He came into the final table with the chip lead and was head and shoulders above all but one fellow player, so it was little surprise that Steve O’Dwyer reigned supreme in the EPT Grand Final Monaco Main Event.
The Irishman beat a field of 531 players to take out the top spot and the €1,224,000 (around US$1.59 million) cash prize. It was his first win since February last year, where O’Dwyer came in first place at the WPT National Series Main Event in Denmark. That event, however, did not have the remarkable talent that participated in the EPT Monaco Main Event, which made this win a whole lot more significant.
It was also little surprise that the runner up was Canadian Andrew Pantling, the only other player going into the final table with a stack that rivalled that of O’Dwyer. While Pantling has previously seen poker success in Monaco – He won the €5,000 No-limit Heads-up event in the EPT Monaco back in 2010 – he has had mixed fortunes on the general live poker scene. The London-based Canadian takes home €842,000 (around US$1.1 million), by far the biggest cash win in his poker career.
At the start of the last day, it looked like Pantling may have been on the way to take out the Main Event after he eliminated short stacked Australian Grant Levy in eighth place. He then knocked out Jason Mercier in seventh spot and took the chip lead from O’Dwyer in the process.
Pantling and O’Dwyer did briefly have a fellow rival in Johnny Lodden, however. Lodden held the chip lead for a long period of time in the middle stages of the tournament, and he was always not going to let it go without a fight. The tourney eventually came down to just Lodden, Pantling and O’Dwyer, and the chip lead briefly bounced between the three of them like a hot potato.
The Norwegian ended up getting knocked by the man responsible for taking away his two-day long chip lead earlier in the tournament, Steve O’Dwyer. It came after O’Dwyer’s Ace Jack outkicked Lodden’s Ace Ten, sending him out in third place and €467,000 (around US$610,000) richer.
Lodden’s departure left Pantling and O’Dwyer in heads-up play, with Pantling holding a small chip lead at the start of it. This would not last long, with the Irishman gradually taking back the chip lead and building up a solid buffer between his and Pantling’s chip stacks.
The last hand of the Main Event saw O’Dwyer and his Ten Eight starting hand hit trips on the Eight of Diamonds, Eight of Spades and Jack of Spades flop. Pantling check-called the Irishman’s post flop bet of 300,000 with his King Five of Spades and the Four of Spades on the turn gave him a flush.
Pantling would raise 1,425,000 – a significant amount of his stack – after the third spade came on the board. O’Dwyer re-raised all in, a move that was promptly called by Pantling. While it looked like Pantling was likely to win the hand, the river would bring him bad news, with the Eight of Clubs showing up as the last on the board. This gave O’Dwyer quads as well as the top prize of the tournament.
It was a remarkable end to six days of top level poker play at this year’s EPT Grand Final Monaco Main Event.