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Record-Setting Live PokerStars Event Draws 7,398 Entries

France's Lucien Cohen Took Down The €1,100 Estrellas Poker Tour Main Event For $730,328


The 2023 European Poker Tour Barcelona festival kicked off with the €1,100 buy-in Estrellas Poker Tour main event. The tournament attracted a massive field of 7,398 entries, setting a new record for the largest live tournament ever put on by PokerStars.

The previous record was set by the 6,313 turnout for this same tournament when it was last held in 2022. That means that there was a 17 percent increase, year-over-year.

There were 3,291 unique players, which means that 4,107 re-entries were made during the event. Players from 86 nations turned out for this tournament. The unprecedented attendance numbers resulted in a final prize pool of €7,102,080, or more than $7.7 million when rendered in USD.

Lucien CohenThe top 1,109 finishers ultimately made the money, with payouts ranging from $1,890 all the way up to $730,328. That top sum was secured by Lucien Cohen. This was the second-largest payday for the Frenchman, with his top score being the nearly $1.2 million he took home as the winner of the 2011 EPT Deauville main event. The 59-year-old Parisian now has moe than $2.3 million in lifetime cashes to his name.

Cohen also secured 1,320 Card Player Player of the Year points for the win. This was his second POY-qualified score of the year, with one final-table finish in a €550 buy-in side event at the French Poker Series stop in Paris this summer. As a result of his big win in Spain, Cohen has climbed inside the top 300 in the 2023 POY standings presented by Global Poker.

This tournament played out over the course of eight days inside Casino Barcelona. It was originally slated to take seven, but an extra round was needed to narrow the record field down to a champion. After the eight starting flights had been completed, day 2 began on Friday, Aug. 25 with all remaining contenders in the money.

The top seven finishers in this event all cashed for six figures. PokerStars ambassador Parker Talbot, known to many by his screen name ‘Tonkaaaap’, finished seventh when his pocket eights ran into the pocket queens of Ferdinando D’Alessio. The $114,037 he earned from his deep run was the fourth-largest live score on his resume.

The bonus day began with Cohen leading the final six. D’Alessio scored the first knockout of the day, busting Avihai Smadga $147,798. From there on out, Cohen earned every remaining elimination.

After sending Ankit Ahuja (5th – $192,035), Danilo Velasevic (4th – $250,657), and Petros Karadimos (3rd – $318,190) to the rail, Cohen held more than a 4:1 chip lead over D’Alessio going into heads-up play.

D’Alessio had closed the gap a bit by the time the final hand of the tournament was dealt. With blinds of 1,000,000-2,000,000 and a big blind ante of 2,000,000, Cohen raised to 5,000,000 on the button with KDiamond Suit8Club Suit and D’Alessio called with KSpade Suit4Diamond Suit. The flop came down KHeart SuitJSpade Suit10Diamond Suit and D’Alessio checked to Cohen, who made a 10,000,000 continuation bet. D’Alessio check-raised all-in for 77,500,000. Cohen called with the same pair and a higher kicker. The 8Diamond Suit turn gave him kings and eights. The 7Club Suit river was no help to D’Alessio, who could have chopped with a jack or ten on the end. Instead, he was eliminated in second place, earning $448,546 for his efforts.

Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:

Place Player Earnings POY Points
1 Lucien Cohen $730,328 1320
2 Ferdinando D’Alessio $448,546 1100
3 Petros Karadimos $318,190 880
4 Danilo Velasevic $250,657 660
5 Ankit Ahuja $192,035 550
6 Avihai Smadga $147,798 440
7 Parker Talbot $114,037 330
8 Igor Kaufman $87,728 220
9 Marcos Thielke $67,468 110

Photo credits: Danny Maxwell / Rational Intellectual Holdings Ltd.