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Vamos! Rodrigo Espinosa Wins UKIPT Marbella

Don’t think the way you finish a live poker tournament is most important; it’s also important to have a solid start and the latest United Kingdom and Ireland Poker Tour stop showed us that.

Spaniard Rodrigo Espinosa started the final day of the UKIPT Marbella Main Event second in chips and an early pot against the most experienced player at the table secured him the lead. And from that point on, he never looked back, finishing off his opposition in style.

Espinosa set things off at the official final table by eliminating live tournament expert Jake Cody. Cody is one of the five players who have won a World Series of Poker bracelet, a World Poker Tour title, and a European Poker Tour title, and was looking for yet another Triple Crown. He already prevailed in a UKIPT High Roller and UKIPT Series and only needed a Main Event win to make history. But it wasn’t meant to be in Marbella.

For his eighth place finish, Cody collected a not so impressive €13,030 cash prize compared to his all-around live earnings of over $3.7 million.

The seventh spot was reserved for a 22-year-old Polish player who started playing poker at the age of 18. Marcin Barwinski decided to gamble with his #qc#jd when Gareth Hamilton shoved his stack from the small blind. His opponent was in better shape with #as#jh to send the Pole home with an extra €19,050 in his pockets.

Daniel Rodriguez was next, going all-in with #8s#8d. Christian Bauer snap-called him with #qc#qd and increased his stack to over three million chips. The €26,550 Rodriguez won for his UKIPT Marbella run will be put to good use as he plans to play the WSOP $10,000 Main Event.

Espinosa KOd the next victim and increased his chip lead even further. By eliminating Hamilton in fifth place for €35,150, the Spaniard accumulated over half of the chips in play, getting ready for the big showdown.

And with co-national Javier Elorza being eliminated in fourth for €44,450, the moment finally came. No, it was not a heads-up pot that did the trick; actually, it was a three-handed play. Katja Svendsen was hoping to make history and become the first lady to win either a UKIPT or Estrellas Main Event. Unfortunately for her, it didn’t happen. She moved all-in on a #9d#10s#3d board with #6d#8d being at risk against Espinosa’s #kh#kd. The turn and river bricked and Svendsen had to settle with a third-place finish plus a €58,700 cash prize.

The heads-up was short-lived and lasted only five hands. Bauer decided to call for his tournament life with top pair on the #9s#ks#6h flop and was in very good shape against his opponent’s #9h#7s. The #7c turn instead delivered a deadly blow for Bauer that left him without any more ammo. So he had to admit defeat and leave the battle zone without the trophy but with a decent €82,900 prize.

The winner, Rodrigo Espinosa, left Marbella as champion and also as the only player in the field with a six-figure cash: €136,000.

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Florian Gheorghe