On Sunday night, the Epic Poker League crowned its latest champion. Chris Klodnicki took home the title, $801,680 in first-place prize money, and the championship ring. He defeated Andrew Lichtenberger heads-up.
When the final day began, just five players remained. Klodnicki and Lichtenberger were joined by Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi, Joe Tehan and Scott Clements. Clements was the short stack to enter the day and ended up falling in fifth place for $89,680.
According to the EPL Live Update Team, Clements moved the last of his money in preflop before getting called by Lichtenberger. Clements held a dominated to Lichtenberger's . The board ran out and Lichtenberger won the pot.
The next player eliminated was Mizrachi. After Lichtenberger raised to 16,000 with the blinds at 4,000/8,000/1,000, Mizrachi reraised all-in for 134,000 from the small blind and Tehan made the call from the big blind. Lichtenberger folded and the hands were revealed.
Mizrachi held and Tehan . The flop, turn and river came and Tehan sent Mizrachi home with a $174,460 payday.
A nice, long three-handed battle took place before the next elimination went down. Falling in third place was Tehan, who took home $306,800 for his finish.
With the blinds at 6,000/12,000/2,000, Klodnicki opened from the button to 24,000. Tehan three-bet to 68,000 from the small blind and Lichtenberger folded the big blind. Klodnicki reraised all-in and Tehan made the call to commit all 641,000 of his chips.
Klodnicki showed a pair of nines, , and was in front of Tehan's . After a flop, Tehan was looking for help on the turn or river. The gave him a pair on fourth street, but the fell on the river and his pair of sevens were left second best to Klodnicki's nines.
Tehan went out on the 246th hand of the final table, to set up the heads-up battle between Lichtenberger and Klodnicki. With Tehan eliminated, the stacks stood at 3.47 million for Klodnicki and 1.526 million for Lichtenberger. The two would play a best-of-three match. For the first two matches, the starting stacks would be the same as when they got down to heads-up play. If a third match was required, the stacks would be reset to even.
The first match took a whopping 140 hands before Klodnicki was able to come out on top. On the final hand of that match, Lichtenberger raised to 100,000 with the blinds at 25,000/50,000/5,000 and Klodnicki three-bet to 250,000. Lichtenberger called and the flop came down paired with the . Klodnicki continued with a bet of 250,000 and Lichtenberger raised to 575,000. Klodnicki moved all-in and Lichtenberger called.
Klodnicki's were up against Lichtenberger's . Klodnicki was able to win the overpair-versus-flush-draw all-in confrontation after a turn and river.
The stacks reset and play resumed on the 388th hand of the final table for the second match. This match would only last 66 hands before a winner was determined.
With the blinds at 10,000/20,000/3,000, Lichtenberger raised to 40,000 on the button and Klodnicki three-bet to 110,000. Lichtenberger four-bet things to 260,000, but Klodnicki met him with even more aggression and a five-bet to 505,000. Lichtenberger didn't back down and clicked things back to 750,000. Klodnicki called to see the flop.
The flop came down and Lichtenberger moved all-in over the top of a 500,000-chip bet from Klodnicki. Klodnicki called and tabled the for a diamond flush draw. Lichtenberger was ahead, but only held , so he'd need to do a lot of dodging on the turn and river.
The turn brought the and put Klodnicki in the lead with a pair of fours. Lichtenberger was unable to find a king on the river when the peeled off and the tournament was over. For his runner-up finish, Lichtenberger earned $514,480.
Final Table Payouts
With his win, Klodnicki moved into second place on the leaderboard for the top 27 money earners in the first season of the EPL. It also puts him just shy of the million mark for 2011 live tournament winnings.
The fourth EPL Main Event will take place Feb. 9 through 12, 2012 and PokerNews will have daily recaps of all of the action.
*Photo courtesy of the Epic Poker League.
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