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This Week in Poker: Poker Tournament News Oct. 4-10

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This Week in Tournament Poker

EPT London

Michael MartinThe 596 players who signed up for the EPT London £5,200 main event created one of the largest prize pools of the year, an impressive £3,349,200, with a £1 million first-place prize. American players have faired unfavorably in London on the EPT, only sending two contestants to the final table during the first four seasons. But this year, the U.S. sent two players, and for the first time, an American won the title of EPT London champion.

Anthony Lellouche came into the final table as one of the chip leaders, but both Philippe Dauteuil and Johannes Strassmann doubled up through him early, and he hit the rail in eighth place (£81,569). Eric Liu was the aggressor from the very beginning at the final table. He raised the majority of the pots preflop, and he continuously built his stack by winning most of the small pots up for grabs. Strassmann fell in seventh (£120,723) during this stretch, and he was followed to the rail by a short-stacked Alan Smurfit, who was eliminated in sixth place (£153,351). The young Canuck Dauteuil was out next in fifth place (£195,766) before the players took a short dinner break. The post-dinner period was especially tough on Eric Liu and Martin.

But Martin was able to come back from his stack falling to 95,000 with the blinds at 40,000-80,000 thanks to a series of consecutive hands wherein he tripled up, and then doubled up twice against Michael Tureniec. Liu was not so lucky, and it was Martin who eliminated Liu in fourth place (£234,920) a few hands later. Team PokerStars pro Marcin Horecki fell next in third place (£303,439), and things were down to a heads-up showdown between two Michaels.

Tureniec was able to score an early double up that prolonged the match for two hours, but in the end, Martin made a huge call that all but ended things. Martin raised to 250,000 preflop, and Tureniec made the call. Both payers checked down a flop of J 10 6, and the turn brought the 3. Tureniec opened the action for 380,000, and Martin made the call. The river put out the J, and Tureniec led out again, this time for 680,000. Martin thought for a moment and called Tureniec down. Tureniec showed down Q-4, and Martin showed down K-10 to win the pot. Martin won the tournament a few hands later when his pocket fours held up against Tureniec, who was all in with K-9. Tureniec took home £525,314 for his runner-up finish, and Martin became the first American to win EPT London, and he claimed his first major tournament victory along with £1 million while achieving the greatest comeback in EPT history.

Houses of ParliammentHere were the final-table results:

1: Michael Martin (USA) — £1,000,000
2: Michael Tureniec (Sweden) — £525,314
3: Marcin Horecki (Poland, Team PokerStars Pro) — £303,439
4: Eric Liu (USA) — £234,920
5: Philippe D'Auteuil (Canada) — £195,766
6: Alan Smurfit (Ireland) — £153,351
7: Johannes Strassmann (Germany) — £120,723
8: Antony Lellouche (France) — £81,569

EPT London £1 Million Showdown

Jason MercierThe top poker players in the world, including Phil Ivey, Gus Hansen, and Team PokerStars pros Daniel Negreanu and Barry Greenstein, were among the field of 85 players who signed up for the £20,000 PokerStars EPT London £1 Million Showdown. Day 2 saw 14 players survive, and two hours were needed to play down to a final table of nine that featured: Team PokerStars Pro Isabelle Mercier (ninth place - £51,000), David Benyamine (eighth place, £59,000 ), Masaaki Kagawa (seventh place, £86,000), Isaac Haxton (sixth place, £103,000), Scotty Nguyen (fifth place, £137,500), Peter Jetten (fourth place, £189,000), Michael Watson (third place, £241,000), and Jason Mercier, along with recent World Series of Poker Europe main event champion, John Juanda.

The final heads-up battle came down to Juanda (1,185,000 heads-up starting stack) and Jason Mercier (536,000). The young American was able to score a double-up on the first hand of the match, and then he flopped the nut straight in the final hand to win his second major title (Mercier also won EPT San Remo in season four), and prevent the second major win for Juanda on his trip to Europe. Juanda added £327,000 to his impressive European conquest (over $2 million total), while Mercier now has $2.7 million in career tournament winnings thanks to the £516,000 first-place prize.

Here were the final-table results:

1: Jason Mercier (USA) — £516,000
2: John Juanda (USA) — £327,000
3: Michael Watson (Canada) — £241,000
4: Peter Jetten (Canada) — £189,000
5: Scotty Nguyen (USA) — £137,500
6: Isaac Haxton (USA) — £103,000
7: Masaaki Kagawa (Japan) — £86,000
8: David Benyamine (France) — £59,000
9: Isabelle Mercier (Canada, Team PokerStars Pro) — £51,000

Aruba Poker Classic

Matt BradyTournament professional Matt Brady walked away with the title at the UltimateBet Aruba Poker Classic $5,000 championship event this past Saturday, Oct. 2, topping a field of 551 players. The final table also featured Swedish star Johan Storakers, and up-and-coming professional Allie Prescott. The final battle came down to Storakers and Brady for the first-place prize money of $1 million. Here is the final hand from’s live updates:

Matt Brady limps in the small blind, and Johan Storakers raises it up 200,000 more. Brady calls, and the flop comes J 10 10. Storakers checks, and Brady fires out 270,000. Storakers moves all in, and Brady calls instantly, tabling 10 7. Storakers shows A J and needs a jack or running clubs to survive.

The turn is the 7, improving Brady's hand to a full house. Storakers is looking for the one of the two remaining jacks to stay alive, but the river is the 6, giving Brady the pot, the tournament, the bracelet, and $1 million.

Here were the final-table results:

1: Matt Brady — $1,000,000
2: Johan Storakers — $486,000
3: Jeffrey Papola — $250,000
4: Allie Presctott — $150,000
5: Brandon Terry — $116,400
6: Brian Malczewski — $83,120
7: Jason Pohl — $58,500
8: Chris Morrison — $58,500
9: Rajiv Motwani — $33,400

Asia Pacific Poker Tour Auckland

The inaugural edition of the Asia Pacific Poker Tour Auckland began on Thursday, Oct. 9 and will run through Oct. 12 at the SKYCITY Casino in Auckland, New Zealand. There will also be a $10,000 NZD high-rollers event on Oct. 11.

The main event featured a buy-in of $3,000 NZD, and it attracted 306 players to build a prize pool worth $511,300 USD and a first-place prize worth $153,399 USD. Kiwi Amant Nauhria holds the chip lead with 94,000, and still in the hunt is Team PokerStars pro Joe Hachem with 21,900.

Collected Tournament Results:

U.S. Poker Championship

$10,000 no-limit hold’em championship
Number of entries: 52
Champion: Robert Ford — $221,936

Heartland Poker Tour — Black Hawk, Colorado

$300 HPT main event
Number of entries: 386
Champion: Andreas Ramadanis — $174,780

Festa al Lago

Festa al Lago preliminary events story.

Card Player Player of the Year Update

POY Standings:

John Phan — 6,704
Erik Seidel — 4,634
David Benyamine — 4,376
Michael Martin — 3,800
Michael Binger — 3,792
Sebastian Ruthenberg — 3,648
Matt Brady — 3,640
David “The Dragon” Pham — 3,582
Jason Mercier — 3,504
Erick Lindgren — 3,459

POY Movement

David BenyamineJohn Phan still retains his lead, but many players are jumping to the top of the Card Player Player of the Year (POY) leader board, and they are one major tournament title away from challenging Phan. Phan did increase his total points to 6,704 by taking ninth place in a $3,000 no-limit hold’em preliminary event at Bellagio’s Festa al Lago, earning $4,945 and 27 points. Current No. 2 Erik Seidel also grabbed a small number of points at the WSOP Europe $10,000 main event, where he finished in 19th place and took home $51,510 along with 54 points. David Benyamine also increased his hold on third place with a strong performance at EPT London. He finished in 12th place in the £5,200 main event (£35,891 and 120 points), and followed that up by making the final table of the £20,000 EPT London £1 Million Showdown, where he finished in eighth place (£69,000 and 108 points).

The top three all remained the same, but the major movement during the last two weeks took place from fourth down on the leader board. Young American Michael Martin scored his first major tournament victory when he won the title for EPT London and took home £1 million, along with 2,400 points. He now has 3,800 total for the year, which edged him just above Michael Binger for fourth place (by 8 points). Martin had earned 1,400 points already in 2008 for a fifth-place finish at the EPT Grand Final for season four and a runner-up finish at the WSOP circuit event in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Another young American doing well in Europe made his appearance in the POY top 10 this past week, Jason Mercier. Mercier won the EPT London £1 Million Showdown and walked away with £516,000 along with 648 points. This gives Mercier 3,504 total for the year and puts him in ninth place between David “The Dragon” Pham and Erick Lindgren. Mercier built upon his breakout victory EPT San Remo in season four with a flurry of success this fall. He placed sixth at EPT Barcelona and then went north to England. In London, he also made a final table at the WSOP Europe (£5,000 pot-limit Omaha), where he finished in eighth place and took home 136 points.

John JuandaWhile the majority of the poker world was in London these past two weeks, many chose to head down to the tropical waters of Aruba for the $5,000 Aruba Poker Classic. Matt Brady walked away with the crown in Aruba, along with $1 million and 1,920 points. This put Brady in seventh place on the leader board with 3,640 points total, which leaves him just eight points behind Sebastian Ruthenberg for sixth place. Brady built the other half of his point total with consistent performance throughout 2008. Before his big win in Aruba, Brady had already appeared at six final tables and cashed 11 times to build up 1,720 points.

With all of these young tournament professionals making noise, it was easy to overlook the player who won the most points recently. John Juanda won the WSOP Europe $10,000 main event. He took home his fourth WSOP gold bracelet, £868,800, and 2,160 points. Just four days later, he finished in second place to Mercier in the EPT London £1 Million Showdown to win £327,000 and another 540 points. This impressive run for Juanda gained him 2,700 points and gives him 3,432 total for 2008. Juanda has vaulted into 12th place, just 18 points behind Vinny Pahuja, who is currently in 11th place.

Looking Ahead

World Poker Tour North American Poker Championship

$10,000 no-limit hold’em WPT championship event

Saturday, Oct. 11: Day 1B (all preliminary days will start at noon)
Sunday, Oct. 12: Day 1C
Monday, Oct. 13: Day 2
Tuesday, Oct. 14: Day 3
Wednesday, Oct. 15: Day 4
Thursday, Oct. 16: WPT final table (2 p.m.)

World Series of Poker Circuit event Horseshoe Southern Indiana

$5,000 no-limit hold’em championship

Sunday, Oct .12: Day 1 (all days start at noon)
Monday, Oct. 13: Day 2
Tuesday, Oct. 14: Final table

Festa al Lago

Saturday, Oct. 11, noon: Event No. 10 — $2,000 no-limit hold’em
Monday, Oct. 13, noon: Event No. 11 — $2,500 no-limit hold’em
Tuesday, Oct. 14, noon: Event No. 12 — $3,000 no-limit hold’em
Wednesday, Oct. 15 - Friday, Oct. 17, noon: Event No. 13 — $2,500 seniors no-limit hold'em

Big Poker Oktober

Saturday, Oct. 11, 4 p.m.: $500 no-limit hold’em championship final table