The 2019 PokerStars European Poker Tour €5,300 Main Event has crowned a new champion at Casino Barcelona and it was Simon Brandstrom that came out on top of a record-breaking field of 1,988 entries to lift one of the most coveted trophies on the international poker circuit.
Brandstrom is the 11th Swede and first since Robin Ylitalo at EPT10 London in October 2013 to become an EPT Main Event champion. In the process, he denied Marton Czuczor a maiden title that would have also been the first for Hungary. Both cut a deal before heads-up kicked off and chopped up the lion's share of the huge €9,641,800 prize pool: Brandstrom takes home the trophy and €1,290,166, while the second runner-up finish of Czuczor is sweetened with a payday of €1,253,234.
While his name may not immediately ring a bell, the 37-year-old Swede had already racked up more than $800,000 in cashes on the live circuit, formerly playing under his maiden name of Persson. He was railed on the final table by fellow countrymen Anton Siden (44th place in the Main Event; 19th place in the €10k EPT High Roller) and Alexander Ivarsson (winner of the €2,200 EPT National High Roller; 10th place in the Main Event).
Final Result 2019 EPT Barcelona €5,300 Main Event
|Place||Winner||Country||Prize (in EUR)||Deal (in EUR)||Prize (in USD)|
|9||Kully Sidhu||United Kingdom||€121,760||$133,815|
*reflects deal of the last two players
Yeah for sure,” Brandstrom replied with a big smile on the face when Joe Stapleton asked him if he was ready to become a legend.
He has engraved his name into the history books of the EPT after taking down the biggest-ever Main Event field and it was a mere coincidence that it took place where it all began back in September 2004 when fellow Swede Alexander Stevic became the first-ever champion right here in Barcelona.
It was certainly not smooth sailing for Brandstrom throughout the tournament even though he came into the final day as the chip leader, and he mentioned that fact in the interview after his victory.
“I made a comeback on Day 1 and was down to 12k and spun it up a bit. And last night I was down to nine bigs with 15 players left and made a big rush from there, ended up as the chip leader.”
Another comeback was required in the heads-up duel with Czuczor, as the early momentum in the battle certainly belonged to the Hungarian who quickly pulled into a 3-1 lead.
“Marton played very good. I probably didn't play my A-Game but the cards came my way," Brandstrom added.
It was the second runner-up finish for Czuczor in an EPT Main Event, a fate he shares with fellow countryman Denes Kalo. However, the biggest score of his career lifts Czuczor into the top spot of Hungary's all-time money list.
The final day also featured Yunye Lu, Giovani Torre, Diego Falcone, and Rui Sousa, who were all sent to the rail in the first hour of play.
In One Hour From Six to Two
Some 50 minutes had passed on the final day before Brandstrom was sitting heads up with Marton Czuczor. At that point, both looked at ICM numbers and shook hands, each guaranteed to take home a seven-figure payday for their efforts. The whole speedy ordeal was reminiscent of the rapid-fire 2008 EPT San Remo when a then 21-year-old online qualifier Jason Mercier came out on top of an eight-handed final table in a mere two hours and 40 minutes.
Czuczor steam-rolled through the first half an hour and sent Lu, Torre and Falcone to the rail in quick succession. In the first hand of the day, Lu flopped top pair on a four-way flop and Czuczor got there with the nut flush draw.
Two hands later, Torre was drawing dead with king-jack suited against the ace-king of the Hungarian and Czuczor also won a flip with pocket eights against the ace-queen of Falcone soon after. It was in equally dramatic fashion, as Falcone flopped a queen only to see his hopes destroyed when an eight followed right after on the turn.
With a massive pay jump between first and second place, deal negotiations broke out the first time with three players remaining and no agreement could be reached just yet.
It was Brandstrom that took over control when he first counterfeited Sousa's pocket pair with ace-ten and knocked out the Portuguese a few minutes later with jacks versus ten-eight when the chips went in on an eight-high flop.
While the previous deal negotiations were not crowned by success, Czuczor and Brandstrom agreed on heads-up numbers to guarantee themselves more than €1.2 million each. They left €77,460 and the elusive EPT Main Event trophy to play for.
The duel for the title lasted three hours of effective play and it was Brandstrom that overcame an early rush of Czuczor to double in a key hand in which both players hit a full house. Denied a double soon after, Czuczor saw his hopes to finish one spot better vanish in a coin flip and that ensured yet another Swedish victory in Barcelona.
A record-Breaking Festival in Barcelona and the Return of the PokerStars Players Championship
It was a record-breaking festival at Casino Barcelona with new attendance records and big fields in the build-up of the flagship tournament. The Campeonato España de Poker that preceded it reached new heights and the €1,100 EPT National drew a massive field of 4,682 entries.
The Salon Gaudi was bursting with poker action in the €2,200 EPT National High Roller, which attracted a field of 1,491 entries and it was Brandstrom's friend Alexander Ivarsson that emerged victoriously. A big field of 64 entries were tallied in the €100,000 EPT Super High Roller and the Single-Day High Roller events attracted decent numbers, too. Juan Pardo won two of them and final-tabled another with FC Barcelona stars Gerard Piqué and Arturo Vidal making an appearance in the money spots.
During Day 1b of the Main Event and the “Chase your Dream” promotion, the return of the PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC) was announced to take place in Barcelona from August 20 to 24, 2020. Clement Eloy won the competition and first Platinum Pass but Adrian Garcia, Danielle Summer, Christoph Walkenhorst, and Daryl Inglis were called upon the stage too and presented a Platinum Pass of their own.
It has paved the way for poker dreams in the 12 months to come with poker enthusiasts from all over the world hoping to win a Platinum Pass and turn it into a life-changing result just like Ramon Colillas did during the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) in January 2019.
That wraps up the PokerNews updates from the €5,300 Main Event in Barcelona. The next EPT Main Event will take place in December 2019 in Prague and Platinum Passes will be up for grabs at several PokerStars-sponsored live events from now on.