Jan Bendik won the 2016 PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino EPT Grand Final €5,300 Main Event for a staggering €961,800, beating a field of 1,098 players.
EPT Season 12 was called the season of the "reg," with all the titles going to already well-established and experienced players. Bendik fit right in with that bunch, with years on the tour, two earlier appearances at EPT final tables, and the title of EPT Player of the Year back in Season 9.
On the penultimate day, the final table of eight players was reached, but play continued till the tournament was down to its final six. The two most established names of the final eight made their exit before the day was done, with Italian super high roller Dario Sammartino hitting the rail in eighth and former November Niner Antoine Saout departing in seventh.
The final six started out with a big discrepancy in chip counts. You had the haves, with Adrien Allain and Jimmy Guerrero with over 110 big blinds, and the have nots, with around 25 big blinds each.
Oren Rosen was the first to go. He had flown friends and family over from Israel to witness him playing the biggest final table of his career, but unfortunately, he had to settle for sixth place when he ran ace-jack into Jan Bendik's ace-king.
It took some time for the next player to go, but then they exited in pretty rapid fashion. Pierre Calamusa first hit a pure two-outer with kings all in on the turn against Jan Bendik's flopped trips. The miracle king on the river saved him then, but in the end he would part ways with his stack anyway. He got down to a push-or-fold amount and got it in with ace-four against ace-jack. A jack on the flop ended it all for the rising French star.
Calamusa's bust out was after a hand that could have changed the entire dynamic of the final table, when the two chip leaders clashed in a huge pot. Allain four-bet nine-six suited against Guerrero, and the latter made the call out of position with ace-queen. By the time the river was out there, both players hadn't improved, but Allain had all of his chips in the middle anyway. Guerrero was very close to calling the all-in bet with nothing but ace-high, but decided against it, and Allain got away with what must have been the biggest bluff of his career.
Allain was in the driver seat after that, though Guerrero was still firmly in second place.
Asan Umarov, the Kazakhstani player, who had qualified for this event via a €10 Spin & Go, showcased some craftsmanship today. While he was in for a bargain and was playing on by far the biggest stage of his poker career, he at no point showed to be impressed by the setting, other players, or the money involved. His solid play laddered him up to fourth place, shoving correct hands, and laying down others, but in the end he was short and shoved ace-nine into kings. A board full of blanks later saw Umarov hit the rail, collecting €305,660. Not bad of a return on a €10 investment. In the short interview that followed, he assured the audience he would return to the EPT, but first it was time to celebrate with his family and friends back in Kazakhstan.
Down to three-handed play, Bendik gained traction. More and more started to work for him, he won some sizable pots, and was in second place when his two opponents got it in against each other. Guerrero was looking to get back that second-place position when he pushed the action with pocket deuces. Allain wasn't going to throw away his ace-jack and called to put his countryman at risk. An ace and jack on the flop resulted in the one-time overwhelming chip leader departing in third place.
It was the Frenchman, Allain, with roughly 22 million heads up against the Slovakian, Bendik, with roughly 11 million. The two played for quite some time when the internet broke down in the entire building and the live stream went out. The issues were resolved when the two returned from dinner break, and the heads-up match continued.
The two played mano-a-mano for a bit longer, and Allain was in the lead for most of it before Bendik doubled and the two were back to even. Eventually, it was an enormous cooler that was needed to end it all.
Allain flopped a set of eights in a three-bet pot, but the turn gave Bendik a higher set of tens. It got all in on the river and Allain could only stand there in disbelief when he saw his opponent turn over the higher set. Just like that, it all ended.
Bendik was the new EPT Grand Final champion, taking home the first-place prize of €961,800.
Final Table Results
The season started with John Juanda winning EPT Barcelona, followed by Niall Farrell (Malta), Hossein Ensan (Prague), Mike Watson (PCA), and Dzmitry Urbanovich (Dublin) winning titles in an incredible season.
European Poker Tour Season 12 Winners
|2016||May||Grand Final||Jan Bendik||1,098||€961,800|
The European Poker Tour will return to Barcelona for Season 13 August 16-28, and you can expect PokerNews to be there, so stay tuned.