There was a moment during yesterday’s penultimate day of the Estrellas Poker Tour Barcelona Main Event when eventual heads-up opponents Mohamed Samri of France and Teunis Kooij of the Netherlands got involved in a four-bet pot followed by a big flop bet by Samri.
The pair chatted a bit, with Kooij asking if Samri spoke English and Samri asking Kooij if he spoke French. Neither knew too much of the other’s language, but when Kooij folded his hand and Samri showed his king-high, it was clear they were communicating well.
“Ooh, la la,” said Samri. “Well played,” said Kooij with a grin.
It seems almost appropriate, then, that the final day of the tournament that drew a record 3,447 players would end somewhat similarly — with Samri and Kooij coming to an agreement regarding a heads-up deal, then a couple of big hands between them to decide things.
Samri came away with the trophy and a €353,220 payday, while Kooij earned a little bit more of the prize pool — €372,060 — by virtue of having a lead when heads-up began. Each enjoyed enormous returns on a €1,100 investment, the cost of the buy-in for this kickoff event of EPT Season 13 and last Main Event for the Estrellas Poker Tour’s Season 7.
Those 3,447 entrants meant a prize pool of €3,343,590, divided among the top 695 finishers. After three Day 1 flights — each bigger than the last — the bubble burst on Day 2, then Day 3 saw the field carved down to nine with none other than the UK’s Chris Moorman, online tournament poker’s biggest winner, carrying the chip lead to begin the final day.
The pace was slow to start, with Moorman and Kooij between them at times having nearly half the chips in play while everyone else battled with below average stacks.
Ireland’s Daniel Wilson was the first of those short stacks to fall in ninth after running ace-queen into his fellow countryman Nicholas Newport’s ace-king.
Lars Farstad of Norway followed in eighth, also being failed by ace-queen when it couldn’t outrun Kooij’s pocket nines.
The Frenchman Jerome Brion had begun Day 3 with the chip lead, but he entered the last day on the short side and in the third hour finally fell, his ace-ten not holding up when Kooij outdrew him with king-queen.
Kooij’s early success today enabled him to wrest the chip lead from Moorman, and he remained clear of the field even after Moorman knocked out Switzerland’s Jean-Marc Bellini in sixth. In Bellini’s last hand he’d picked up ace-jack, but unfortunately ran into Moorman’s pocket kings to be sent railward.
Marius Enebakk of Norway had laddered up successfully with his short stack, but finally ran out of luck in a cruelish hand versus Moorman. They made it to the turn on a queen-high board before Enebakk was all-in with queen-jack against Moorman’s queen-ten. But a ten on the river meant two pair for Moorman, and they were down to four.
Newport then found himself hanging on with a short stack for a while before finally falling with queen-jack versus Kooij’s pair of fours.
Observers might have been forgiven during three-handed play not to have expected Samri to be the one ultimately to emerge victorious. After all, he was the short stack for much of the trio’s duel, only managing to climb back closer following a double through Moorman.
Soon after — and dramatically — Moorman lost nearly all of his stack after four-bet jamming pocket sixes and running smack into Kooij’s pocket queens. Down to three big blinds, the rest went to Kooij on the next hand, and suddenly Moorman was out in third.
That’s when the amiable Kooij and joyful Samri — the latter being visibly ecstatic by the surprising knockout of Moorman — made their deal, with Kooij enjoying a chip lead for the deal-making and to start heads-up play.
Kooij even posed for a picture with Samri taken by the Frenchmen’s friends on the rail, with both signaling thumbs-up for what had turned out to be a successful endgame.
Following the deal, heads-up was over quickly.
There was one big double for Samri with pocket deuces versus ace-queen, then Samri won the last of Kooij’s chips after the latter committed on the turn with a flush draw versus Samri’s top pair and the river blanked. It was a great run for the Dutchman, ending just one spot shy of the title.
After Samri had won, the rail exploded with excitement and the players shared hugs.
Ooh la la, what a finish. And well played, both.
Here’s how the final table payouts went, and you can also click the header below for a complete list of who cashed:
ESPT Barcelona Main Event final table results
Prize pool: €3,343,590
1st: Mohamed Samri (France) €353,220*
2nd: Teunis Kooij (Netherlands) €372,060*
3rd: Chris Moorman (United Kingdom) €241,300
4th: Nicholas Newport (Ireland) €202,420
5th: Marius Enebakk (Norway) €163,800
6th: Jean-Marc Bellini (Switzerland) €125,450
7th: Jerome Brion (France) €87,350
8th: Lars Farstad (Norway) €62,300
*denotes two-way deal
Relive all six days of live updates and photos as well here:
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Photography by René Velli and Carlos Monti. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter @PokerStarsBlog.