Not all EPTs are created equal. Every player who’s been on the tour for some time will tell you this. Some stops tend to attract more rich, recreational players looking to have good time. Others, like London, usually turn into shark-infested waters where one must match their mind against the best in the world to stay on the surface.
The London stop of the European Poker Tour certainly belongs in the latter category, as it traditionally attracts the crème de la crème, as the French would put it. And this is the field in which a relatively unknown German named Sebastian Pauli claimed his first EPT title.
Generating a £2,619,000 prize pool
Over the course of two starting days and a late registration reaching into the start of Day 2, EPT11 London attracted a total of 675 players, generating a prize pool of £2,619,000. A total of 95 players were set to make the money, and £499,700 was reserved for the winner. This meant that, apart from the prestigious title, players would have plenty to battle for.
Hanging in there
There was a long way to go from surviving the first day to making the final table of eight. For anybody with such intentions, matters were further complicated that the same dreams were in the minds of pros such as first two-time EPT champion Victoria Coren, Jake Cody, Benny Spindler, Johnny Lodden, Ryan Spittles and countless more professionals with years of poker experience under their belts.
Pauli is by no means a poker slouch, but in a competition such as this, no one would really feel comfortable. Still, the German remained calm and unfazed until the last river card was dealt. Only then would he let his emotions take over.
Final two tables
The penultimate day of EPT11 London started with two tables of eight. In this field of sixteen, three players were looking for a double-title – Jake Cody, Kevin MacPhee and Benny Spindler. It was hard to root against any of these three, as having a final table with three double-pretenders would be a joy for everyone – poker fans and media alike!
The champs held well, proving once again that their success did not come by luck or accident, but we would lose one just as the final table was looming. Benny Spindler successfully battled his way out of the short stack he started the day with, only to be dispatched in 9th in an unavoidable cooler hand.
Still, two former EPT winners returned on the next day to play, and chances were not against them coming out on top. However, the quiet Pauli was the one holding about a 3:1 chip lead over his nearest competitor and, as it would turn out, he would never give it up.
As for the champion, MacPhee and Cody actually got involved in a hand that would mark the destiny for one of them. Jake got it in good on the flop of #jh#kc#ks holding #kd#10d, but #qh on the turn actually filled up MacPhee’s #qs#qc and only one pretender for the double title was left.
Kevin MacPhee actually made it all the way to the heads-up, but the German was clearly determined to write his own history and not be influenced by the dreams of the masses.
Pauli was helped by a great run of cards as well, and things generally fell in place for him. When the two finally saw the last river card, the calm and composed Pauli let go of his emotions, bursting into tears of joy. The German had won his first EPT title and £499,700. MacPhee, who was denied an epic second title, will have to be satisfied with £308,500 this time – not quite the same as the double title, but it will ease some of the pain!
Final Standings of the EPT11 London Main Event
- Sebastian Pauli, Germany, £499,700
- Kevin MacPhee, United States, £308,500
- Kevin Killeen, Ireland, £220,500
- Artur Koren, Germany, £168,900
- Jake Cody, UK, £133,800
- Jakub Mroczek, Poland, £104,200
- Jonathan Bensadoun, France, £75,900
- Pablo Gordillo, Spain, £51,900