Cookies on the PokerNews Website

We use cookies to support interactive features like login and voting. Also, we allow trusted media partners to analyze site usage. Keep cookies enabled to enjoy the full site experience. By browsing our site with cookies enabled, you are agreeing to their use. Review our cookies information for more details.

Continue using cookies

Chino Rheem Wins Inaugural Epic Poker League Main Event

Chino Rheem

The first Epic Poker League Main Event is in the books and Chino Rheem has emerged victorious with the $1 million first-place prize. To claim victory, Rheem conquered one of the toughest final tables in poker history.

When the final table began, six of the best poker players in the world were in contention for the title. Rheem was joined by Erik Seidel, Jason Mercier, Hasan Habib, Huck Seed and Gavin Smith. About 10 hours after the first hand was dealt, all five had been eliminated and only Rheem remained.

The first player to go was Seed, who began the final table with the short stack. Seed had almost 900,000 and got all of his chips in preflop against Jason Mercier. He held {j-Spades}{j-Hearts} against the {a-Spades}{k-Clubs} of Mercier with his tournament life at risk. The flop was {k-Spades}{6-Spades}{7-Clubs} and Mercier's rail, about 15 to 20 deep, let out a loud roar. That was followed shortly by repeated "Yeahhhpp" and "Yuphs" from the likes of Vanessa Selbst, Dan O'Brien, and Brent Hanks and others. Seed found no help on the {8-Diamonds} turn and {2-Diamonds} river.

He was followed by Smith in fifth place and start-of-the-day chip leader, Habib in fourth. On Smith's elimination hand, Mercier raised from under the gun to 60,000. Seidel flatted, and then play folded to Smith in the big blind. He reraised all-in for around 600,000. Mercier came with a reraise of his own and shoved his entire stack into the middle. Seidel quickly folded.

Smith: {9-Clubs}{9-Diamonds}
Mercier: {Q-Spades}{Q-Hearts}

The flop, turn and river ran out {K-Diamonds}{Q-Diamonds}{6-Hearts}{5-Hearts}{4-Diamonds} to keep Mercier's queens in front and eliminate Smith from the tournament. On Habib's bust-out, Rheem raised to 70,000 first into the pot and Habib moved all-in for about 600,000. Rheem called immediately and the hands were turned face up.

Rheem: {a-Hearts}{a-Clubs}
Habib: {j-Spades}{j-Diamonds}

The flop was {8-Clubs}{5-Hearts}{10-Hearts} and the turn brought the {k-Hearts} leaving Habib with only one out. The crowd seemed to get behind him as he looked for the river miracle, but it was not to be. The {4-Hearts} bricked off on the river and Habib was out the door.

When three-handed play began, Rheem was up against Mercier and Seidel. All three were fairly close in chips and had been playing their A-games.

Mercier was clearly the fan favorite in the final table arena. He had the largest rail, and almost everyone seemed to be pulling for him. After losing a big flip to Seidel with pocket fives versus Seidel's big slick, Mercier was left short. He ended up shipping the last of his chips in from the small blind with {9-Clubs}{8-Diamonds} and was called by Seidel in the big blind with {K-Clubs}{J-Clubs}. No help came for the youngest player to make the final table, and he was out the door in third place, setting the stage for a Rheem-Seidel battle.

After nearly 50 hands of heads-up play, the last hand finally took place. Rheem had been steadily eating at Seidel's stack throughout the duel and then the two got all the money in with Seidel being dominated. He held {A-Clubs}{Q-Hearts} to Rheem's {A-Spades}{K-Diamonds}. Both players flopped and ace, but it was the king kicker for Rheem that held strong throughout the hand, eventually giving him a flush on the river and the victory. Rheem outlasted a superstar field of 137 players to take home $1 million and the gold championship ring.

Final Table Results

1Chino Rheem$1,000,000
2Erik Seidel$604,330
3Jason Mercier$360,970
4Hasan Habib$237,560
5Gavin Smith$154,260
6Huck Seed$107,980

That wraps up PokerNews' coverage of the first EPL Main Event.

Be sure to follow PokerNews on Twitter for all of your up-to-the-minute poker news.

Photo courtesy of Epic Poker.

Like This Article? Please Share, Thank You.



  • RealBubbleBoy RealBubbleBoy

    wienerOTTO firstly it has not been proven that he has scammed for 'hundreds of thousands if not millions' but only like 80-130k so far. So i do not know where you are getting your figures from. Secondly he won the tornament fair and square. That is impressive. What he does with his money and his ethics relating to the game and loans are seperate to this tornament. I am not defending him on this matter and i do beleive he should not be allowed to enter the league until he has corrected his wrong doings but you have really blown this far out of proportion. If you want storyline go watch a movie. This is poker and that AK beats bla bla bla is what we are here for....not who stood on whos foot and accidentally did what. This site gives more information about the actual game and less gossip.
    I can recommend woman's weekly if you like gossip, your welcome.

  • DrudReport DrudReport

    Maybe Rheem can pay his debts now.

  • wienerOTTO wienerOTTO

    EPIC poker league, it's called?? The CHAMPION is a crook who has scammed fellow players of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, and then played against them with their own STOLEN money? Doesn't that mean he STOLE the title and 1st place million$? Truly EPIC and HONEST would be to make this aspect of the tournament the MAIN storyline when aired on TV. Wouldn't that be far more interesting for the vieweres than AK beats JJ, bla bla bla? This is only a tip of the iceberg, of what is truly the BIG STORY, the ugliness in poker.

    Is it not true, that without stealing, scamming, lying.......he could NEVER have played, nor won this tournament, like so many others before?

    This new EPIC PL has some character standards? Ethics or integrity obviously are no real issues or requirements for those operating this new 'league'. When will you put OJ Simpson in the Hall of Fame, Americans?

Read 3 comment(s) on this article

What do you think?
Register to leave a comment or

Most Popular This Week