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This Week in Poker -- Poker Tournament News May 2-8

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Card Player Player of the Year Update

1: Poorya Nazari — 3,000

2: Jude Ainsworth — 2,840

3: Cornel Cimpan — 2,730

4: Anthony Gregg — 2,500

5: Yevgeniy Timoshenko — 2,448

6: Pieter de Korver — 2,400

6: Constant Rijkenberg — 2,400

8: Steve Brecher — 2,340

9: Stewart Scott — 2,336

10: Chris Moore — 2,110

POY Movement:

Pieter de Korver took home 2,400_ Card Player_ Player of the Year points to go with his European record €2.3 million first-place prize for winning the 2009 PokerStars European Poker Tour Grand Final in Monte Carlo. This places him in a tie for sixth place on the leader board with fellow Dutchman Constant Rijkenberg. Matt Woodward finished in second place in Monte Carlo, and he took home 2,000 points and €1.3 million in prize money. He holds 2,060 points for the year and he currently sits in 13th place, behind Kathy Liebert.

This Week in Poker

Pieter de Korver Wins the 2009 EPT Grand Final

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.

Vanessa Rousso Wins the European High Roller Championship

The €25,000 European High Roller Championship attracted a mixed field of main event bustouts, online whizz kids, legendary pros, and up-and-coming faces. A  total of 79 players turned out for the star-studded event, including Daniel Negreanu, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, William Thorson, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Erik Seidel, Thomas Wahlroos, Michael Mcdonald, John Juanda, Nelly, Chris Ferguson, Barry Greenstein, Peter Eastgate, Dave Ulliott, Phil Ivey, and Ivan Demidov. Florian Langmann led the pack for a good chunk of the way but fell from his pedestal four short of the finish line. It was Team PokerStars pro Vanessa Rousso who rose to the top for the late stages, and she scooped the top prize of €720,000 to wrap up the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo.

Both the final table of the main event and the high-roller event played out simultaneously, with the main event finishing first. Here are the final payouts of the high-roller event:

1: Vanessa Rousso — €720,000

2: Randy Dorfman — €434,000

3: Tony G — €257,000

4: Florian Langmann — €188,000

5: David Eldar — €138,000

6: William Thorson — €99,000

7: Andrew Feldman — €79,000

8: David Steicke — €60,000

Paren Arzoomanian Wins ANZPT Sydney Main Event

The initial PokerStars Australia-New Zealand Poker Tour stop in Sydney, Australia, attracted 493 players to the $2,000+$200 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event at Star City Casino and created a prize pool worth $986,000. The top 45 players walked away with prize money, and all 26 players returning on the final day would leave with at least $6,902, with $246,500 going to the champion. It took four hours of play for the final 26 to shrink down to a final table of nine.

Zhao Xin was the first to fall at the final table in ninth place ($16,762) before the dinner break. His A-10 ran into jacks and he was unable to come from behind to survive. Lisa Walsh then eliminated two players in a row. She knocked out James Newhan in eighth place ($24,650) with pocket kings, and then she busted Joel Dodds in seventh place ($34,510) when she spiked an ace on the flop with A-J in the hole.

The most well-known player was the next to fall when Billy “The Croc” Argyros had his kings cracked by queens up. He was eliminated in sixth place and took home $44,370 in prize money. Walsh then continued her rush by taking down a pot worth 4.6 million against Majed Haddad, which left him crippled. Haddad was eliminated in fifth place ($55,709) a short time later when he was forced to move all in on a short stack with 6-5 suited.

Walsh scored her third knockout at the final table when her pocket threes won a race against the A-K of Chris Kittos. Kittos was eliminated in fourth place ($69,020) and action was down to three players. Walsh found herself in an all-in situation once again a few hands later, and this time she held the A-K. John Caridid held A-8, and the board ran out 10-3-2-7-J. This gave Walsh 4.1 million to take into the heads-up match against Paren Arzoomanian and his 5.6 million.

Walsh was able to take the chip lead briefly in the final match, but she fell back behind and eventually found her stack getting short. On the final hand, she moved all in preflop with K 9. Arzoomanian made the call with A 5 and the board was dealt J 8 8 5 A to decide the tournament. Walsh was eliminated in second place, and she took home $162,690 in prize money. Arzoomanian was the champion of the very first ANZPT Sydney main event, and he took home the $246,500 first-place prize.