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Giuliano Bendinelli Wins Biggest PokerStars EPT Barcelona of All Times

Giuliano Bendinelli Wins Biggest PokerStars EPT Barcelona of All Times

For the first time in three years, the PokerStars European Poker Tour (EPT) was held in Barcelona and the main event of this tournament was the biggest ever. After six days, Italy's Giuliano Bendinelli prevailed after an impressive rally in the final to win the title, as well as nearly €1.5 million.

Key Facts EPT Barcelona

Giuliano Bendinelli
  • Date: August 14 - 21, 2022
  • Place: Casino Barcelona
  • Players: 2,294 entries
  • Buy-In: €4,850 + €450
  • Prize Pool: €11,125,900
  • Winner: Giuliano Bendinelli (€1,491,133)

After the first two starting days and a short late registration period for the start of the second day of play in the EPT Barcelona Main Event, it was clear that this tournament was going to break all records. With 2,294 entries, it was the largest field of players ever, well ahead of the previous record holder, the 2019 European Poker Tour Barcelona with 1,988 entries.

More than €11.1 million was played for, and both the winner and runner-up would take home seven-figure prizes. Numerous big-name players made it into the money ranks, with the top 328 players ultimately paid. Scott Margereson (8th place), Jack Salter (15th), Gaelle Baumann (26th), Maria Lampropulos (36th), Noah Boeken (42nd), defending champion Simon Brandstrom (53rd), Jack Sinclair (78th), Chino Rheem (93rd) and Benjamin Pollak (96th) all made it into the top 100.

2022 EPT Barcelona Finalists
2022 EPT Barcelona Finalists

Chip and Chair for Bendinelli

The most remarkable story of the tournament was written by the Italian Giuliano Bendinelli. He already managed to win the €1,100 Monaco Cup nine years ago at the EPT Monte Carlo and was no stranger to the poker scene. But the really big throw was denied to him until now.

Bendinelli entered the final table with 10.7 million chips in position 4 of 6 in the count. At the very beginning of the final table, however, he lost almost all of his chips in one hand. This started with Jimmy Guerrero raising from first position with A-K to 2 big blinds. Bendinelli then moved all in from the button with A-Q for 12 big blinds. Guerrero called and was in the lead with the better ace. The board brought no help for the Italian and after losing the all-in he was left with just 478,000 chips - barely more than the amount of a big blind at this point. What followed was to be a repeat of the famous chip-and-chair story.

Giuliano Bendinelli Catches Up

Two hands later, Bendinelli more than tripled up with A-4 when he was all-in against 6-5 and Q-5 and won the hand. Just a little later, the Italian shoved all-in with K-8 from early position for 3.5 big blind and was called by Kayhan Moki with A-J. Mokri had the better hand, but Bendinelli hit two kings on the board to double up his chips. This gave him a stack to work with again. A few orbits later, Bendinelli won his next all-in, this time with K-Q against K-J and suddenly he had 30 big blinds and was second in the chip count with only four players left in the tournament.

After that, Bendinelli single-handedly eliminated the Brazilians Fabiano Kovalsi and Neville Costa in 4th and 3rd place, respectively, and was the chip leader in heads-up against Frenchman Jimmy Guerrero. Before that heads-up began, the two players agreed on a deal that distributed most of the prize money according to their chip counts. The title and around 70,000 euros in prize money were still played for afterward.

Heads-Up in Barcelona

6-Outer and Quads against Full House to End the Tournament

In the heads-up duel, Jimmy Guerrero was able to take the lead for a while and briefly had more than three times as many chips as Bendinelli, but Fortuna stayed with the Italian. On a T-8-6 flop, Bendinelli placed a bet with 9-9 and Guerrero shoved all in with Q-T. Bendinelli called and was at a distinct disadvantage with a worse pair, having only six outs. But a 7 fell on the river, giving him a straight. He doubled his stack and a little while later Bendinelli took the lead again.

The game went back and forth for a while before the final hand when Giuliano Bendinelli raised to 2.5 big blinds with 8 8 and Jimmy Guerrero defended his big blind with J 7 . The flop gave both players something: J 9 8 - top pair against a set. Bendinelli bet 2 big blinds after a check and Guerrero called. After the J arrived on the turn, Guerrero now had trips and Bendinelli a full house. The Italian bet 4.5 big blinds and again Guerrero just called. The river came brought the 8 - quads for Bendinelli and a full house for Guerrero. Now the Frenchman bet 3 big blinds and Bendinelli moved all in for around 15 big blinds. Guerrero called and that was the end of this remarkable hand and the tournament.

Giuliano Bendinelli won the tournament in spectacular fashion and became the third Italian EPT Champion after Salvatore Bonavena and Antonio Buonanno. In an interview after the victory, Bendinelli told Pokernews, "I can't believe it. This is the best day of my life. I am speechless. I'm proud of how I played, but I needed luck, like in the last hand with quads against a full house."

Bendinelli won nearly 1.5 million euros. His French opponent Jimmy Guerrero took home 1.25 million euros - also an outstanding result.

Final Result Main Event EPT Barcelona 2022

PlacePlayerCountryPrize Money
1Giuliano BendinelliItaly€1,491,133 (Deal)
2Jimmy GuerreroFrance€1,250,337 (Deal)
3Neville CostaBrazil€734,470
4Fabiano KovalskiBrazil€565,280
5Patrik JarosCzech Republic€434,850
6Kayhan MokriNorway€334,480
7Michael PintoNetherlands€257,330
8Scott MargeresonUnited Kingdom€198,000

Images courtesy of PokerNews.com & Danny Maxwell

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