The European Poker Tour has been enjoying
their stay at the Casino Barcelona in Spain as they have worked their way to
the final table of their Main Event. In a rather shocking move, it was one of
the start of day “shorties” in the field, Simon Brandstrom, who ascended to the
top of the leaderboard. But, as he has been through the last three days of the
tournament, Marton Czuczor is sitting in second place and presenting a
formidable challenge to anyone on the baize.
How to Come Off the Short Stack…
To say that Brandstrom had some work to do
would be putting it mildly. At the start of Day 5, Brandstrom was only clear of
two players and looking way up the ladder at the chip leader Rui Sousa. There
were other tough players on the felt, including Czuczor, longtime pro Johan
Storakers (who had improved on his 18th place finish in this event
last year) and U. S. pro Shannon Shorr, who were all ready to mix it up.
That spirit of “mixing it up” was not
present on Saturday, however. Perhaps with the levity of the final table looming
on the horizon, the players weren’t quite as willing to let the chips fly as
they had been earlier in the event. Two full levels of action went by with the
same 16 players still alive. Eventually, the blinds and antes began to catch up
and the players began to fall.
After a break following the second level,
Brandstrom caught fire with some help from the cards. Brandstrom, in the small
blind, saw Shorr open the betting from early position and three bet the action
with an all-in shove. After Sousa got out of the way, Shorr made the call and
the cards went on their backs:
Brandstrom: two red Aces
Shorr: pocket Queens
After the board ran out Jack high,
Brandstrom had a new lease on life with 2.13 million chips, while Shorr (985K)
would drop down the leaderboard. Shorr would eventually depart in 15th
place to Braco when he was caught stealing on the button, his K-8 off suit
falling to Braco’s pocket Aces, while Brandstrom continued to climb.
It was another pair versus pair situation
that thrust Brandstrom into a lead he would not relinquish. In a blind versus
blind battle, Balakrishna Patur and Brandstrom rapidly got all the chips to the
center with Brandstrom at risk. Brandstrom once again had the goods, his pocket
tens over Patur’s pocket sevens, but a seven on the flop brought Patur to his
feet. Just as quickly, however, a ten came on the turn, this time leading to exultations
from Brandstrom. Looking for the case seven, Patur instead saw a King and most
of his chips go to Brandstrom, who would not let them go.
Czuczor Looks to Go One Place Better
Czuczor, who finished second in the EPT
Prague Main Event in 2016, is looking to improve on his best finish ever on the
circuit by going one place better. Throughout the day on Saturday, Czuczor
fended off all challengers and actually helped a few of them to find the door.
He flopped two pair against the open-ended straight draw of Leandro Bustillo
that didn’t come home to end Bustillo’s tournament in 12th place, then
cracked the 10 million chip mark by taking a pot off of Storakers. But it was
Brandstrom who would end the day’s play by making the final elimination of
Saturday and it was Storakers who would be the victim.
After a raise from Brandstrom, Storakers
wasted little time in pushing his 1.3 million stack into the center of the
felt. After Diego Falcone folded his big blind, Brandstrom made the call and
was behind with his A-10 off suit against Storakers’ pocket Queens. That deficit
was eliminated on the flop when it came down J-A-8. A third diamond came with a
seven on the turn, which was good for Storakers in that it gave him more outs
with his Q♦. But the dreams of a final table for Storakers were crushed when an
innocuous seven came on the river, knocking him out in seventh place and setting
Sunday’s final table.
1. Simon Brandstrom, 18.5 million
2. Marton Czuczor, 14.45 million
3. Rui Sousa, 9.1 million
4. Diego Falcone, 8.6 million
5. Yunye Lu, 4.5 million
6. Giovani Torre, 4.45 million
The least that any of the final six men will walk away with is €295,520, but they all want the big prize. The eventual champion of the EPT Barcelona Main Event will walk off with a seven-figure payday of €1,659,000. Action will begin at noon local time (6AM Eastern time in the U. S.) and will play down to the champion of the latest stop on the European Poker Tour.
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