The final day of the €100k Super High Roller at the 2015 PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino EPT Grand Final was, as expected, a star-studded affair,
WCOOP main event winner Fedor Holz, EPT Malta phenomenon Dzmitry Urbanovich, EPT high roller winners Thomas Mühlöcker, Max Altergott and Igor Kurganov, PCA Super high roller winner Scott Seiver and Italian ace Dario Sammartino were all a part of it.
By the time the dust settled, however, it was American poker legend Erik Seidel, with over $22m in career tournament winnings, who stood alone above the fray.
The American pro bested the top quality final table with four hours of heads-up play necessary to overcome the new Polish star Urbanovich.
"It was one of the best comebacks of my career," Seidel said satisfyingly after the end of the heads-up, as he waited to cash in his €2m win.
Sammartino Man to Catch
The elite field heading into the final day were all trailing chipleader Dario Sammartino, a member of the victorious Team Italy at the Global Poker Masters.
Sammartino would make his biggest tournament cash regardless of where he finished.
The shortest stack belonged to Seiver, who also was the first player to leave the table after his J♠ 3♠ fell to Fedor Holz’ A♦ J♥.
Holz, the winner of the last WCOOP main event, was next to go however - though it took over four hours until his downfall with K♠ J♥ to Kurganov’s A♥ 9♦.
That’s when Urbanovich sprang into action. Moving in with 6♥ 3♥ he was called by Mühlöcker with A-Jo, hit a three and eliminated the Austrian.
In the next 3 hours Urbanovich went from last to first before eventually knocking out Kurganov with tens against A-Q on an A-x-x-T board.
Five hands later the Polish phenom called all-in with AdQd against the A-K of Sammartino and hit runner-runner flush to eliminate the Italian.
The top three became the top two only two hands later after Seidel tried to push Altergott out of a pot with Q-5. The German snap-called with pocket eights but Seidel hit the queen and ended Altergott’s dream of another high roller title.
"That’s just the nature of poker," Altergott said afterwards. “I had 12 big blinds left when we were five players and still came third which is great.
"But I also had the chance to make another pay jump of €500,000, which is huge. I’m happy with some of the plays I made, but this is a €100k tournament so of course other players will make good plays against you, too.
"All in all, I’m still happy with the result.” Altergott's take for third was just over €940,000.
Four Hours Heads-Up
With a 3-1 chiplead Urbanovich began heads-up play with a strong advantage.
But Seidel doesn’t have a history as an expert in high buy-in tournaments for nothing. It took him exactly two hours before he took the lead for the first time.
He wouldn’t give it up again, but it took him another two hours until Urbanovich finally had to give in and settle for second.
It was a textbook example of heads-up play with numerous bluff raises and hero calls. In hand 217, for example, Seidel called a river bet with jack high and was correct.
Seidel had continuously grinded his stack up from a deep deficit to the last hand, when Urbanovich limp-shoved pre-flop with K-9 and Seidel called with the eventually victorious pocket tens.
PokerStars commentator Joe Stapleton asked the winner during the winning ceremony. He answered: “I still love the competition. Poker is still the greatest game for me.”
With his win Seidel moved up to third place in the all-time money list behind Daniel Negreanu and Antonio Esfandiari.
Official Final-Table Results and Payouts:
1. Erik Seidel, €2,015,000
2. Dzimtry Urbanovich, €1,446,600
3. Max Altergott, €940,300
4. Dario Sammartino, €709,500
5. Igor Kurganov, €551,000
6. Thomas Mühlöcker, €427,100
7. Fedor Holz, €337,500
8. Scott Seiver, €261,800
9. Vladimir Troyanovsky, €199,620
Watch a full replay of the final table right here.