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Benjamin Pollak Wins EPT Barcelona €50,000 Single-Day High Roller

Benjamin Pollak
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  • The second-biggest score of Benjamin Pollak's career is worth €979,000 ($1,143,334)!

The second-most expensive tournament of the 2018 PokerStars European Poker Tour Barcelona festival has crowned a champion. It was Benjamin Pollak who lifted the trophy for the winner shots at Casino Barcelona after defeating fellow countryman Jean-Noel Thorel in heads-up.

The €50,000 Single-Day High Roller attracted a field of 69 entries, including 15 re-entries, to create a prize pool of €3,347,190. The top nine spots were paid.

“as of twenty left, everything went my way, and the stack kept getting bigger.”

“You know, there is usually a key moment in a tournament and as of twenty left, everything went my way and the stack kept getting bigger,” Pollak said right after his victory when asked by the French poker media.

A day ago, the 2017 WSOP Main Event third-place finisher came fifth in the €100,000 Super High Roller for €445,300. Now he will be taking home a spade trophy for his efforts.

Down to the last three tables, Pollak went on an enormous tear to triple up with pocket aces in the big blind, then sent four opponents to the rail in a row before bursting the money bubble with a double knockout.

When sitting down for the unofficial final table, Pollak admitted that he had "never been on such a run before," and it would only get better, as the Frenchman dominated the final on route to victory, claiming his second-best result for €979,000.

As for Thorel, it was yet another close call. The entrepreneur in the Pharma industry has been taking part in High Roller and Super High Roller tournaments for many years, always with a smile on his face. While he doesn't have a victory to his name yet, Thorel has accumulated more than $4.5 million on the live poker circuit.

Final Result €50,000 Single-Day High Roller PokerStars EPT Barcelona

PlaceWinnerCountryPrize (€)Prize ($)
1Benjamin PollakFrance€979,000$1,143,334
2Jean-Noel ThorelFrance€703,000$821,005
3Alex FoxenUnited States€456,900$533,574
4Ryan RiessUnited States€344,700$402,545
5Mikalai VaskaboinikauBelarus€267,800$312,740
6Seth DaviesUnited States€207,500$242,321
7Jack SalterUnited Kingdom€164,000$191,521
8Jan-Eric SchwippertGermany€127,200$148,546
9Matthias EibingerAustria€97,090$113,389
Benjamin Pollak Wins the €50,000 Single-Day High Roller
Benjamin Pollak Wins the €50,000 Single-Day High Roller in Barcelona

Rapid Action

As expected, the high stakes competition attracted some of the biggest names, and the field quickly grew to more than forty entries. With a single re-entry available, several players took a second shot at glory. The early casualties included Jean-Noel Thorel, Thomas Muehloecker, Orpen Kisacikoglu, and Mikita Badziakouski. The latter, the €100,000 Super High Roller champion went back for the second attempt, but couldn't run up a stack then either.

Among those to bust without anything to show for were such notables as Stephen Chidwick, David Peters, Chi Zhang, Stefan Schillhabel, Dietrich Fast, Super High Roller runner-up Ahadpur Khangah, Nick Petrangelo, and Bill Perkins. Orpen Kisacikoglu was sent to the rail by Matthias Eibinger after a big move with ace-five went wrong. Eibinger called his shove on the river with ace-jack for top two pair on a straight and flush heavy board.

Soon after, the last three tables were set, but the action didn't slow down one bit. Alex Foxen took over the lead after eliminating Ramin Hajiyev and Sam Greenwood. Thorel joined the big stacks after ousting Adrian Mateos and Byron Kaverman in a three-way all-in with ace-queen suited versus ace-seven suited and king-queen. After the triple up of Pollak with pocket aces in the big blind, he went on a hot run and took care of Sergio Aido, Luc Greenwood, Cary Katz and Ivan Leow.

Matthias Eibinger and Stanley Choi
Stanley Choi (and Linus Loeliger) bubbled

There was no hand-for-hand mode required on the money bubble, as the field went from eleven to nine thanks to a three-way all in. Again it was Pollak who had the goods with aces in the big blind. Linus Loeliger had jammed with king-queen suited, Stanley Choi got his stack in with ace-king, and the Frenchman snap-called with pocket rockets to let the bubble burst.

The former German-speaking domination in High Roller tournaments saw a glimpse of hope with Matthias Eibinger and Jan-Eric Schwippert on the final table, but they departed in ninth and eight place respectively.

Jack Salter ran ace-king into the pocket aces of Alex Foxen to take seventh, and Seth Davies experienced the same fate with king-seven after flopping top pair against Foxen.

Mikalai Vaskaboinikau qualified for the €50,000 Single-Day High Roller in a €5,200 live satellite and turned that into a payday of €267,800. Vaskaboinikau first doubled with fours against the ace-eight of Foxen, then lost a race with ace-king against the pocket queens of eventual champion Benjamin Pollak.

Ryan Riess was the next to fall, and he suffered a two-outer at the hands of Jean-Noel Thorel when his pocket sevens were only ahead preflop and on the flop against the pocket treys of the Frenchman.

Alex Foxen followed in third place with king-queen versus the ace-queen of Pollak and that set up the French heads-up for the trophy.

Alex Foxen
Alex Foxen, 3rd for €456,900 ($533,574)

Thorel had the chip lead over Pollak, but after less than an hour, it was all over. The biggest pot in the heads-up was a four-bet shove of Pollak that went through. Down to fewer than ten big blinds, Thorel moved all in with ace-trey, and Pollak called with the dominating ace-nine to clinch the victory.

That brings an end to the PokerNews live reporting from the €50,000 Single-Day High Roller, but Day 2 of the €5,300 Main Event awaits. Furthermore, there is also the upcoming €10,300 Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller, the €25,000 Single-Day High Roller, and the final €10,300 High Roller to provide further high stakes action in Barcelona. Follow along with PokerStars EPT Barcelona Live Updates in the PokerNews live reporting section.

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