Day 4 Completed
|Blinds||100,000 / 200,000|
Day 4 Completed
Sam Grafton has won the PokerStars Festival Bucharest Main Event for €117,707. The immensely popular Brit bested a 736-player field on his way to taking down his biggest live tournament for five years.
After the win, Grafton said that he felt “really proud,” and that the title felt like a completion of something he’d been trying to do for the past six years of playing PokerStars events.
“Back when I started I didn’t realise what it took to win a live tournament. I didn’t value the runs I made. When I got this opportunity, and from 40 players out I felt really determined and it felt like a really good shot at a title."
|1||Sam Grafton||United Kingdom||€117,707*|
|* denotes heads-up deal|
With the final table dynamic tilted with the dominating chip stacks of Grafton and his heads-up opponent Anil Ozdemir, Grafton said that the dynamic was a strange one.
“We had half the chips in play between us, but he had me well covered. I had to play well and just try and take that into account. I’m experienced enough and I’ve played a lot online so I’m used to that sort of table dynamic.”
Play went from four-handed to heads-up in one hand, which Grafton said was an enjoyable experience for him as a spectator.
“That was a very sick hand. I felt sorry for Daniel [Nietrzebka] because he played the hand really well only to end up getting third. It’s a huge pot and he played King’s incredibly well.”
However, there was one thing missing from a Brit heads-up for a major title: a rowdy British rail.
“I think it helped me that there was no distraction! There have been no distractions all week going out, or socialising quite as much as I do at the table.
“I was able to be quite focussed and a little bit more subdued than normal, so I’ve got to consider that for the future.”
However, in the end Grafton was quick to thank everyone who had helped him along the way.
“I don’t wanna overstate it, but I feel very pleased. I've had a lot of support through the years from all parts of the poker community; the players, bloggers, the staff and it’s nice to reward so many people’s patience and support in me now that I’ve achieved this title.
“I feel a little sad that some people who have railed me in the past couldn’t be here. Everyone’s been so good to me at Stars events.”
It was a frantic start to the final day here in Bucharest, with two eliminations in the first three hands! First Traian Bostan, who was chip leader for most of yesterday, shoved blind on blind against Grafton only for Bostan to emerge second best and become the first casualty of the day.
In the very next hand Johann Eclapier got his remaining chips in against fellow short stack Patrick Bueno. Eclapier had King-Queen but was dominated by the Ace-King of Bueno, and after receiving now help from the flop, turn, or river, Eclapier was eliminated.
Bueno was next to go 30 minutes later. He was one of three players with a sub-20 big blind stack at the start of the day, and he was unlucky when his pocket Tens were cracked by the Ace-King of Daniel Nietrzebka in the most brutal of fashions – an Ace on the river.
It had been a quiet day thusfar for start-of-day chip leader Anil Ozdemir, who had retained his chip lead despite Nietrzebka doubling through him in almost a three million chip pot. In fact the two would tussle again and again throughout the day, with Ozdemir four-bet folding to Nietrzebka to allow the Pole to take over the chip lead.
You could have been forgiven to have thought that following the frantic start to the day, that the action would have stopped, but the poker Gods delivered another exciting hand in blockbuster fashion.
Short stack Fahredin Mustafov, who had laddered expertly while nursing a shortstack, moved all in and was followed swiftly by the stacks of Ozdemir and Nietrzebka. Mustafov held , Ozdemir and Nietrzebka .
Ozdemir took the lead with a set of jacks on the flop of , but Nietrzebka held a king-high flush draw. The turn completed that flush coming . However, the river was the giving Ozdemir a full house and eliminating both Nietrzebka and Mustafov.
With that we were down to heads-up play, with Ozdemir holding a more than 2:1 chip lead, and would continue to dominate proceedings even when Grafton doubled through the Turk when he faded a straight draw with Queens.
That was the turning point in the match. From then on Grafton pushed home his advantage. There was to be sniff of a double-up for Ozdemir to get back into the match. The final nail in the coffin was Ozdemir’s fold in the penultimate hand of the match, only for Grafton to clinch it with a runner-runner straight in the very next hand.
After Sam Grafton took the commanding lead, three more hands were played before the tournament was over. In the first hand, Grafton limped in on the button, Anil Ozdemir shoved, and Grafton folded. Ozdemir open-shoved the second hand and Grafton folded again.
In the next hand, Grafton shoved and Ozdemir paused. He rubbed his head, looked at his stack, then, decisively, put a stack of green T-25,000 chips in the middle.
"Queen-jack!" an excited Ozdemir yelled. He stood up, clapped his hands and awaited his fate being dealt.
The flop helped neither player, keeping Grafton in the lead with his king-high. The on the turn, however, gave Ozdemir a substantial lead in the hand. Now Grafton was the one needing to improve, and he needed to catch a king or queen to win the tournament.
The crowd flocked around the rail at the table to watch the dealer flip the on the river. Grafton rivered a king-high straight to oust Ozdemir's rivered two pair. Ozdemir and Grafton gave each other a big hug, striking for the good atmosphere at this final table.
The joyful Turk, who started the day as the chipleader, saw his incredible run come to an end in 2nd place. After the earlier deal, he received €96,993, by far the biggest score of his career.
With that, Sam Grafton is the PokerStars Festival Bucharest Main Event champion! An extensive recap and an interview with the winner follow shortly.
Anil Ozdemir continued his limping strategy and Sam Grafton raised to 900,000. Ozdemir called.
The flop was and Grafton continued for 600,000. Ozdemir called. The turn was the and Grafton bet again for 1,605,000. Ozdemir called again.
On the river, which was the , Grafton moved all in and Ozdemir went deep into the tank. He rubbed his forehead as he contemplated his decision. He picked up a small stack of chips, shuffled them, and placed them almost decisively back on the top of his stack. However, no sooner had he done that, he'd pick them up again and carry on shuffling.
"Two pair good," Ozdemir asked Grafton.
"Two pair?" said Grafton, "You can't fold two pair."
"One pair good?" continued the inquisitive Ozdemir.
"Depends which one," replied Grafton.
Eventually, Ozdemir pushed his cards forward.
"Ten-Jack?" asked Grafton.
"Ace-Ten," replied Ozdemir, "Was it good?" he asked, but Grafton didn't reply.
Sam Grafton raised to 380,000 and Anil Ozdemir defended. The flop came down and Ozdemir check-called 530,000 from Grafton. Both heads-up players checked the on the turn.
Ozdemir led out 1,500,000 on the river, enough to make Grafton lay it down.
Over the course of the heads-up, both players have altered their strategy but it is now clear that Anil Ozdemir has resorted to limping his buttons. This has been to moderate success, as the two times that Sam Grafton has raised from the big blind to around 600,000, Ozdemir has moved all in and Grafton has folded.
Ozdemir now has around 5,000,000 in chips, having been as low as 3,500,000 in the middle of this level.
Sam Grafton raised to 380,000 and Anil Ozdemir defended. The flop was and Grafton bet 275,000, which Ozdemir called. Both players checked the on the turn.
The river was the and Ozdemir checked a third time. Grafton bet 575,000 and received a call.
The Brit tabled for aces and kings and Ozdemir mucked.
Sam Grafton opened to 350,000 and Ozdemir called. The pair checked down a flop and turn of and the river was the . Ozdemir check-folded to a bet of 310,000.
A few hands later Grafton opened to 380,000 and again Ozdemir called. The pair checked a flop of and Ozdemir check-called a bet of 425,000 on the turn . The river was the and both players checked. Ozdemir showed and took down the pot.
Anil Ozdemir limped in on the button and Sam Grafton checked. The flop was and Grafton check-called 225,000 from Ozdemir.
After the turn went check/check, Grafton bet 825,000 on the river. Ozdemir called and Grafton tabled the winner with .