ept grand final overview

2016 EPT Grand Final Series Recap

The 2016 EPT Grand Final Series is in the Books

The 12th season of the European Poker Tour (EPT) came to a close over the last two weeks, culminating with the annual Grand Final series.

Held at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel and Casino Resort – in Monte Carlo, Monaco – between April 26th and May 6th, the EPT 2016 Grand Final featured more than 50 events spanning the spectrum of tournament pokeris.

With an eclectic mix of games and stakes, ranging from the $120 No-Limit Hold’em (NLHE) Quack-Quack tournament to the $100,000 Super High-Roller, the EPT Grand Final has become an essential destination along poker’s global circuit.

Attracting legions of recreational players from across Europe, as well as the select group of elite professionals who tour the world in search of prize money and prestige, the EPT Grand Final offers the Old World equivalent of the World Series of Poker (WSOP).

Under the ownership and sponsorship of PokerStars – the world’s leading online poker platform – the EPT has grown to become a centerpiece of the game’s global presence.

And as the tour’s finale, the EPT Grand Final series has been known to bring out the best in the game’s greatest players, with Gavin Griffin (2007), Mohsin Charania (2012), and Steve O’Dwyer (2013) highlighting the list of previous Main Event winners.

On the increasingly popular high-roller side, poker luminaries like America’s Justin Bonomo (2013), Daniel Colman (2014), and Erik Seidel (2015), along with Italian Mustapha Kanit (2015), all taking down big buy-in high-roller events during previous editions of the EPT Grand Final.

The last cards from this year’s EPT Grand Final have hit the felt, and the final champions have been crowned. Below you’ll find a recap for five of the series’ most star-studded events, including the official Main Event for the tour stop, along with four high-roller tournaments featuring escalating buy-ins between €10,300 and €100,000.



€10,300 Single Reentry High-Roller

Kicking off the EPT Grand Final and running from April 26th to April 28th, the €10,300 NLHE High-Roller event attracted a total of 216 entries.

By the time the final table lineup had been set several successful pros from around the world had earned a seat, including Philipp Gruissem (Germany), Fedor Holz (Germany), Chance Kornuth (USA), Felipe Ramos (Brazil), and Anthony Zinno (USA).

Ramos and Zinno bowed out with 7th and 6th place finishes, respectively, before Holz was caught trying to pick off what he believed to be a big bluff by Kornuth. Instead, the American tabled a full house to send Holz to the rail with a €169,000 payday.

From there, Kornuth, Gruissem, and Sergey Lebedev (Russia) decided to chop up the remaining prize money based on their current chip counts, with Kornuth and his 5.6 million claiming the title over Gruissem’s 2.8 million and Lebedev’s 2.6 million.

Kornuth, meanwhile, notched his fourth six-figure cash of 2016 with the €351,108 uptick, following a final table run in the PCA $25,000 High-Roller, a win in the Aussie Millions AU$25,000 Challenge, and a runner-up finish in the EPT Dublin €25,750 High-Roller.

chance kornuth ept grand final win

Photo courtesy of PokerStars blog

Gruissem, meanwhile, earned €292,750 for what was officially a runner-up finish, and Lebedev pocketed €291,162 for the third-place result.

Full final table results can be found below:
2016 ept grand final high roller recap


€100,000 Super High-Roller

The “big one” got started on the same day that the €10,300 High-Roller ended, but players were permitted to register late through the start of the second day of play.  This gave players like Holz and Lebedev time to collect their winnings and hop in the €100,000 Super High-Roller.

By the time registration closed a total of 61 entries (46 unique players and 15 reentries) had been recorded. With a prize pool of €5,918,220 generated, the final eight players would make the money to guarantee themselves a €236,750 payout, while the winner would earn €1,775,500.

As the end of Day 2 drew near just nine players remained, putting the field on the stone bubble, and after a few grueling hours of intense grinding it was Mike “Timex” McDonald (USA) who departed emptyhanded.

With the eight-handed final table lineup, and all remaining players assured of a cash, the action picked up considerably on Day 3. High-roller specialists like Stephen Chidwick (UK), Sam Greenwood (Canada), Kanit (Italy), Igor Kurganov (Russia), Ivan Luca (Argentina), Paul Newey (UK), and Ole Schemion (Germany) made for an extremely skilled and experienced final eight.

After hours of high-level play from all competitors, the last two players left standing were Schemion and Kanit – both no strangers to success on the high-roller circuit. The two pros quickly agreed to chop up the €3 million or so in remaining prize money, but after tournament officials decided that €50,000, the trophy, and the title must remain on the line, Schemion went to work and dispatched Kanit in short order.

ole schemion ept grand final win

Photo courtesy of PokerStars blog

The seven-figure paydays for both players represented milestones of sorts, as Schemion moved past the $10 million plateau in terms of live career earnings, while Kanit pushed past the $7 million mark.

Full final table results can be found below:
ept grand final 2016 super high roller


€50,000 Single-Day Super High-Roller

Continuing the emphasis on high-stakes action, the EPT Grand Final included a special €50,000 Single-Day Super High-Roller to give players who bust from the weeklong Main Event another option.

The tournament began on May 1st and players had the option to reenter once should they find their chip stack depleted early on. A total of 70 entries (62 unique players and eight reentries) were recorded over a single day, generating a prize pool of nearly €3.4 million. Each member of the nine-handed final table would earn a guaranteed min-cash of €98,480.

As is usually the case in high-roller events, and especially those held on the EPT, an exclusive group of German specialists (Fabian Quoss, along with Schemion and Holz) competed alongside the Irish-born O’Dwyer in an attempt to monopolize the high-roller market. And while O’Dwyer’s run was cut short in 9th place, the Germans went 1-2-5, respectively, with Quoss outdueling Schemion for the title, and Holz securing yet another six-figure score with a 5th-place result.

quoss ole HU

Photo courtesy of PokerStars blog

Schemion actually earned slightly more money than Quoss per the parameters of their heads-up chop, but Quoss managed to claim the crown following a brief contest.

Full final table results can be found below:

ept grand final high roller recap


€25,750 Single-Day Super High-Roller

As the finale of the EPT Grand Final’s four-part series of high-roller events, the €25,750 High-Roller tournament presented players with their last chance at recouping a bit of their bankroll following a Main Event elimination.

Beginning on May 4th and spanning three full days of play, the single-reentry affair attracted 231 runners in total, generating a prize pool of €5,695,000 to be split between the final 31 finishers.

A min-cash was worth €49,800, and high-roller master O’Dwyer added yet another in-the-money finish to his stellar career résumé. Well known pros like Amit Makhija (24th place), Dan Smith (22nd place), Niall Farrell (20th place) all weaved their way to a deep run, earning a respectable cash for their efforts.

The immortal “Kid Poker,” Daniel Negreanu himself, also went deep with a 15th-place finish, but the six-time WSOP bracelet winner was looking to secure his first EPT title – along with live poker’s elusive “Triple Crown” (WSOP / WPT / EPT).

The official eight-handed final table lineup lacked Negreanu’s star power, but with Zinno sitting at his second major final table of the series, alongside EPT superstar Max Silver (UK) and Zvi Stern (Israel), the 5th-place finisher from last year’s WSOP Main Event, there was no shortage of storylines.

Silver bowed out in 7th place when his short-stacked shove produced top pair, only for Alexandru Papazian (Romania) to river two pair for the knockout.

Zinno was the next to go, falling in 6th place at the hands of Alexandros Kolonias (Greece) when the latter showed up with pocket queens to put the pro’s suited Q-J in a dominated position.

Stern was dispatched in 4th place when his button jam was called down by Papazian and his own pair of ladies. Ace-high couldn’t cut it for Stern, but he did manage to best his famous finish from the 2015 WSOP Main Event final table by one spot.

Following the exit of Rafael Da Silva Moraes in 3rd place, Papazian held a massive chip lead of 10 million to the 1.5 million of Kolonias, but the short stack quickly secured two doubles within the span of a few hands to regain his footing.

Upon returning from the dinner break Kolonias continued his charge, doubling through for a third time to pull essentially even, and from there the match continued for several hours. Papazian once again opened up a wide lead at one point, with Kolonias down to 1 million chips, but before long the Greek had turned the tables and held a slight lead of his own.

Finally, with the blinds set at 125,000/250,000 with 25,000-chip ante, and both players hovering on 20-big blind stacks or so, the money all went into the middle to culminate a preflop raising war.

Papazian held ace-six to put Kolonias on the ropes with his king-queen, and an ace-high flop all but sealed the deal. Kolonias was drawing dead by the turn, and his micro-stack was shoved all in soon afterward, with Papazian running down pocket nines with ace-four to take the title.

single day high roller ept grand final winner

Photo courtesy of PokerStars blog

For both players, each of whom entered the EPT Grand final series with less than $200,000 in live cashes to their credit, their results here represented by far the largest scores of their respective careers.

Full final table results can be found below:

ept grand final 2016 single day high roller recap


€5,300 EPT 2016 Grand Final Main Event

Although the bevy of high-roller options available at the EPT Grand Final are certainly a spectacle, for the majority of poker players attending the event, sitting in one of these exclusive tournaments isn’t a realistic option.

With a much more reasonable price point of €5,300, and a seemingly endless array of satellite events and online qualifiers running around the clock, the EPT Main Event drew 1,098 hopefuls from Europe and around the world.

Consisting of two starting flights, followed by five full days on the felt, the EPT Main Event was the marathon to the series of sprints offered by the shorter high-roller tournaments. The nearly 1,100-runner strong field competed for a share of the tremendous €5,325,300 prize pool, and the final 159 players left standing secured a min-cash of €8,890.

Among those who managed to make the money before heading to the rail were Brits Jake Cody (149th place), Jack Salter (147th place), and Silver (146th place), American Faraz Jaka (129th place), Belgium’s Davidi Kitai (99th place), Fatima Moreira de Melo of the Netherlands (44th place), PokerStars Team Online member Randy Lew (30th place), and Team Pro Vanessa Selbst (26th place).

Italian pro Dario Sammartino stole the show en route to an 8th-place finish, following his 17th-place run last year, and a 19th-place showing in 2013 at the EPT Grand Final Main Event.

The first Frenchman to compete at the WSOP Main Event final table, Antoine Saout, was eliminated in 7th place to set the official six-handed final table lineup.

On Day 6 of the weeklong tournament, three players hailing from France represented their homeland, as Adrien Allain and Jimmy Guerrero both brought big stacks in excess of 11 million, while Pierre Calamusa looked to fight back from a 2.2 million short stack. Aside from Allain and Guerrero, none of the final six players held more than 2.7 million to begin final table play.

The short stacks began falling like dominoes, and Oren Rosen (6th place) was joined by Calamusa (5th place) and Asan Umarov (4th place) – who qualified for the event by winning a €10 Spin & Go satellite – on the rail within the first 53 hands.

A few orbits later, Guerrero and his big stack were brought down to size, as Allain cut his countryman’s tournament short by winning a coin flip.

That left Allain and Jan Bendik (Slovakia) to battle for the Main Event title, and Allain entered heads-up play holding a commanding 21.8 million to Bendik’s 10.8 million.

The two would duel for more than 135 hands after that, trading small pots, double ups, and the chip lead back and forth for several hours. Allain – an experienced young pro with a WPT win and numerous EPT and WSOP final tables to his credit – sparred with Bendik, but the former EPT Player of the Year (2013) crawled his way close to the lead several times, before finally finding a double when his pocket sixes survived the race against Allain’s big slick.

The two veterans of the EPT continued to grind away at one another’s chip stack for dozens of hands after Bendik’s double, before the Slovakian finally finished the match in dramatic fashion. On a board reading Ah-8c-4s-10h-3d, and both players holding similarly sized stacks, the action saw multiple bets through the river, before Bendik’s shove was called off by Allain.

The Frenchman showed down pocket eights for a flopped set, but Bendik’s pocket tens caught up with a set of their own on the turn.

ept grand final main event winner

Photo courtesy of PokerStars blog

A few years removed from his dominant Season 9 on the EPT, in which he notched four wins and six final table appearances in side events, Bendik earned his first Main Event title on tour, along with his largest lifetime cash.

Full final table results can be found below:

ept grand final 2016 main event recap results final table



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Jonathan Zaun

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