Unlike each of the preliminary days at the Grosvenor Victoria Casino here in London, the players who began the day atop the chip charts finished out in the top two positions. Florian Langmann of Germany and our champion, Mouawad, came into the day in first and second position on the leaderboard, respectively, and after six contestants had hit the rail these two went heads-up for the whole enchilada.
To make it down to two though, a long and winding road had first to be traversed, with more and more of our final-table contestants slipping off the precipice as the afternoon wore on. The first to go was Ian Cox, one of the two Englishmen still in the running.
Cox, a sports bettor turned poker player, came into the day second-last in chips and watched as his stack shrank even further before deciding to make one last stand. With $112,000 in front of him, with blinds of $8,000/$16,000, it was folded to him on the button. He looked down at K-7 and moved in, in what we can only assume was an attempt to take down the blinds and antes.
Perhaps putting his opponent on just that, a blind-steal, big stack Florian Langmann looked him up from the small blind with a frighteningly weak K-3. The cards fell in Florian's favor though, and a trey hit the felt on the flop. Neither the turn nor the river was able to extricate Cox from his predicament and he was the first one forced to leave the final-table area. To soothe his pain he was awarded £57,075 for his trouble.
While the local crowd had its hopes for a fourth English champion pinned on the last remaining native, Paul Mendes, they were not kept in suspense for long as he was the second player of the afternoon to find nothing but empty felt in front of himself. Unlike his countryman, Cox, Mendes got all-in bad against Antony Lellouche and after the best hand held up, England's answer to Kenna James was forced to hit the dusty old trail. Mendes was out in seventh with £77,459 to stash in his saddlebags.
Not long after, we saw two likely candidates emerge for our next elimination. The first was France's Antony Lellouche, who had been playing brilliantly up to this point but decided to get fancy and lost a substantial portion of his stack as a result.
It began with the action being folded around to Lellouche on the button who made it $100,000 to go, with blinds of $15,000/$30,000. Fredrik Haugen, in the small blind, proceeded to move all-in and after Josh Egan got out of the way in the big blind, Lellouche was faced with about $120,000 more to call. Perhaps feeling priced into the hand, Lellouche paid the difference and tabled 5♥ 6♥ which was in terrible shape against Haugen's pocket fives. The board changed nothing and the pot was pushed to Haugen.
Shortly after, the second potential eliminatee surfaced as Florian Langmann took some serious damage, losing what was certainly the biggest pot of the tournament so far.
Joseph Mouawad and Langmann were near even in chips, with about $1.1 million and $1.3 million respectively, and with the other four remaining players relatively short-stacked, they should have been doing their best to steer clear of one another. Contrary to this wisdom they had a massive clash that resulted in Mouawad being catapulted to the top of the leaderboard and Langmann being left as the shortest of the short stacks.
It started with Langmann making an opening raise from middle position and the action folding to Mouawad in the big blind. He came over the top and put the decision back on Langmann. After only a few moments Florian moved all-in. Making a surprisingly quick decision, considering the number of chips he was putting at risk, Mouawad made the call.
It turned out to be a race between Langmann's pocket fours and Mouawad's A♠ K♥. The flop brought an ace and Langmann was unable to re-draw. With that pot Mouawad was up to over $2.4 million and Langmann was down to just $160,000.
As the stacks of Florian Langmann and Antony Lellouche were both sitting dangerously close to the felt at this point, it seemed likely one of them would be next on the list of the eliminated. This was the case not long after, when Lellouche was crippled after trying to make a big pre-flop move, going bust a few hands later.
Germany's Marcel Baran opened the pot to $80,000, with blinds still at $15K/$30K, and it was folded to Lellouche who pushed in for $325,000. Baran took his time coming to a decision and in the end opted to make the call, turning over pocket eights.
By the look on Lellouche's face it was obvious he was embarrassed to show down his hand but in accordance with the rules of the game he laid 7-3 off-suit down on the felt. No bad beats were in the cards and Lellouche was left with just $23,000, less than one big blind. Eliminated shortly after, Antony Lellouche took £97,843 with him for his trouble.
Florian Langmann, still on the short stack, managed to chip up quickly, tripling-up through Joseph Mouawad and Marcel Baran when his pocket fours held up in a three-way all-in. With that hand he was back up around average and out of the danger zone.
Fredrik Haugen was the next busticatee, leaving the number of survivors at just four. Last year's Caribbean Poker Classic champion got all-in good with A♠ J♣ against the Q♦ T♥ of the recently rehabilitated Langmann but, unfortunately for him, the best hand did not retain its value as the board brought not one ten but two. Haugen was out in fifth for £124,342.
Josh Egan, who had remained relatively quiet at this final table, managing to move up a few pay spots in the process, decided it was time to get his chips in the middle and after moving all-in a few times, ran into a monster from Florian Langmann. Egan shipped it and when it got to Langmann he took one quick look at his cards before snap-calling and turning over pocket aces. K♣ J♦ for Egan was unable to improve and he was out in fourth for £152,880.
Going forward it was Joseph Mouawad in the lead, followed closely by Florian Langmann and Germany's Marcel Baran well behind with only a few chips to work with. Only a short time into three-handed play Baran was left by the wayside, another victim of the growing stack of Langmann.
While the eliminations had been coming at regular intervals up until this point, when we reached heads-up play the pace geared down. Langmann and Mouawad began the match near even in chips, with a slight edge in favor of the latter, and as the action progressed Mouawad was able to extend his lead significantly through aggressive play and solid reads. Going into the final hand he had a significant chip advantage.
Mouawad called from the button and Langmann raised to $110,000 from the big blind, with blinds of $25,000/$50,000. The flop came Q♦ 9♦ 6♥ and Langmann led out for $150,000. Mouawad quickly moved all-in and after a bit of thought Langmann made the call. Mouawad was in front with Q♣ 3♣ for top pair and Langmann needed help with 8♥ 9♠. The turn and river bricked and just like that Joseph Mouawad was champion.
Florian Langmann takes £346,528 for his runner-up finish while Lebanon's Joseph Mouawad takes £611,520 and the title of EPT4 London champion. In the official EPT interview Mouawad was asked whether he felt magnificent after his victory. In his own words, "I feel very much magnificent."
While Mouawad is a man of few words and apparently not one given to public displays of jubilation, his satisfaction after taking down the title was certainly evident, and while this final table was not as chock-full of big names as some of its predecessors, it turned out to be just as entertaining.
And so another tournament is in the books written and kept on public display by PokerListings.com. We hope you enjoy reading them as much as we enjoy recording them. Our next stop on the EPT is in Baden, Austria, where we'll see many of the same faces return for another crack at that most elusive of prey, the EPT title. If you can find a free moment in your hectic schedule I strongly suggest you check in with us then.