After an unusual Day 4 at PokerStars.net European Poker Tour Berlin, things returned to normal for the final table. Kevin "ImaLuckSac" MacPhee earned the inaugural EPT Berlin title and €1,000,000. MacPhee began the day with the chip lead, but to secure the win, he had to fight through a field of 945 players and final table full of international rising stars.
MacPhee, a 29-year old from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, was all in on Day 3 with nines against queens. One card away from elimination, he rivered a nine to stay alive. MacPhee dominated the tournament from that point on, ending Day 3 as chip leader, a position he didn't relinquish until the last few hours of the final table. He really demonstrated his skill in a tough heads up match with Finnish pro Ilari Tahkokallio. MacPhee finally gained the upper hand and walked away with the title.
Action was non-stop for the first two hours of the final table. Nico Behling found himself at the final table exactly one week after finishing third in the PokerStars Sunday Million for $145,000. Behling, a German pro who came in second at EPT Warsaw last year, started this final table as the short stack and didn't waste any time getting his chips into the middle. Behling shoved the first hand but ended up chopping the pot with ace-queen against ace-queen. The next hand, he had again and his all-in move was called by Marcel Koller's . Behling failed to connect with the board and was eliminated in eighth place for €72,000.
A few minutes later, Marko Neumann put his tournament life on the line with against Kevin MacPhee's . MacPhee continued his streak of coinflip wins, hitting a set on the flop and a boat on the turn for good measure. The two Germans at the final table were eliminated in short order, ensuring that the EPT Berlin trophy would be leaving the country. Neumann earned €120,000 for his seventh place finish, and MacPhee extended his chip lead even further.
Marcel Koller, the only amateur at the final table, was cheered on by a large, vocal contingent of Swiss supporters. There was much flag waving and celebrating when he busted Nico Behling, but things got much quieter after he was coolered with trip kings against Marc Inizan's set. Koller was eliminated shortly after, taking much of the audience with him. The computer programmer went home with €165,000 for his impressive sixth-place finish.
All week, British pro Ketul Nathwani has built a giant stack, three-barrel bluffed off most of it, and then started the accumulation process over again. He started the final table second in chips but found himself short stacked after he tried to bluff MacPhee off the nuts. MacPhee caught him making another move when Nathwani three-bet shoved with and MacPhee looked him up with . Nathwani failed to improve and was sent to the rail in fifth place with €210,000.
Artur Wasek did his home country of Poland proud by making it to the final table. He never showed down less than a monster hand but there was nothing he could do when he ran queens into Marc Inizan's kings. Wasek earned €280,000 and a lot of respect for his fourth place finish, the best EPT performance by a Polish player to date.
A few hands after the dinner break, Marc Inizan played perfectly into MacPhee's hands. Inizan wound up all in on the flop with top pair and a gutshot against MacPhee's flopped nut straight. The misstep sent Inizan packing in third place with €350,000.
Kevin MacPhee had a sizable chip lead when he began heads-up play with Ilari Tahkokallio. The two had met heads up at last year's EPT London in the £1,000 PLH/PLO side event, which Tahkokallio won. This heads up battle lasted several hours and featured an unusual display of post-flop skill. The chip lead switched back and forth several times, but in the end, MacPhee wore down Tahkokallio and secured the win.
Tahkokallio won €600,000 for second place and earned the respect of the poker community for his sense of fair play. On Day 4, a player was all in against Tahkokallio and the flop and turn had been dealt when play was interrupted by the robbery. Despite the chaos, the board was left in tact, and when play resumed, tournament staff gave both players the choice to play it out or declare the hand dead. Tahkokallio had a quarter of his stack on the line and was down to three outs with only the river to come, but rather than ask to chop the pot, he said it was only fair to deal the river. He doubled up his opponent but went on to bust him later and make the final table with the third largest stack.
Tahkokallio impressed everyone with his honorable move and his intelligent play throughout the tournament. Kevin MacPhee also earned praise for both his play and his composure throughout the last two days of the tournament. "ImaLuckSac" lived up to his name and ran well, but he earned his victory as well.
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