But just as in Monaco, Urbanovich fell at the final hurdle here in Barcelona as Sylvain Loosli became the first Frenchman to win a Super High Roller title. Tonight the 2013 November Niner he has a shiny trophy to take back to France along with €1,224,000. It’s a victory that was unexpected, not because of Loosli’s poker ability, but because of the size of Loosli’s stack. He returned today in sixth place of the nine remaining combatants and never troubled the upper echelons of the chip counts or took the chip lead until heads-up play began.
By that point Loosli could have taken the view that he was freerolling as he’d got it in bad and doubled three times whilst play was six handed or more, been as low as 3.8 big blinds with seven players left and was the basement dweller when play was four-handed and three-handed. Having dodged all those bullets he may well have been of the belief that his name was already on the trophy (do we have an EPT trophy engraver?). “I’ve been playing a lot of these tournaments for the last few years so I just know it’s never over,” he told the PokerStars Blog. “Even if you’re down to a few big blinds sometimes you get lucky a lot. That’s tournament poker. You just have to hold on to your chips and keep focusing on your game.”
When Loosli took care of the impressive Christoph Vogelsang in third place he had a slim lead going into heads-up play and if there’s been a weakness in Urbanovich’s armour in these big buy-in tournaments it’s come at this stage of the tournament. In quick order Loosli stretched out to a two to one chip lead. It was one way traffic until Urbanovich doubled back to parity (threes against K♥10♣) but it was to be short lived.
A big hand in which Loosli check-raised all-in on the river reduced Urbanovich to 20 big blinds. “In the heads-up match I check-raised all-in on the river against Dzmitry and I turned my hand into a bluff. I might have had the best hand, I’m not sure. I feel like I was representing a big hand and decided to put my tournament at risk at this point,” said Loosli of that pivotal pot.
The final hand came when Urbanovich shoved with J♦10♠ and Loosli called with pocket fives. A five on the turn gave Loosli a set and the title. “It’s been a rollercoaster,” said the Frenchman after the dust had settled. “The final table was filled with great players. You had to fight to win every single pot. It was so tough and I had to play my best.”
The win is Loosli’s biggest result since his fourth place finish in the WSOP Main Event in 2013. “It’s a different the Main Event, which was amazing,” he said. “But this is a win and you play poker to win tournaments and titles.”
When he did show up he quickly set about adding to his stack and was chip leader when the official final table began. He retained that position – or was close to it – for the entire final table and it’s easy to forget that he’s barely 20 having celebrated that birthday in May. Whilst he may not have won, the reigning EPT Player of the Year has laid down a big marker for the season ahead.
It took 80 minutes for that to happen but Byron Kaverman would ultimately be the first to go. He was the shortest stack when play began, nines into the kings of Ivan Luca did the most damage before Urbanovich dealt the fatal blow, although that doesn’t tell the whole story.
The next exit would come far quicker, like London buses some would say, and it was the last remaining Englishman who was sent on his way. Paul Newey is starting to become a regular fixture at the final table of these events but there was nothing he could do when the poker gods decided it was ace-king’s turn to win the classic race against his queens.
EPT12 Barcelona – Super High Roller
Total entries: 99
Prize pool: €4,753,485
1st.Sylvain Loosli (France) €1,224,000
2nd.Dzmitry Urbanovich (Poland) €841,500
3rd.Christoph Vogelsang (Germany) €551,485
4th.JC Alvarado (Mexico) €446,800
5th.Michael Egan (Australia) €358,900
6th.Ivan Luca (Argentina) €280,500
7th.Steve O’Dwyer (Ireland) €221,000
8th.Paul Newey (United Kingdom) €168,700
You can also begin plotting your own bid for EPT glory by downloading the PokerStars client and having a crack. Follow this EPT event via the EPT app. There you will get all the latest news, chip counts and payouts. You can download it on Android or IOS.