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EPT -- Pieter De Korver Wins 2009 Grand Final

The Young Dutchman Takes Home a Massive Prize Worth €2.3 Million


The final day at the 2009 PokerStars European Poker Tour Grand Final welcomed back eight players who all had their eyes on the final prize worth €2.3 million. They had survived four days of poker to make it this far and waded through a massive field of 935 players. They now had to fight it out for their own chunk of the largest prize pool in European poker history. Here is how the final table looked at the start of play:

Seat 1 — Peter Traply, Hungary, PokerStars qualifier — 4,365,000

Seat 2 — Mikhail Tulchinskiy, Russia — 3,220,000

Seat 3 — Eric Qu, France — 2,880,000

Seat 4 — Pieter De Korver, Holland, PokerStars player — 2,500,000

Seat 5 — Alem Shah, Germany, PokerStars qualifier — 1,490,000

Seat 6 — Daniel Zink, Gemany — 1,865,000

Seat 7 — Matt Woodward, USA, PokerStars qualifier — 4,560,000

Seat 8 — Dag Martin Mikkelsen, Norway — 7,315,000

Monte CarloThe first stretch at the final table was defined by tight play and all-in moves that went uncalled. That was until just before the 30-hand mark, when one of the biggest hands of the tournament completely changed the complexion of the final table. Peter Traply moved all in, and Dag Martin Mikkelsen went into the tank on the big stack. He eventually called and turned up pocket queens. Traply showed down A-K, and no help came on the board. Traply was eliminated in eighth place (€170,000), and Mikkelsen held a huge chip lead with 12 million.

Mikkelsen increased that lead even further when he eliminated Daniel Zink next in seventh place (€250,000). He held 15 million after the hand. The players took their first break of the day, and shortly after they returned, two players fell in back-to-back hands. Mikhail Tulchinskiy picked off two of the short stacks when he eliminated Alem Shah in sixth place (€350,000) and Eric Qu in fifth place (€470,000). Tulchinksiy held 7 million after knocking out the two stacks.

Pieter De Korver WinsEverything changed during four-handed play, as short stack Pieter De Korver doubled up multiple times to go from zero to hero and take the chip lead with 14,640,000. His excitement combined with the cheers of his Dutch supporters infused the final table with energy and excitement. Most of De Korver’s rise to power came at the expense of Mikkelsen, who eventually fell from grace in fourth place (€600,000).

Matt Woodward eliminated Tulchinskiy in third place (€800,000) to set up a heads-up final between a North American and a Dutchman, ensuring that the EPT Grand Final trophy would return to one of the regions for the fifth year in a row. Woodward took the lead for a short time during the heads-up match, but De Korver regained his edge and never let go with an aggressive series of reraises. Woodward was eliminated in second place (€1,300,000) after his 6-4 fell to the 9-6 of De Korver when both players made a pair of sixes. De Korver took home the EPT Grand Final title and a European record €2,300,000 in first-place prize money (more than $3 million USD). De Korver is the second Dutchman to win the EPT Grand Final, following in the footsteps of season-one champion Rob Hollink.

Here is a look at the highlights from the final table as featured in’s live updates:

Peter TraplyPeter Traply Eliminated in Eighth Place (€170,000)

Peter Traply raises all in from the button for 4,500,000. It’s 3,875,000 for Dag Martin Mikkelsen to call, and he thinks about it while counting his stack. After about six or seven minutes, Mikkelsen calls and shows pocket queens. Traply has A K.

The board comes 8 5 2 10 6. Mikkelsen’s queens hold, and Traply is the first player from the final table to hit the rail today. He takes home €170,000 for five days of play.

Daniel Zink Eliminated in Seventh Place (€250,000)

Daniel Zink bets 225,000 from the button, and Mikkelsen raises it up to 700,000. Zink pushes all in, and Mikkelsen calls.

Zink has A J, and Mikkelsen holds A K. The board comes K 8 2 J A, and Daniel Zink is out in seventh place for €250,000.

Alem Shah Eliminated in Sixth Place (€350,000)

Moments back from break, and Mikhail Tulchinskiy raises 350,000, Alem Shah moves all in with A 10, and Mikhail Tulchinskiy calls with A K.

The board falls 8 3 3 2 6, and Alem Shah is the EPT Grand Final’s sixth-place finisher. He goes home with €350,000 for making it this far.Eric Qu

Eric Qu Eliminated in Fifth Place (€470,000)

Mere seconds later, there is another all in. Eric Qu is all in with K-Q versus Mikhail Tulchinskiy’s A Q.

The board falls J-5-3-K, and Qu begins to celebrate. But the river is an ace, and the best hand wins. Qu goes out in fifth place with €470,000.

Pieter De Korver = Invincible

A cat may have nine lives, but Pieter De Korver may have hundreds. He raises all in for 3,760,000 preflop, and Dag Martin Mikkelsen calls him down. Their cards:

Mikkelsen: 10 10

De Korver: A J

Board: A K J 4 2

De Korver doubles up yet again, and he now holds 7,760,000. Mikkelsen is knocked down to 7,940,000. The game has completely changed at this final table.

Rags to Riches

Dag Martin Mikkelsen raises to 380,000 under the gun, and Pieter de Korver reraises to 680,000 from the small blind.

The flop is 7 7 6 and de Korver is first to speak. He bets 430,000.

Mikkelsen calls, and the turn is the 9.

De Korver bets 1,040,000, and Mikkelsen goes all in. De Korver insta-calls and shows 6 6, while Mikkelsen shows K 10. The river is the A, and De Korver’s amazing run means he has exchanged places with Mikkelsen. Mikkelsen is now at the bottom of the leader board with 360,000, while De Korver has 14,640,000.

Dag Martin MikkelsenDag Martin Mikkelsen Eliminated in Fourth Place (€600,000)

Dag Martin Mikkelsen moves all in preflop, and both Pieter De Korver and Mikhail Tulchinskiy call him down. The two live players check down a board of 10 9 4 Q 4, and then all three players open up their hands:

Mikkelsen: K-7

De Korver: Q-9

Tulchinskiy: A-8

De Korver wins the hand to increase his chip lead, and he eliminates Mikkelsen in fourth place (€600,000). Mikkelsen held the title of dominant chip leader just a short time ago, but now his fall from grace is complete.

Mikhail Tulchinskiy Eliminated in Third Place (€800,000)

Back from break only moments and we have found our heads-up players.

Matt Woodward bets 725,000 from the button, Mikhail Tulchinskiy raises it to 1,200,000, and Woodward pushes all in.

Matt WoodwardTulchinskiy gets the pot spread out for him so he can count it, and then calls. He has Q 10. Woodward has 3 3.

Flop: J 8 2

Turn and River: 4 2

Tulchinskiy goes out in third place for €800,000, and our heads-up players are Matt Woodward and Pieter de Korver.

Heads-Up Chip Counts

Pieter De Korver — 15,290,000

Matthew Woodward — 12,775,000

Pieter De KorverPieter De Korver Wins the 2009 PokerStars EPT Grand Final (€2,300,000)

On a 10 6 5 flop with more than one million in the pot, Matt Woodward bets 700,000, and Pieter De Korver reraises all in. Woodward shakes his head, and after a few moments, he calls. He flips over 6 4. De Corver shows 9 6.

The turn is the Q, and the river is the 7.

Pieter De Korver has come back from a crippling 365,000 in chips to win the entire event. He now goes home with €2,300,000.

Matt Woodward earns €1,300,000 for his second-place finish, and this season’s European Poker Tour is complete.