6 Mins Read
With a buy-in of €50,000, the Single Day High Roller was the second-most expensive tournament at the ongoing 2018 European Poker Tour (EPT) Barcelona. Commanding a decisive lead over a field of 69 entries, French player Benjamin Pollak (cover image) took down the event to walk away with the first place payday of €979,000 (~$1,140,215).
Fresh off his fifth place finish in the €100,000 Super High Roller where he pocketed €445,300, Pollak stood out and began dominating the field just when the play was down to the final three tables. He tripled up with pocket aces in a hand and then went on to eliminate four players in a row before scoring a double knockout to burst the money bubble. In heads-up play, he defeated fellow countryman Jean-Noel Thorel to claim the title and the Spadie trophy.
“You know, there is usually a key moment in a tournament and as of 20 left, everything went my way and the stack kept getting bigger,”the accomplished poker pro said, talking about his victory. He admitted that he had “never been on such a run before.” This is Pollak’s second best performance in a live tournament. In 2017, he had scored a third place finish in the $10,000 NLHE Main Event Championship for a career-best $3,500,000.
The event attracted some of the biggest names and high roller regulars making for a total 69 entries. Since the event allowed one re-entry, several players fired a second bullet with 15 re-entries in total that helped create a €3,347,190 prize pool.
Only the top nine spots made the money. EPT €100,000 Super High Roller winner Mikita Badziakouski entered twice but couldn’t run up a stack the second time either. Thorel was also eliminated the first time he entered, but managed to survive through his second entry that eventually resulted in a runner-up finish.
Among the notables who busted empty-handed were Stephen Chidwick, David Peters, Chi Zhang, Stefan Schillhabel, Dietrich Fast, Ahadpur Khangah, Nick Petrangelo, Bill Perkins and Orpen Kisacikoglu.
The action kept the pulses racing as the field whittled down to the last thee tables. Alex Foxen sent Ramin Hajiyev and Sam Greenwood to the rail to take over the chip lead while Thorel chipped up as well after eliminating Adrian Mateos and Byron Kaverman in a three-way all in showdown with his ace-queen suited dominating Mateos’ ace-seven suited and Kaverman’s king-queen.
Pollak then tripled up with pocket aces from the big blind and sent Sergio Aido, Luc Greenwood, Cary Katz and Ivan Leow packing in quick succession. There was no hand-for-hand play required on the money bubble, as Pollak eliminated Linus Loeliger and Stanley Choi in a three-way all in showdown to burst the money bubble.
Final Table Recap
On the final table, Matthias Elbinger and Jan-Eric Schwippert were the first players to depart in the ninth and eighth place respectively.
Jack Salter then ran his ace-king into the pocket aces of Foxen to bounce out in seventh place.
Subsequently, Foxen raised to 85,000 and Seth Davis defended the big blind to see a flop of . Davis checked and Foxen bet 105,000 on which Davies check-raised to 210,000. Foxen then moved all in and Davies made the call. He tabled against Foxen’s . The turn and the river brought no help for Davies and he exited in sixth place.
Belarusian pro Mikalai Vaskaboinikau then doubled up in one hand, only to be busted out in the next, where he 3-bet all in when facing a raise of 85,000 from Pollak, who then snap-called. Vaskaboinikau tabled vs. Pollak’s . The board didn’t favor Vaskaboinikau who headed for the rail in fifth place.
Ryan Reiss’s run ended in fourth place when he moved all-in and was called off by big blind Thorel. Reiss’s were superior to Thorel’s and the flop was no threat for him either, but the turn changed the dynamics of the hand as Thorel improved to a full house and maintained his lead on the river.
After sending many of his opponents to the rail, Alex Foxen clashed with Pollak. The latter led out for 130,000 from the button and Foxen 3-bet all in with 960,000 from the big blind. Pollak instantly called, putting Foxen at risk. Both players tabled their cards and Pollak’s were dominating Foxen’s . The board fell eliminating Foxen in third place.
The heads-up play began with Jean-Noel Thorel and Pollak nearly even in chips but soon Pollak took control and it wasn’t long before the final hand was played. Thorel had chipped down to just 565,000 and moved all in with . Pollak checked his cards and made the call with . Pollack’s nine kicker helped him claim victory even as the flop followed by the turn and the river drowned Thorel’s hopes. Thorel had to settle for the runner-up place while Pollak took the title as both Frenchmen stood up and shook hands to congratulate each other.
Final Table Results (Euro)
1. Benjamin Pollak – €979,000
2. Jean-Noel Thorel – €703,000
3. Alex Foxen – €456,900
4. Ryan Riess – €344,700
5. Mikalai Vaskaboinikau – €267,800
6. Seth Davies – €207,500
7. Jack Salter – €164,000
8. Jan-Eric Schwippert – €127,200
9. Matthias Eibinger – €97,090
Keep following all the latest updates from EPT Barcelona right here on PokerGuru!