WCOOP $10K high roller.
After a couple of hands of heads-up play, Papazian and Kolonias decided to go on a dinner break. When they returned Kolonias managed a double up to take the chip lead when an all-in pre-flop hand saw him win with Ace-King against King-Queen. But Papazian didn’t get flustered; he went straight back to work and took the chip lead again not long after.
Kolonias doubled when his K♣ 8♥ held against Q♣ J♥ all-in pre-flop, then was chipped down once more. Another double came soon after when his J♥ 8♥ paired on the 10♦ 6♠ K♦ J♣ 2♠ board to beat Papazian’s A♥ 7♠ .
But then it was Papazian’s turn to multiply his stack by two. Papazian limped with the A♦ 6♣ and Kolonias jammed with the K♠ Q♦ . After the call, the board ran out A♣ 4♦ 5♠ 8♦ 3♥ , and that sent Papazian’ stack up just under 10 million again. A couple of hands later and it was all over; Kolonias got it in good with pocket nines against Ace-four, but a four on the flop and crucial Ace on the river secured Papazian the win.
Fellow Romanian and EPT11 Deuville runner-up Dany Parlafes was railing Papazian for the entire heads-up battle. He’s a man who knows how close you can get to a prestigious EPT trophy and then see it all slip away.
That didn’t happen for Alexandru Papazian. After all, it’s the year of Romania.
EPT Grand Final €25K high roller
Dates: May 4-6, 2016
Buy in: €25,000
Entries: 231 (175 players plus 56 re-entries)
Prize pool: €5,659,500
1 – Alexandru Papazian, Romania, €1,197,000
2 – Alexandros Kolonias, Greece, €805,900
3 – Rafael Da Silva Moraes, Brazil, €568,200
4 – Zvi Stern, Israel, €460,700
5 – Eddy Maksoud, Lebanon, €364,500
6 – Anthony Zinno, United States, €276,750
7 – Max Silver, United Kingdom, €202,050
8 – Imad Derwiche, France, €147,710