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PokerStars.com EPT History: Grand Final Season I

Rob Hollink wins the Inaugural EPT Championship

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The PokerStars.com European Poker Tour Grand Final has grown to become one of the most prestigous poker tournaments of the year, and the premiere event held outside of the United States. To shed light on this record growth, Card Player has provided some history about the EPT and prior Grand Final Championships.

The first season of the PokerStars.com European Poker Tour featured seven stops, and the finale featured its first championship, the Grand Final in Monte Carlo. The tournament featured the first €10,000 buy-in stop on the EPT, and it attracted 221 players.

Final TableThe final table of the event featured two champions from the first season, Alexander Stevic (Sweden) who won €80,000 at the inaugural stop on the tour in Barcelona, Spain, and Brandon Schaefer (USA) who triumphed at the stop in Deauville, France to take home €144,000. These two champions were joined at the final table by Romain Feriolo (Spain), Kevin Seeger (USA), Abdulaziz Abdulaziz (France), Ben Grundy (UK), Mikhail Ustinov (Russia), and Rob Hollink (Netherlands).

Other notable players that made the money at the inaugural championship included Isabelle Mercier (10th), Anthony Lellouche (12th), Martin Wendt (14th), Julian Gardner (15th), Gus Hansen (16th), Martin De Knijff (22nd), and Barney Boatman (23rd).

Brandon Schaefer came into the final table with the chip lead with 488,500, but three other players were close behind. Mikhail Ustinov, on the other hand, came into the final table short on chips with just 68,500, and he got those all in on just the seventh hand of play. He held pocket queens against Alexander Stevic preflop, who held pocket jacks, but a jack on the flop sent Ustinov home early in eighth. Ben Grundy was the next short stack to fall at the final table, and he was eliminated in seventh place by Rob Hollink.

Romain Feriolo then experienced an unfortunate series of events that saw his stack dwindle from second place, and it looked like he would freefall even further before he eliminated Abdulaziz Abdulaziz in sixth place with pocket eights. Crazy eights played a hand in the next elimination as well, although this time they were on the losing end of things for Kevin Seeger, who fell in fifth place to Schaefer’s pocket aces. Feriolo continued an odd voyage at the final table when he lost a large chunk of his stack with Q-10 against a pair of aces held by Stevic. Feriolo would not survive long after this hand, and he was eventually eliminated in fourth place by Hollink (his second victim).Rob Hollink

Stevic had made a fantastic comeback at the final table after coming in with the short stack (57,500), and he fought hard to double up numerous times. His deep run came to an end in third place. He got all of his chips in with a solid A-Q, but Hollink woke up with pocket kings (and flopped two more for quad kings) to eliminate yet another opponent on the way to heads-up play. The final two battled for a couple dozen hands and traded the chip lead before the penultimate hand all but decided the outcome:

Schaefar led on a 10-10-3 flop and Hollink doubled the price of admission with a raise. Schaefer then decided to move all in, Hollink called rather quickly, and the two players opened up their hands. Hollink was way-way ahead with a 10 in the hole, which held up over Schaefer’s lone 3. Schaefar’s few remaining chips went in shortly after that with a pair, but Hollink made two pair on the river to win the first ever EPT Grand Final title, and €635,000.

Here are the results:

1st: Rob Hollink - €635,000
2nd: Brandon Schaefer - €350,000
3rd: Alexander Stevic - €178,000
4th: Romain Feriolo - €139,000
5th: Kevin Seeger - €118,000
6th: Abdulaziz Abdulaziz - €99,500
7th: Ben Grundy - €79,500
8th: Mikhail Ustinov - €59,500