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PokerStars.com European Poker Tour Grand Final - Season II

A Young American - Jeff Williams (19 years old) - Wins the Sophomore Seeason Championship

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Final TableThe second edition of the PokerStars.com European Poker Tour Grand Final in Monte Carlo attracted 298 players looking for fortune in a place where it has been sought for centuries. The €10,000 buy-in ensured that the winner would walk away with a first-place prize of €900,000. In a trend that was divergent from Season I, no champion from the season’s first six events was present in the final eight, but an impressive group had emerged (which featured four players who qualified online with PokerStars).

A small group of international stars cashed on the way to the final table by finishing in the top 27. They included Ben Grundy (9th), who just missed making his second final table in as many years at the Grand Final, Thomas Wahlroos (10th), Mark Teltscher (11th), Martin Wendt (21st) who cashed for the second year in a row at the Grand Final, and Dario Minieri (22nd).

Here is how things looked at the start of the final table:

Seat 1: Marc Karam (Canada) 231,900
Seat 2: Marcel Luske (Netherlands) 486,000
Seat 3: Jeff Williams (USA) 495, 700
Seat 4: Ross Boatman (UK) 119,700
Seat 5: Thierry Cazals (France) 766,650
Seat 6: Arshad Hussain (UK) 131,600
Seat 7: Fraser Dunphy (UK) 125,600
Seat 8: Aleksander Strandli (Norway) 633,500

The start of this final table was defined by players surviving on the edge – Fraser Dunphy doubled up on the short stack just two hands into play, and this pattern was repeated by Ross Boatman 20 minutes later, and Arshad Hussain 45 minutes after that. The pattern was finally broken when Dunphy was all in with pocket aces against Jeff William’s pocket tens and a 10 fell on the flop. Dunphy was sent home in eighth place, and Marcel Luske fell in seventh place after a dog fight between him and the young Canadian, Marc Karam, went the wrong way for the Dutchman. Boatman was the next to go in sixth place, when he tried to steal a pot with 10-6, only to have Hussain wake up behind him with pocket jacks.

A long period without a major hand led into the dinner break, and followed for a short time after it concluded until Thierry Cazals was all in and had Williams dominated with A-10 against A-4 pre-flop. But, by the river Williams had a flush, and Cazals was flushed from the tournament in fifth place. The final four players who remained at this point had all qualified online with PokerStars, and they looked to further their profits on a minimal investment.

Karam was the first of these four to hit the rail after he tried to pick off a bluff by Williams, and lost, which left him short-stacked and all in with 8-5 offsuit a few hands later. Williams called him down with a pair of nines and eliminated Karam in fourth place. Shortly after three-handed action began, the largest hand at the final table transpired between the two largest chip stacks remaining. Aleksander Strandli called all in with K-8 against Williams, who held Q-10, and he was looking good to take the chip lead. Until, a 10 fell on the river and Strandli was eliminated in third place in excruciating fashion. This gave Williams an overwhelming chip lead for the heads-up match.

Jeff Williams The lead proved to be too much to overcome, and although Hussain got his money in with a solid heads-up hand (A-8), Williams had him dominated (A-10). A board of 9-7-5-7-3 kept things interesting, but Hussain missed his outs and was eliminated in second place. This gave the 19-year old Williams his first major tournament victory, and €900,000. The EPT had crowned its second Grand Final champion.

Here are the final-table results:

1st:  Jeff Williams - €900,000
2nd: Arshad Hussain - €492,000
3rd: Aleksander Strandli - €251,000
4th: Marc Karam - €195,000
5th: Thierry Cazals - €168,000
6th: Ross Boatman - €140,000
7th: Marcel Luske - €112,000
8th: Fraser Dunphy - €84,000