Last week, Season 9 of the PokerStars.com European Poker Tour kicked off in Barcelona. The spotlight has been focused on the premiere events, the €50,000 Super High Roller and €5,000 Main Event, but plenty of other events have been taking place at the Casino Barcelona.
Even though the PokerNews Live Reporting Team may only be reporting the two aforementioned tournaments and the €10,000 High Roller, we thought it would be worthwhile to take a look at some of the more interesting stories that have come out of the side events.
One of those side events was a Media Event, which is where the above picture of PokerNews' Kristy Arnett, Lynn Gilmartin and Krisztina Polgár came from. Unfortunately none of those ladies won the event. Those honors went to blogger Howard Swains and photographer Neil Stoddart.
Olympic Skier Petter Northug Cashes in Event #11: €2,000 NLHE Turbo
It’s no secret that Olympians love competition and there are few activities that are more competitive than poker. Michael Phelps, who has 18 gold medals to his name, learned this long ago and has been known to enjoy poker, as has two-time Olympic gold medalist and Norwegian skier Petter Northug.
The summer Olympics just concluded in London, which means it’ll two years before the winter ones roll around in Sochi, Russia, so Northug has turned to poker to stay busy. The 26-year-old and his younger brother, Tomas, 22, who is the Junior World Champion in cross-country skiing and enjoying his first year on the Norwegian national ski team, were both in Barcelona to test their skills on the felt.
The elder Northug has played on the EPT before and even has a World Series of Poker min-cash to his name but notched his first EPT cash in Event #11: €2,000 NLHE Turbo.
Event #11: €2,000 NLHE Turbo Final Table
|Buy-in||Entrants||Prize Pool||Number of Payouts|
|€2,000 + €100||66||€128,040||8|
|6th||Jyri Tapio Merivita||Finland||€6,400|
Interestingly, Northug went on to finish 136th in the Main Event for €8,400 and his second EPT cash.
Dmitry Grishin Wins Estrellas High Roller
On Sunday night, Russia’s Dmitry Grishin conquered a field of 215 in the Estrellas €2,000 High Roller event. Although it's not an EPT event per se, the finale of Season 3 of the Estrellas Poker Tour was held concurrently to create the Barcelona Poker Festival.
Grishin, who finished 41st at the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final last April, was awarded €77,210 for his win. He defeated a stacked final table, which included Team PokerStars Pro Angel Guillen, who finished fifth for €22,400, and EPT Berlin winner Kevin MacPhee, who came in sixth. With that said, the final four players did cut a deal as the tournament dragged into the early morning hours so that they could all play Day 1b of the EPT Barcelona Main Event.
Estrellas €2,000 High Roller Final Table
|5th||Angel Guillen||Mexico||€ 22,400|
Gerasimova Captures Ladies Event; Eliminates Heinz in Main Event
The winners of big buy-in events tend to garner the headlines at any circuit stop, but someone else managed to make some noise at EPT Barcelona — Liya Gerasimova. The girlfriend of Team PokerStars Pro Ivan Demidov, Gerasimova took down the EPT Barcelona Ladies Event in dramatic fashion.
After navigating a tough field of 63, which included Claudia “dasultanz” Csongei and Jan “jamjars69” Combes, Gerasimova made it to three-handed play, though with less than one big blind remaining. According to the PokerStars Blog, “Liya was forced to go all-in blind, so [Darya] Hulyk and Lucia Martinez called to check the hand down. As the last card was dealt Liya finally turned over her cards. She found aces.” She went on to double two more times in a row and was right back in contention.
After Hulyk was felled by Martinez, it took just minutes for a winner to be determined. In the the last hand, Gerasimova reraised all in on a board with and was up against the flopped full house of Martinez. Amazingly, the spiked on the river to snatch victory from Martinez and gave it to Gerasimova with a higher full house.
EPT Barcelona Ladies Event Final Table
|8th||Charlotte Van Brabander||Belgium||€1,220|
As if winning the Ladies title wasn’t enough, Gerasimova went on to play the Main Event. There she knocked out 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event Champ Pius Heinz. Here’s the hand as reported in the PokerNews Live Reporting Blog:
Action folded to Heinz in the hijack and he raise to 3,400, which Liya Gerasimova, who is PokerStars Team Pro Ivan Demidov's girlfriend and the winner of the ladies event here at the EPT Barcelona, called from the big blind.
Gerasimova led out for 4,200 on the flop, Heinz raise dto 10,800, Gerasimova moved all in, and Heinz quickly called off for around 50,000.
The 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event winner had an over pair with an open-ended straight draw, but it was way behind the flopped nuts of Gerasimova. Neither the turn nor river help Heinz, who was eliminated from the EPT Barcelona Main Event in Level 12.
Gerasimova went on to make Day 3 of the Main Event but fell just short of the money.
Martynenko Wins His Way Into EPT Barcelona
Prior to EPT Barcelona, PokerStars held a contest asking fans to put together a video offering advice to Rafa Nadal on how to best learn poker. Approximately 800 players submitted videos, but the winner ended up being Sergey Martynenko.
“[I made it] Just for fun,” Martynenko told the PokerStars Blog. “It wasn’t my profession; it’s just interesting for me. Sometimes I’ve got some ideas and I find it funny.”
Here’s a look at Martynenko’s winning video:
For his winning submission, Martynenko was awarded a package to the EPT Barcelona. "I've been playing poker for about two years on PokerStars and my limits are low," he said in an interview with the PokerStars Blog. "I'm trying to get higher but this is the biggest tournament I've ever (played). It's very difficult. The play is very aggressive. I tried to concentrate and to remember all the things I know. Sometimes it helps me."
Unfortunately, Martynenko EPT Barcelona dreams came to an end early on Day 2.
Don't forget to follow our live updates of the Main Event, which is happening now.