Mikalai Pobal Wins 2012 PokerStars.com EPT Barcelona Main Event for €1,007,550

Mikalai Pobal

The 2012 PokerStars.com European Poker Tour Barcelona Main Event concluded early Sunday morning as Mikalai Pobal topped a field of 1,082 players to capture the €1,007,550 prize.

Prior to this win, Pobal’s only live cash was a 104th-place finish at the EPT Berlin Main Event in April for €7,500, and his best online score on PokerStars, where he plays under the name “leanod,”, was a third-place finish in the Sunday Million.

Season 9 EPT Barcelona Final Table Results

1stMikalai Pobal€1,007,550
2ndIlari Sahamies€629,700
3rdJoni Jouhkimainen€404,050
4thAnaras Alekberovas€301,750
5thSamuel Rodriguez€230,900
6thSinel Anton€178,400
7thAntonin Duda€125,950
8thJohn Juanda€76,100

The day got off to a fairly quick start. On Hand #11, action folded around to Samuel Rodriguez in the small blind and he put in a raise to 180,000 with {a-Hearts}{5-Hearts}. John Juanda was in the big blind and thought a long while before moving all in for 1.665 million with {5-Clubs}{5-}. Rodriguez thought even longer but eventually made the call.

The {8-Diamonds}{4-Clubs}{8-Clubs} flop was safe for Juanda, but the {7-Clubs} turn gave Rodriguez counterfeit options, meaning a seven on the river would give him eights and sevens with an ace kicker. Much to the shock of the crowd, the {7-Spades} spiked to put an end to Juanda's tournament in eighth place.

A short while later, Anaras Alekberovas opened for 190,000 under the gun and was met with a three-bet to 450,000 by Antonin Duda, the economics student from Jablonec, Czech Republic, who qualified for the tournament via a €22 rebuy event on PokerStars. Alekberovas pushed back with a four-bet to 800,000, Duda moved all in for 2.56 million, and Alekberovas snap-called.

Alekberovas: {k-Hearts}{k-Diamonds}
Duda: {a-Diamonds}{k-Spades}

It was the second time Alekberovas had picked up kings, and while the {q-Spades}{k-Clubs}{a-Hearts} flop paired Duda's ace, it also delivered Alekberovas a set. Neither the {7-Hearts} turn nor {3-Hearts} river helped Duda, and the Day 3 chip leader was eliminated in seventh place.

In the first hand back from the break, Sinel Anton raised to 205,000 from early position with {a-Hearts}{q-Clubs} and was met with a three-bet to 375,000 from Alekberovas, who held {10-}{10-} in the cutoff. After the button and blinds folded, the short-stacked Anton just called. Not only that, he check-called bets of 100,000 and 205,000 on the {2-Spades}{4-Clubs}{10-Hearts} flop and {j-Spades} turn respectively.

Anton checked for a third time when he paired his queen on the {q-Spades} river, and then called off his last million when Alekberovas moved all-in. Anton seemed to think he won the hand as he lingered at the table until someone told him, "You lost." Anton finally realized the situation and took his leave in sixth place.

Mikalai Pobal Wins 2012 PokerStars.com EPT Barcelona Main Event for €1,007,550 101
EPT Barcelona Final Table (L to R): Anaras Alekberovas, Antonin Duda, Ilari Sahamies, Samuel Rodriguez, John Juanda, Joni Jouhkimainen, Mikalai Pobel, Sinel Anton

In the very next hand, Joni Jouhkimainen, who began the final table as the short stack, and Rodriguez created a 1.1 million pot preflop and saw a flop of {8-Spades}{7-Diamonds}{j-Diamonds}. There was destined to be fireworks as Rodriguez had flopped two pair holding {8-Clubs}{7-Hearts} and Jouhkimainen held an up-and-down straight draw with {9-Spades}{6-Spades}.

Rodriguez's last 2.32 million ended up in the pot and the players were on their feet, especially when the {q-Spades} turn gave Jouhkimainen an added flush draw. Much to the dismay of Rodriguez, and those hoping to see a Spaniard take down an EPT for the first time, the {3-Spades} spiked on the river to complete Jouhkimainen's flush and increase his stack up to 11.1 million; meanwhile, the local player exited the stage in fifth place to a nice round of applause.

It took over three hours for the next elimination to occur, but happened when Jouhkimainen raised to 325,000 from the button and Alekberovas re-raised to 725,000 from the big blind. Jouhkimainen four-bet to 1,175,000, Alekberovas announced an all-in, and Jouhkimainen called. Alekberovas was in for 4,535,000 along with his tournament life.

Jouhkimainen: {k-Spades} {k-Diamonds}
Alekberovas: {9-Spades} {9-Hearts}

Jouhkimainen's kings were in good shape against Alekberovas' nines, which needed some major help from the board. None came on the {q-Clubs}{j-Diamonds}{3-Diamonds} flop, and the {4-Diamonds} turn was no help. It was down to the river for the Alekberovas, but the useless {q-Diamonds} appeared, and he was eliminated in fourth place for €301,750, the biggest tournament prize of his young career.

Things slowed considerably after that, and it took another three hours before the next elimination, which happened to be Jouhkimainen. He had an interesting day as he started on the short stack and ran it up to amass nearly 75 percent of the chips in play; unfortunately for him, he would be whittled back down in three-handed play against Sahamies and Pobal.

In what would be his last hand, Jouhkimainen opened with a raise to 500,000 from the button with {9-Clubs} {9-Spades} only to have Sahamies shove all-in from the big blind holding {a-Hearts} {j-Clubs}. Jouhkimainen snap called and the two went for a showdown.

The {a-Clubs} {3-Spades} {7-Spades} flop paired Shamies' ace and put Jouhkimainen on the verge of elimination. The {10-Diamonds} on the river left him with only two outs, but the {q-Spades} on the river wasn't one of them. Jouhkimainen was eliminated from the tournament in third place, while Sahamies entered heads-up play with 12.175 million to Pobal's 20.2 million. The stacks suggested it might be a long haul to the finish, but nothing could have been further from the truth.

Just a short while into heads-up play, Sahamies raised to 600,000 on the button with {9-Spades}{5-Spades}. Pobal reraised to 1.6 million from the big blind with {a-Diamonds}{a-Hearts} and received a massive treat when Sahamies moved all in for 10.485 million in chips. Pobal snapped and tabled his hand as quickly as possible to show Sahamies the bad news.

The flop only made things worse for Sahamies when the {a-Spades}{q-Hearts}{4-Diamonds} fell. Sahamies was then in need of a runner-runner miracle, but after the {j-Clubs} landed on the turn, he was officially drawing dead. The river completed the board with the {k-Spades} and officially ended the tournament. For his finish, Sahamies earned €629,700 and Mikalai Pobal pocketed €1,007,550 for besting the field.

The next stop on the EPT schedule is San Remo, which will take place from Oct. 5-11. The PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be on hand for that event, so be sure to check out our live reporting section then for even more EPT action.

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Executive Editor U.S.

Executive Editor US, PokerNews Podcast co-host & 2013 WSOP Bracelet Winner.

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