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Lebanon vs. Germany: Mouawad Reigns Supreme at EPT London
As is the case at all PokerStars.com European Poker Tour final tables, a wide array of countries is represented, each with its own section of fans pulling for their home-country heroes. Here in London it was no different. The UK, Germany, France, Sweden, New Zealand and Lebanon all had players in the running and since this stop on the tour had been won in all three previous years by the U.K., the locals had extra reason to pull for Ian Cox and Paul Mendes, the last two remaining Englishmen.
In the end though, it came down to Florian Langmann of Germany and Joseph Mouawad of Lebanon going heads-up for the title. As the match progressed the advantage seemed to lie on Mouawad's side of the felt as he extended his chip lead before getting Langmann all-in behind on the final hand of the tournament.
The best hand held up and Joseph Mouawad was champion. After the photos had been snapped and the official film interviews conducted, PL.com and a few other outlets had a little press conference of our own in order to get Mouawad's side of the story.
Congratulations Joseph, how do you feel after defeating your heads-up opponent and taking down this title?
Well, I didn't expect it at all but it was a lot of fun. I went against a very good group of players and I'm very happy I won.
You were the one to knock out Daniel Negreanu a few days ago. Did you think at that point you might go on to win the whole tournament?
I never thought I would end up winning. But I did.
How did you learn to play poker?
Back home. At first just among friends and then they started organizing tournaments at the casinos. There are a lot of players in Lebanon and it's becoming very popular.
When it was still six-handed you and Florian Langmann were very close in chips and that big hand came up where you ended up all-in with A-K to his pocket fours. Give us your thoughts on how that hand played out.
Well, on the break he was very upset that I made the call. He asked me how I could call with A-K and I asked him how he could move all-in with pocket fours!
Was there any specific information you were relying on to make that call?
No, you know, I had an A-K and I thought what the hell. It's a good hand. I just played my intuition. The last hand was also intuition. I had top pair of queens and I thought it was the best hand.
It seemed like you were playing a pretty solid game so do you find you rely on intuition a lot or is your game more based in math and strategy?
I know the rules of the game and I try to play position as much as possible. I try to play good hands only and stay away from trouble hands. But sometimes you have to go with your intuition.
You had a big chip lead after doubling through Florian on that hand we talked about but he managed to pull pretty even going into heads-up. How did you feel facing him with even stacks?
Well, I think he is more experienced than me. He has played in more tournaments I think. But I played my game. I tried to play my game and I thought if it happens it happens.
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PL.com also had a chance to speak with this event's runner-up, Florian Langmann. We were first treated to a demonstration of Langmann's play last season in Dortmund where he cashed in 37th place. Langmann also plays regularly on PokerStars under the name Morgoth. For his runner-up finish here he took down a whopping £346,528, by far his biggest cash to date.
After the dust had cleared and the throngs of rowdy poker hooligans dispersed, PL.com sat down with Langmann to talk about the tournament.
It was a long road to get to this final table. Tell us about how you found the field, your table draws and give us your thoughts on strategy in the early stages of these big buy-in events.
My first table was quite tough. There were some pros and a few famous Scandinavian players. I was moved to another table after only a few hours and it was nice because one of my good friends, Sebastian Ruthenberg, was there. It was a good table because most of the players were quite passive and I got some chips there. I was up to about $40,000 and went up and down a lot. I finished the day with about $20,000 which was disappointing because I lost a lot of chips late in the day.
I play a pretty tight game early in tournaments. Selective aggression I would call it. Sometimes I re-raise in position if I think it's a good situation but I don't gamble in the beginning stages.
Once you got to the final table you had the chip lead and then there was that big hand against Joseph Mouawad where he doubled up with A-K against your pocket fours. Mouawad said you were a bit upset that he made the call. Give us your thoughts on how that hand played out.
At the time there were six players left and four of them were short-stacked. I was the chip leader with $1.3 million and he had about $1.1 million so normally he shouldn't get involved with me. I raised a bit more than usual so if one of the short stacks went all-in I would have to call and I [knew] Mouawad has to fold almost everything there.
He raised me though. Mouawad had been playing really tight but about one orbit before that hand he started messing around a bit and playing a bit more aggressively so I thought he might be making a move on me. I moved in and I had him covered and I thought he couldn't call me with anything but aces or kings, maybe queens. But he called me with A-K and I think that's just bad poker. He is a bit inexperienced and I think he looked at A-K as a big hand that he couldn't fold.
When I was talking to Mouawad he did say he felt you were more experienced. Given that he hasn't played seriously for long, how do you think he handled himself at the final table?
He was definitely not the worst player at the table. He played solid, a little too tight I think, but when we got to heads-up he gave me a lot of trouble. He played way better than he had been, he got very aggressive. He overbetted the pot a lot and I didn't want to gamble at that point because I did think I was the better player and I would be able to outplay him. So because he was very aggressive I had a really hard time playing against him.
We've seen you at big buy-in tournaments in the past but now that you've had this success will you be playing more stops on the tour?
I was planning to play more EPT events anyway but now that I have this money I will probably play all of them. I don't know if I'll move up to higher [buy-in] games online, we'll see.
Thanks Florian and congratulations.
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While Langmann was certainly the more experienced of the two finalists, a combination of the right cards and ramped-up aggression swung the match clearly in favor of Joseph Mouawad. PL.com would like to congratulate both Mouawad and Langmann as well as everyone else who managed to cash in this year's EPT London main event.
The next stop on the tour takes us to Baden, Austria, where PokerListings.com will be bringing the heat as usual. As always we strongly urge you to join is for all the action, as it happens.
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