Brandstrom Wins Largest EPT Barcelona Main Event

Brandstrom Wins Largest EPT Barcelona Main Event

When the PokerStars European Poker Tour (EPT) first hosted a series in Barcelona, Spain in 2004, there were 229 players in the Main Event. A Swede named Alexander Stevic won it for €80K.

This year, there were 1,988 entries in the EPT Barcelona Main Event, and winner Simon Brandstrom walked away with more than €1.29 million for his victory.

This year’s Main Event became the largest in more than a decade of EPT Barcelona action. Last year’s Main Event set a record with 1,931 entries, but that record was broken yet again this year.

The entire festival at Casino Barcelona this year offered 51 tournaments from August 20 to September 1. There were numerous highlights, but none as memorable as the Main Event.

Setting a New Record

Players ponied up a €5,300 buy-in to participate in the EPT Barcelona Main Event, which kicked off on August 26. Single reentries were permitted.

Day 1A brought in 726 entries in total, including 58 reentries. When play ended, only 247 players retained chips and bagged them for the next playing day. Day 1B added another 1,234 entries, though only 508 of them made it through to the next day.

On Wednesday, August 28, there were 755 returning players plus some who reentered at the start of the day. The final numbers came in as follows:

–Entries:  1,988 entries (1,489 individual players)

–Prize pool:  €9,641,800

–Paid players:  296

–First-place prize:  €1,659,000

Day 2 played down into the money, and more than 100 players cashed in the event before the night ended with 191 contenders still holding chips. Of them, Simon Mattsson had the chip lead with 1,191,000 chips, followed by Alexis Ibarrola, and Simon Brandstrom was in the middle of the pack with 509K chips.

Making the Final Table

Day 3 of the Main Event whittled the field down to just 48 players. Through the process, everything changed. Mattsson lost ground and finished as one of the short stacks, while Brandstrom soared into fourth chip position. But Pasquale Braco was the chip leader with 2.8 million, followed by Shannon Shorr holding 2,515,000.

Some of the players who fell on Day 4 were Timothy Adams, Simon Mattsson, and Isaac Haxton. Of the 16 who made it through, Brandstrom was back on the lower end of the leaderboard, Braco in fifth place, and Rui Sousa in the lead with 6.98 million.

On Day 5, these were some of the casualties:

–Shannon Shorr in 15th place (€81,130)

–Pasquale Braco in 8th place (€159,580)

–Johan Storakers in 7th place (€226,490)

Brandstrom went into the final six as the chip leader with 18.5 million after having eliminated Storakers in the final hand of the night. Marton Czuczor was in second with 14.45 million chips, and Rui Sousa secured third place with 9.1 million after eliminating the eighth and ninth place finishers in a single hand. The rest of the final table, in chip order, was comprised of Diego Falcone, Yunye Lu, and Giovani Torre.

Creating an EPT Champion

On the final day of action, Lu moved all-in on the very first hand with K-J on a J-6-5 flop, but Czuczor called with A-2 of clubs with two clubs on the board. The river brought another club, eliminating Lu in sixth place.

Very soon after, Torre moved all-in with K-J, but Czuczor called with A-K, which found top pair on the board and ousted Torre in fifth.

Falcone had lost some chips to Sousa and pushed the remainder of them all-in with A-Q. Czuczor called with pocket eights, which only improved with another eight on the turn. Falcone departed in fourth place.

The final three paused the action to discuss a possible chop, but there was no agreement, so play continued. Brandstrom then targeted Sousa, who lost ground quickly. He put the rest of his chips into the pot with 10-8 on a 4-8-3 flop. But Brandstrom held pocket jacks, and those held to oust Rousa in third place.

Before heads-up play began, Czuczor and Brandstrom came to a deal decision, which would give €1,253,234 to Czuczor and €1,212,706 to Brandstrom. There would also be €77,460 still up for grabs, along with the trophy.

Czuczor only increased his lead when play resumed, and Brandstrom was reduced to a stack of about 12 million chips to the 47.7 million of Czuczor. But Brandstrom crawled back, slowly and through a long series of well-played hands. Eventually, he doubled into the lead and didn’t look back, relegating Czuczor to a stack of less than 9 million.

Finally, Czuczor put his last chips in with K-Q against the pocket sixs of Brandstrom, and the board delivered 9-7-2-A-5. And that gave Brandstrom the win.

1st place:  Simon Brandstrom (Sweden) €1,290,166

2nd place:  Marton Czuczor (Hungary) €1,253,234

3rd place:  Rui Sousa (Portugal) €607,400

4th place:  Diego Falcone (Brazil) €436,760

5th place:  Giovani Torre (Portugal) €364,660

6th place:  Yunye Lu (China) €295,520

Notable Side Events

Out of the dozens of poker tournaments at EPT Barcelona, there were a few that stood out as highlights.

The first major event of the series was the €1,100 buy-in EPT National, another tournament that broke records. Over the course of four starting days, there were 4,682 entries and a prize pool of €4,541,540. In the end, Markku Koplimaa of Estonia won it for €585,500.

There was also an EPT National High Roller. That required a €2,200 buy-in and brought in 1,491 entries. The total prize pool was set at €2,892,540and it was Alexander Ivarsson of Sweden who claimed the €498,520 first-place prize.

Then came the higher of the high rollers.

The first on the schedule was the €100K EPT Super High Roller, which closed its registration with 64 entries and a prize pool of €6,209,280. Of the nine players who made the money, Sergi Reixach finished on top, and the Spaniard claimed €1,816,210 for it.

A more standard high-stakes event was on the schedule with a €25K buy-in for a 6+ Hold’em High Roller event. That brought in only 24 entries, though, and it paid five players with the €576,240 prize pool. The winner was Mikhail Rudoy of Russia, who took home €213,210.

The €25K Single-Day High Roller fared better with 70 entries and a €1,680,700 prize pool. Juan Pardo finished in the winner’s circle, complete with his €491,600 cash prize. Pardo had defeated pro football star of FC Barcelona, Gerard Pique, in the final heads-up match.

Then there was the €50K Single-Day High Roller, a fast-paced tournament with 76 entries and €3,686,760 in the prize pool. And the man who won it was the Juan Pardo – again! – who claimed his second high-roller title in as many days.

The big buy-ins continued with a €25K Single-Day High Roller that drew 118 entries and a €2,833,180 prize pool. That one saw Laszlo Bujtas of Hungary emerge victorious for €712,810.

And finally, there was the €10,300 EPT High Roller. There were an astounding 540 entries in this one, and the resulting prize pool was €5,238,000. Chris Hunichen of the US and Uri Reichenstein of Israel made a heads-up deal, and Hunichen left with the most money – €841,345 – and the title.


About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

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