EPT Barcelona champ Mikalai Pobal (Photo: Neil Stoddart, PokerStars blog)
Unheralded Mikalai Pobal is the surprise winner of the Season 9 EPT Barcelona main event after he toppled high-stakes hero Ilari Sahamies heads-up today.
The young Belarussian, whose previous best live cash was €7,500, not only topped Sahamies one-on-one but outlasted a final table that included poker icon John Juanda to claim €1,007,550.
All told the final table took about 12 hours with both Sahamies and young Finn Joni Jouhkimainen looking to have a hold on the title before succumbing to Pobal.
A few cocktails and some sparkled hats even came into play, but neither eventually worked to the Finns' advantage.
Sahamies, complimenting his 4th-place finish in the Super High Roller earlier in the week, earned €629,700 for his runner-up finish.
Jouhkimainen took home €404,050 for third.
Jouhkimainen Rises, Juanda Sunk Early
Starting the day as the two short stacks, Jouhkimainen and Juanda had diametrically opposite days.
The acclaimed Juanda, who spoke to PokerListings on Day 5 about his love for EPT events and Macau cash games, was the very first player to bust at the final table.
Juanda got his 1.6-million chip stack in with a pair of fives against Samuel Rodriguez's A5 but got counterfeited by eights and sevens on the board for an early exit.
The 20-year-old Jouhkimainen on the other hand, who started as the smallest stack, went in the exact opposite direction.
A few early breaks and a huge double-up to bust Rodruguez in sixth rocketed him to the top of the chip counts by the time play was four-handed.
By three-handed play he had 75% of the chips and looked the favorite to win but he couldn't hold off Sahamies and Pobal, who whittled away his stack.
Jouhkimainen eventually busted to Pobal in third for his highest-ever live cash.
For a full recap of all the final table action, check the PokerStars blog.
Season 9 EPT Barcelona Final Table Results
1. Mikalai Pobal €1,007,550
2. Ilari Sahamies €629,700
3. Joni Jouhkimainen €404,050
4. Anaras Alekberovas €301,750
5. Samuel Rodriguez €230,900
6. Sinel Anton €178,400
7. Antonin Duda €125,950
8. John Juanda €76,100
Next stop on the European Poker Tour Season Nine is in San Remo October 5-11.
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