Supported by a boisterous French rail, Guillaume Diaz has won the €1,100 EPT National at the 2018 PokerStars and Monte-Carlo©Casino EPT. The 26-year old French pro from Grenoble, who resides in London, conquered a 1,501-player field to claim the first place prize of €250,000. On top of that, Diaz also punched his ticket to the Bahama's next year with the $30,000 Platinum Pass, awarded to the winner of this event.
Diaz, who made a name for himself last year after winning an online poker tournament 26,000 feet in the air above Kazakhstan, defeated Italy's Federico Petruzzelli heads-up after a massive coin flip decided both player's fates. Petruzzelli walked away with €143,000 and missed out on the Platinum Pass — again, that is. Start-of-the-day chipleader Michal Mrakes became fifth, Team PokerStars Pro Online Randy "nanonoko" Lew finished in 7th place, while Gaelle Baumann just fell short of the final table.
"I feel pretty excited, pretty happy. It's always great to win a tournament. It's my biggest cash in poker so far," an elated Diaz said.
Winning the Platinum Pass was just icing on the cake for the French pro, who said a trip to the PokerStars Players Championship was already in the planning.
"I was planning to go play there anyway but I'm pretty happy to have this kind of freeroll, have it in the pocket and be relaxed for the rest of the year," Diaz told the media.
In one of the biggest hands of the day, an improbable runout brought Diaz a crucial chip lead which he never relinquished.
"Once I went all-in on a flop with a set of fives and I made quads on the river. And then I made the other one. It was an insane runout," Diaz said about the pivotal pot that propelled him towards his eventual victory.
€1,100 EPT National Final Result
|5||Michal Mrakes||Czech Republic||€57,840|
|7||Randy Lew||United States||€33,740|
|8||Giuseppe La Guardia||Italy||€24,620|
The day started with 24 players but action got underway fast and furious, leaving just 13 of them standing at the first break after two-time National champion Georgios Vrakas busted in 14th place. Four more of them had to go before the final table was set, and the last of them would be Gaelle Baumann. The French pro moved in with ace-six of diamonds after Mrakes had raised. Mrakes called Baumann off with ace-nine offsuit and held up to get to the final table.
Final Table Action
It took over an hour before the first player bowed out. Before that happened, Petruzzelli drew first blood from "nanonoko". With the board reading three-five-nine-nine-seven, Lew had over 500,000 in front of him and Petruzzelli raised to 2,200,000. Lew folded after long thought and the Italian quickly flipped open a mere pair of fours to set the tone.
It wasn't the first hand Petruzzelli would win, as he'd go on a tear and eliminate two players in the process. Sorin Sufragiu was the first one to be eliminated in Level 31. Short stacked, Sufragiu shoved all in with queen-eight of diamonds over a cutoff raise from Petruzzelli. Petruzzelli was committed with jack-nine offsuit and hit a straight on the turn to eliminate Sufragiu in 9th place (€18,190).
Ten minutes later, Giuseppe La Guardia (8th - €24,640) fell to his countryman as well. After La Guardia opened from the cutoff, Petruzzelli three-bet on the button. La Guardia four-bet shoved queen-jack offsuit for slightly more than Petruzzelli's three-bet and received a snap-call from ace-king of diamonds. Two kings on the flop sealed La Guardia's fate. With the two bustouts, Petruzzelli's moved up to 22 million in chips, far more than his nearest challengers Diaz (7,500,000) and Mrakes (4,200,000) held at that point.
For Team PokerStars Pro Randy "nanonoko" Lew, his dream of winning this tournament came to an end in 7th place (€33,780). Lew held ace-king of hearts against Mrakes' pocket jacks and Danilo Cangianiello's pocket tens. A ten landed while the aces and kings remained in the deck to give Cangianiello the triple-up and Mrakes the side pot.
Ater the dinner break, Mrakes scored another scalp and took out Abraham Passet (6th - €44,000). Passet was all in with pocket eights against the ace-king of Mrakes, and the latter spiked a king on the flop to send the former packing.
After Diaz had wrestled away the chip lead from Petruzzelli, former chipleader Michal Mrakes dwindled down to a short stack and got his final chips in with ace-queen against Petruzzelli's ace-nine offsuit. The board ran out ten-eight-jack-ten-seven and Petruzzelli completed his straight on the river to knock out the start-of-the-day chipleader in 5th place (€57,840).
The most amazing hand of the day ended Danilo Cangianiello's run in 4th place (€74,120). Holding pocket kings, Cangianiello was all in against Diaz' ace-king for heaps. An improbable rundown that brought four fives on the board gave Diaz quads to go with his ace kicker to scoop the pot on the river.
At the final three, the short stack run of Abdullatif Attia finally came to an end when he ran king-deuce into the pocket sixes of Petruzzelli, who flopped a set to end Attia's run in 3rd (€78,000). Heads-up took around twenty minutes before one big coin flip ended it all. Diaz three-bet and five-bet shoved after Petruzzelli had opened and reraised. It was pocket nines for Diaz against Petruzzelli's ace-queen and the latter couldn't connect on a ten high board. Delighted, Diaz ran to his many French supporters to cheer his victory and collect the biggest reward of his poker career.