European Poker Tour Grand Final Day 5: Nicolas Chouity Wins
In perhaps one of the most one-sided final tables of all time, Nicolas Chouity from Lebanon won the most prestigious tournament in European Poker - the PokerStars European Poker Tour Grand Final. Chouity came into the final table with an astonishing 10 million in chips, over 40 percent of those in play, and completely crushed the final table with his big-stack play, knocking out six of his seven opponents.
The table was made up mostly of unknown players with perhaps only Andrew Chen known to most, having finished third at EPT Prague a couple of years ago. Chen started in joint second position with Frenchman Mesbah Guerfi, but the latter was surprisingly the first player to go out.
Chouity dominated from the start, putting pressure on all the shorter stacks. He got into a huge pot with Guerfi. Both players checked the flop before Guerfi fired 310,000 on the turn. Chouity called and they saw a river when the Frenchman bet 785,000. The chip leader then set Guerfi all-in, who had by this point put so much of his stack in the pot, that he was obliged to call off the rest only to see that his was never ahead of Chouity's .
Chouity then eliminated the always short-stacked Roger Hairabedian and then also Aleh Plauski to simply increase his dominance even further, holding the better hand on each occasion, which held both times and gave him almost two-thirds of the chips in play.
Austrian Josef Klinger started out as a short stack but hit an early double-up before he knocked out Chen, who picked the wrong time to make a move with and ran straight into Klinger's .
Herve Costa had hardly played a hand all day, seemingly content to just ladder as much as possible, but he was Chouity's next victim as the latter's king-queen took out Costa's ace-nine to the disappointment of much of the French crowd. This left just three players, Chouity, Klinger and Lithuanian Dominykas Karmazinas, who also had a small, but very vocal fanclub, which included Tony G.
Karmazinas was the short stack and got it in ahead with ace-seven against the ace-six of Chouity, but a six came on the turn as Chouity continued to steamroller through the table and give himself a 4-1 chip lead going into the heads-up. The first hand saw all the chips in the middle with Chouity's was in trouble against Klinger's on a flop, but the hand ended in a split after an turn and a river.
Twenty minutes later, though, it was all over when Chouity put in a standard raise to 350,000, and Klinger quickly moved all-in for 6 million, Chouity instantly called with , which was miles ahead of Klinger's . As every card came on the board, the Lebanese rail crowd cheered and chanted Chouity's name as they began to rejoice in a victory that had always looked like coming since the start of the day. Finally, as the river came down, they erupted in delight, Chouity becoming the second Lebanese player to take home an EPT since Joseph Mouwad won London a season ago.
The eyes of the poker world were fixed on the Main Event final table up on the television stage, but there was big money up for grabs down in the near corner of the room, as well, in the EPT Grand Final High Roller.
It was a stacked field to start the day — and it still is — but many notables fell by the wayside while trying to reach the final eight. Among the casualties were Team PokerStars Pros William Thorson, Rino Mathis, Leo Fernandez, Alexander Kravchenko, Chad Brown, and Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier. Also making their exits shy of the money were Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Gus Hansen (who decided to forgo this day and instead blind off his ~60,000 chips), Antony Lellouche, Antoine Saout, and PokerNews' Tony G.
When Luke Schwartz was eliminated in ninth place, the final table was set for the run to the big money. Here's how the last eight look, heading into the final day of EPT Season 6 tomorrow:
Seat 1: Dori Yacoub - 1,199,000
Seat 2: Tom Marchese - 909,000
Seat 3: Tobias Reinkemeier - 826,000
Seat 4: Sorel Mizzi - 770,000
Seat 5: Allen Bari - 835,000
Seat 6: Olivier Busquet - 666,000
Seat 7: Paul Berende - 327,000
Seat 8: Michael Friedrich - 112,000