EPT Vilamoura title stays in Portugal

vilamoura champ

A 54-year-old Portuguese businessman ensured the PokerStars EPT Vilamoura title and its €404,793 first-place prize would stay at home Sunday.

Antonio Matias, who runs a travel agency, became the first player to win an EPT title on home soil since Team PokerStars Pro Sandra Naujoks did so in Dortmund, Germany last season.

"I like to think of myself as a citizen of the world, but it is very satisfying win an EPT in my home country," Matias said. "I wasn't intimidated by the competition because I play a lot of very good players in cash games. I just decided to play the way I play, and hope that luck didn't turn its back on me."

The €5,300 event drew 322 players, including 69 PokerStars qualifiers.

The €1,561,700 prize pool made EPT Vilamoura the richest poker tournament ever held in Portugal.

Matias beat 67-year- old retired Belgian businessman and PokerStars qualifier Pierre Neuville heads up to book the win. Neuville bubbled the final table at EPT San Remo last season.

Former chess prodigy Jeff Sarwer finished third, just a few short weeks after the Canadian's tenth-place finish at EPT Warsaw.

Matias is not a pro player, but said his sights were firmly set on keeping the title in Portugal.

"I play poker just for a hobby, but when I got the chip lead yesterday, at that point, the only thing I had on my mind was winning."

PokerStars appeared pleased with turnout and results on its first trip to Portugal.

"It's always exciting when the European Poker Tour visits a new destination and we have wanted to hold an EPT in Portugal for some time, so we are delighted that so many players took part including 63 players from Portugal," said EPT spokesperson Kirsty Thompson. "It's been a superb week of poker."

Next up for the PokerStars EPT is its annual stop in Prague in the Czech Republic from Dec. 1-6. Satellites are running now on PokerStars.

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