Saturday was the final day of the PokerStars.com European Poker Tour Prague, and the requisite eight players returned to the felt to play down to a champion. What looked like a short day turned into a bit of a long one, but in the end, Martin Finger was the man left standing alone with all the chips in play, the Shamballa bracelet, and the shiny EPT trophy.
The first order of business on Day 5 was to knock out the last 31 minutes of the previous level left over from the night before. During those opening orbits, Mads Wissing was sent to the rail as the first elimination of the day. Wissing was very short on chips entering the final table, and he made a late-position shove with . He couldn't sneak the raise through. Guillem Usero woke up with right next door, and Wissing could not catch up on the board. He was sent off in eighth place with a consolation prize of €66,700.
Andreas Wiese lost most of his stack in the second level of the day after losing a race against Usero. Wiese was unable to fully recover after his run in with Usero. After doubling his short stack once, Wiese got his money in with against Martin Finger's with a chance at another double. It didn't go well for him, though, and the dealer ran out a board to eliminate the Wiese in seventh place (€90,000).
When the table was reduced to six, Ari "BodogAri" Engel was riding the shortest stack, and he was the next to fall. Like Wiese before him, Engel did manage one crucial double before dropping down to zero just a few minutes later. It was that was responsible for his demise, and Finger's was never in trouble on the board. Engel, who's made more than $2.5 million online, notched his largest live cash (€125,000) in his first EPT event.
Denys Drobyna made it through the next break before being relieved of his last 15 big blinds. The ace-rags were going around for the short stacks, and looked plenty good enough for Drobyna to go with. Unfortunately for him, David Boyaciyan woke up with right next to him, and Drobyna never had a chance. The board ran , and Drobyna was forced to settle for €160,000 and a fifth-place finish.
Usero had an up-and-down day, but he was mostly trending in the right direction until his elimination in fourth place. He had been stagnant around 20 big blinds when he pushed in with . Ace-rag strikes again. Finger woke up with . Usero managed to find a flush draw on a suited flop, but the turn and river bricked to seal his fate. Fourth place was worth €205,000, though, the first career six-figure score for the 21-year-old.
France's Nicolas Levi might have been the odds-on favorite heading into the day with his second-place stack. During the first partial level of the day, though, Levi was crippled in a massive cooler against David Boyaciyan. On a flop, the two men got it all-in with more than a third of the chips in play. Levi had flopped bottom two with , but he was drawing practically dead when Boyaciyan snapped him off with .
Levi's stack was reduced by about two-thirds, and he did well to keep his head above water until three-handed play. That's as far as his run went. He shoved with on his final hand, and he even managed to hit a pair on the flop. Finger's had a ton of outs, however, and the on the turn was enough to send Levi on his way with a €270,000 consolation prize.
That left Finger and Boyaciyan heads up for the trophy, and the latter was facing more than a 2:1 chip deficit. They decided to chop it up with Finger taking €620,000 and Boyaciyan €535,000, and they left the remaining €100,000 on the table for the champ. Usually a chop tends to hasten the conclusion of a tournament, but that was not the case for the two finalists.
Boyaciyan chipped away at his opponent with methodical timing, and Finger began to struggle to win pots. After hours of battling, the Boyaciyan actually pipped into the chip lead, but his advantage lasted only a few hands. In one of the biggest hands of the day, Finger made a big shove on the turn to fold his opponent and regain a commanding chip lead, and the war was over just as short time later.
On the last hand, Boyaciyan got his money in with pocket tens flipping against , and a pair of cowboys on the flop put the trophy in Finger's hand. It's the third victory for the Germans in this eighth season of the EPT, and it's Martin Finger that they're toasting to tonight.
2011 EPT Prague Results
That wraps up the coverage from Prague and the first half of the EPT8 Season. Next stop: Paradise. The tour is headed to the Bahamas for the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, and we'll be forced to escape winter's grasp and head down to the islands for ten days in the tropics. In the meantime, you should follow us on Twitter to keep up with bits of poker news from all the world around.