In the High Roller, the young PCA Main Event champion Dominik Panka from Poland topped the field of 115 entries to win the €272,000 first prize. Panka hadn’t had any live scores to speak up prior to winning $1.42 million in the Bahamas two-and-a-half weeks ago, but his strong play there coupled with last night’s win will ensure he’ll get a lot of attention moving forward on the EPT.
Meanwhile Eugene Katchalov came as close as he could get to winning the Main Event yesterday, finishing runner-up to Sotirios Koutoupas after slipping to short-stacked status with five left and then battling back. (That’s the trophy presentation happening at the left.)
Katchalov, of course, was going for poker’s “Triple Crown” (something I detailed a bit on the PokerStars blog during the afternoon), needing just the EPT win to go with a WPT title and WSOP bracelet. He’d come close before, finishing third at EPT8 Barcelona. When I talked to him after play ended yesterday he called the finish “bittersweet” but was in great spirits, clearly pleased with how well he managed to play the entire week.
Koutoupas was known on the EPT for having finished runner-up himself at EPT9 Prague, so it was a tough opponent Katchalov was facing heads-up. Koutoupas had a 3-to-1 chip lead to start heads-up play and never lost the advantage, thus securing the first ever EPT win for a Greek player.
Had a nice last dinner with Rick, Howard, and Neil, all terrific working alongside all week. Indeed, as I’ve said before, all of the band who travel throughout the EPT -- from the media to the staff, the EPT Live guys, and everyone else -- are not just good at what they do but helpful and kind, too, thus adding a lot to the experience of going on these journeys.
Being around the Englishmen all week I’ve once again picked up a few new phrases, including the one I’ve used in the title. When Rick mentioned earlier in the week that Zimnan Ziyard was second in chips to start Day 3 for the second year on the bounce at EPT Deauville, I knew what he meant from the context but had to admit it was a new one for me.
My flights on Sunday are due to carry me home just about an hour before the Super Bowl kicks off, so I’m hoping for some run good to get home in time. Wish me luck, and talk to you on the other side.