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Schleich Tops Kostic, Katchalov for EPT Barca Title
After an epic 13-hour final table and an intense three-handed battle with Eugene Katchalov and Dragan Kostic, German Martin Schleich is the 2011 EPT Barcelona Champion.
A 29-year-old part-time customer service rep from Munich who began his online poker career in 2006 but had just three live cashes on record, Schleich earned €850,000 for his first-place finish - by far his largest cash to date.
Not only does Schleich get to enjoy the spoils of his first major cash and an EPT title, he can also take credit for finally busting the player that seemed destined to win, Team PokerStars Pro Eugene Katchalov.
Katchalov started the final table as the short stack but after avoiding elimination and doubling up early on, the feared pro doubled-up again in back-to-back hands about three hours into play to jump right back into contention.
By the dinner break an hour later, Katchalov was the chip leader and the heavy favorite to take home his first EPT title and earn himself the poker triple crown of a win on the WPT, EPT and at the WSOP.
It wasn’t meant to be though.
After Saar Wilf, Tomeu Gomila and Raul Mestre went out in relatively short succession, Katchalov, Spaniard Dragan Kostic and Schleich settled into an epic four-and-a-half hour, three-handed see-saw battle that finally ended when Katchalov’s 77 failed to catch up to Schleich’s pair of nines.
From there it was a short path to victory for Schleich as he ran his 2-1 chip lead into an even bigger lead before finishing off Kostic in about 40 minutes of heads-up play.
Kostic takes home €532,000 for his runner-up finish and Katchalov €315,000 for third.
The rest of the final-table finishers and their payouts:
1. Martin Schleich €850,000
2. Dragan Kostic €532,000
3. Eugene Katchalov €315,000
4. Raul Mestre €244,000
5. Tomeu Gomila €185,000
6. Saar Wilf €145,000
7. Juan Manuel Perez €105,000
8. Isabel Baltazar €73,000
Next stop on EPT Season 8 is in London from Sept 30-Oct. 6.