It all ended so quickly. After one hand of heads-up play, after a long week of poker, and a two way chop, Philipp Gruissem took the latest EPT High Roller title, beating Scott Seiver to the title, not to mention the trophy and the SLYDE watch from official Watch Sponsor for EPT Season 10 Main Events and High Rollers.
Both Gruissem and Seiver went in blind to wrap this one up after less than five hours of play today, having agreed a deal that left Gruissem with €993,963 and Seiver €857,637. More significantly, those numbers were enough to take Gruissem past former World Champion Pius Heinz to become the highest earning German live tournament player in history.
“It’s not my first high roller win but it’s always pretty amazing,” said Gruissem. “I’m going to enjoy tonight.”
It’s the latest in a long string of remarkable results for Gruissem. In the past 12 months alone Gruissem has won the WSOP APAC High Roller re-buy in Melbourne ($863,386), the $100,000 WPT Alpha8 event in London ($1,379,840) and the $100,000 WPT Alpha8 in St Kitts ($1,086,400). As far as High Roller events go Gruissem is usually unstoppable and today was no different. It takes a lot to catch World Series Main Event winners in terms of prize money, but Gruissem did just that today.
After a late finish yesterday nine players returned this afternoon to play down to a winner.
Seat 1. Byron Kaverman — 1,813,000
Seat 2. Stephen Chidwick — 991,000
Seat 3. Chenxiang Miao — 674,000
Seat 4. Pascal Lefrancois — 596,000
Seat 5. Davidi Kitai — 2,208,000
Seat 6. Scott Seiver — 1,553,000
Seat 7. John Juanda — 355,000
Seat 8. Martin Finger — 1,047,000
Seat 9. Philipp Gruissem — 1,470,000
Pascal Lafrancois went out in ninth (€113,250) when his ace-ten did not improve against Davidi Kitai’s pocket queens. The Canadian’s demise heralded the final table proper, which Kitai led comfortably until losing consecutive pots to both Gruissem and Seiver, worth a million chips.
Meanwhile, Chenxiang Miao’s tournament was coming to an end in eighth place (€136,900). His ace-ten of spades was good for a flush draw, but never improved against Kitai’s turned trips. Gruissem’s tournament though was coming to life after his trip aces won a pot worth one million against Seiver.
Stephen Chidwick would depart in seventh place (€187,200). Two hands would see him sent to the rail. First ace-eight of hearts against John Juanda’s pocket jacks. Then he ran pocket fours into Seiver’s pocket tens.
Martin Finger was on course for an historic triple coming into the final table, with the chance to win an EPT hat-trick of Main Event, Super High Roller and High Roller. Alas he fell in sixth place (€256,400), moving in from the cut-off with queen-eight of spades against Kitai’s pocket nines.
By this point Gruissem was into the lead, confessing to running good. John Juanda could only look on at Gruissem’s progress as he struggled to prevent his own stack from being swallowed up, although he managed to hang on long enough to see Byron Kaverman depart before him.
Kaverman had had an eventful week. He’d been in Las Vegas playing the WPT Championship where he finished second, catching a flight to Europe at the last minute to play the Main Event. He may not have scored a deep run in that but made up for it today, cashing in fifth place (€337,650). He moved in with king-queen. Gruissem, who had just reduced Kitai to just one million, apologised before turning over aces.
Juanda followed in fourth (€426,800). First he suffered with king-queen against Seiver’s king-jack of spades. Juanda had looked sure of a double up until Seiver made an unlikely straight on the river. Then Juanda moved all-in on a flop of four-ten-ten with queen-five. Gruissem took him on with nine-seven and caught a seven on the turn, sending Juanda home.
Now three-handed, Gruissem’s stack resembled a wedding cake more than a pile of chips. His advantage was enormous, but Seiver was not done yet. To his delight he found aces in the hand before the break, enticing a call from Gruissem’s king-deuce to double.
“I’ve been waiting three years to open limp with aces against you,” said Seiver, giving himself hope of toppling Gruissem.
But as play resumed Kitai’s fate was sealed. Reduced to around 500,000 he shoved with ace-five of spades which Gruissem called with queen-jack. There was hope for Kitai to the turn, but the queen on the river set up the heads-up contest, bringing the tournament to an end one hand later.
Seiver warmly congratulated Gruissem on the win. There was a silver lining for Seiver, who pointed out that today the dollar is at its most favourable rate against the Euro in six years. “Extra good news there,” he said.
Gruissem though went on to explain the significance of the win to Sarah Grant:
The final result is as follows.
EPT10 Grand Final, Event 36 €25,000 High Roller
Date: 30 April to 2 May 2014
Players: 214 entries
Prize pool: €5,243,000
1. Philipp Gruissem, Germany, €993,963*
2. Scott Seiver, USA, €857,637*
3. Davidi Kitai, Belgium, €526,400
4. John Juanda, Indonesia, €426,800
5. Byron Kaverman, USA, €337,650
6. Martin Finger, Germany, €256,400
7. Stephen Chidwick, UK, €187,200
8. Chenxiang Miao, China, €136,900
*relates to a heads-up deal.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.