Sebastian Malec out-dueled Uri Reichenstein to win a record-breaking EPT Barcelona for €1.2m in one of the most memorable tournaments in the tour's 13-year history.
The Polish pro outlasted a gargantuan field of 1,785 players to secure his first-ever EPT title.
The final hand proved to be one of the most memorable in EPT history as Malec turned a flush with A♥ 3♥ against Reichenstein’s straight with T♥ 9♣.
Malec, who was very talkative throughout the heads-up match, pushed all-in on the river and Reichenstein, who appeared to be leaning towards folding, was eventually talked into calling. Malec guessed Reichenstein's exact holding.
Reichenstein received a €807,100 consolation prize for finishing runner-up.
Three Quick Eliminations Early
It ended up being a rather long final table but that’s not how things began with three quick eliminations early on.
Final table chip leader Uri Reichenstein
This is how the chips looked heading into the final table:
1. Uri Reichenstein, Germany, 11.3m
2. Thomas de Rooij, NL, 11.1m
3. Adam Owen, UK, 9.8m
4. Sebastian Malec, PL, 7.3m
5. Zorlu Er, Turkey, 7m
6. Andreas Chalkiadikis, Greece, 5m
7. Harcharan Dogra Dogra, Spain, 1m
It only took an hour until the eliminations began.
Local hero Dogra Dogra had been blinded down to six big blinds when he finally took a stand, when he was in the big blind and unfortunately only had 3-2o.
He lost to de Rooij’s A-4o when the Dutch paired his four on the river.
Twenty minutes later, Chalkiadakis moved in with K-Q and was called by Adam Owen with A-Q, and exactly another twenty minutes after that, Zorlu Er was outplayed by Uri Reichenstein.
Reichenstein had opened with T♦ 4♦ and Er called in the big blind with A♠ J♣. Reichenstein flopped a flush on an ace-high board A♦ K♦ 3♦.
Reichenstein barrelled both flop and turn and then put Er all-in on the river. The Turkish amateur couldn’t let go of his top pair and had to settle for fifth place.
Deal or No Deal
After Er’s elimination, a deal was discussed between the last four players, but they couldn’t come to an agreement on either the chip-chop or the ICM numbers.
The players took a quick break and then set out to play for another two hours before anything remarkable happened.
The 2016 EPT Barcelona final table.
Reichenstein found pocket kings, and Adam Owen called his raise with K-Q in the big blind. Malec also called with 9-8s. The flop came queen-high and with Malec out of the way Owen check-raised a bet from Reichenstein, who then proceeded to push all-in on the irrelevant turn card.
It was a massive overbet, and Owen fell for it. After that, Owen was left with less than ten big blinds,.
Owen managed to double through the other shortstack – Thomas de Rooij – and a few hands later, the Dutchman got even more unlucky, when his A-7 couldn’t beat Reichenstein’s J-3 for a double up.
The very next hand then proved to be the last one for Adam Owen. He moved in with Q-J when both his last opponents held A-8.
As Malec over-pushed with his big stack, Reichenstein decided to get out of the way, but although the German folded two cards that would have helped Malec, he didn’t really need them as Owen found no pair on the board.
The Long Goodbye
With more than 170 big blinds on the table, everything was set for a long heads-up match, and it was exactly that.
Even heads-up, no deal was agreed on, so the players were playing for the advertised numbers.
Sebastian Malec celebrates with friends.
Reichenstein and Malec battled it out for five grueling hours, although the level time had already gone down to 75 during four-handed play and later to 60 minutes during the heads-up.
There were two big turnarounds in the heads-up match, which Reichenstein had begun with a 3-2 lead. First, Reichenstein bluffed with queen-high into a pot when Malec had quads, which gave the Polish a commanding chiplead.
Only ten hands later, Reichenstein hit an inside straight draw on the river against Malec’s pair.
Reichenstein pushed all-in, and Malec talked himself into a call to give the German a huge double-up.
Eventually, however, Malec’s boisterous nature benefited him in the final hand of the tournament as the Polish pro talked Reichenstein into calling with the aforementioned dominated straight.
Here’s a complete look at the final table payouts:
- 1. Sebastian Malec — €1,122,800
- 2. Uri Reichenstein — €807,100
- 3. Adam Owen — €646,250
- 4. Thomas De Rooij — €535,100
- 5. Zorlu Er — €431,550
- 6. Andreas Chalkiadakis — €330,290
- 7. Harcharan Dogra Dogra — €230,950
- 8. Pavel Plesuv — €165,950