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Antonio Matias Wins European Poker Tour Vilamoura

Local Takes Down EPT Vilamoura; The Old Outlast The Young at Final Table


Antonio MatiasAntonio Matias [pictured right] plowed his way to the top of the leader board the day before the European Poker Tour Vilamoura final table. The Portuguese player kept up the pressure on day 5 and persevered through the final until he was crowned champion yesterday evening at the Casino Vilamoura.

He now becomes both the tour’s oldest winner at 54 and the first winner on home turf since Sandra Naujoks in EPT Dortmund last season. He goes home with €404,793 ($601,171) from a total prize pool of €1,561,700 ($2,319,434) for beating a field of 322, which included 62 other Portuguese players.

“I like to think of myself as a citizen of the world but it is very satisfying to win an EPT in my home country,” Matias said, “I wasn’t intimidated by the competition because I play a lot of very good players in cash games. I just decided to play the way I play and hope that luck didn’t turn its back on me. I play poker just for a hobby, but when I got the chip lead yesterday, at that point the only thing I had on my mind was winning.”

Belgian PokerStars qualifier Pierre Neuville finished in second place for €257,681 and, at 67-years-old, is the oldest finalist in the history of the EPT.

The final payouts were:

1st Antonio Matias (Portugal) €404,793
2nd Pierre Neuville (Belgium) €257,681
3rd Jeff Sarwer (Canada) €156,170
4th Jan Skampa (Czech Republic) €117,128
5th João Silva (Portugal) €78,085
6th Michel Abecassis (France) €62,468
7th Ryan Franklin (USA) €46,851
8th Andrei Vlasenko (Russia) €31,234

Andrei Vlasenko was the first to hit the rail. Eighteen-year-old American Ryan Franklin bet 55,000 preflop, and Antonio Matias called from the small blind. Vlasenko then moved all in from the big blind, and Franklin followed suit, pushing all of his chips over the line. Chip leader Matias folded, and the two flipped over their cards. Vlasenko held pocket nines but was behind to Franklin’s pocket tens, and with no help on the board he remained that way, leaving the tournament in eighth place for €31,234.

Ryan FranklinRyan Franklin [pictured left] was next out, however, when Pierre Neuville opened for 75,000 and the American moved all in for around 550,000. Jeff Sarwer then also shoved, and Matias and Neuville folded their cards. Franklin showed pocket eights but was behind this time to Sarwer’s pocket jacks. A jack came on the flop, and Franklin hit the rail in seventh place with €46,851 for his efforts.

Michelle Abecassis then became the sixth-place finisher for €62,468 after shoving all in for 344,000 with ASpade Suit 7Spade Suit over Matias’ preflop raise of 93,000 from the button. Matias made the call and flipped over QSpade Suit JDiamond Suit. The ace was ahead to begin with, but a queen fell on the flop, and despite hitting a 7 on the turn, the river was a 3 and the Frenchman made his exit.

Local player Joao Silva then gave all of his chips to Jan Skampa and left in fifth place for a payday of €78,085. From under the gun, Skampa bet 100,000, and both Silva and Neuville called from the blinds. The flop was dealt 3Club Suit 3Heart Suit 2Heart Suit, and both the small blind Silva and big blind Neuville checked.

Skampa then bet out 175,000, triggering a wealth of action in his favor — Silva raised to 550,000, Neuville folded, Skampa moved all in, and Silva made the call. It was queens for Skampa and jacks for Silva, and with the 9Heart Suit turn and 3Diamond Suit river, Skampa became the new chip leader, and Silva hit the rail.

Skampa was barely finished stacking his new chips when he got involved in a huge pot with Jeff Sarwer, who took a devastating chunk out of Skampa’s stack with Q-Q versus K-9, respectively — with both players all in and only a 9 falling on the board. Sarwer then finished him off in the very next hand. Skampa moved all in from the small blind, and Sarwer called from the big blind with KHeart Suit JSpade Suit. Skampa was behind with KDiamond Suit 7Club Suit, and the board made no difference to either of them. Skampa made his exit in fourth place for a nice €117,128.

Going into three—handed, play the stacks were:

Jeff Sarwer — 4,220,000
Antonio Matias — 3,815,000
Pierre Neuville — 1,590,000

Jeff SarwerMatias and Sarwer [pictured right] continued to take each other on, both determined to make the other rue the day. The two were involved in a hand worth more than 2,500,000. Matias raised to 130,000 from the button, and Sarwer called from the big blind.

The flop was dealt QClub Suit 7Diamond Suit 2Diamond Suit, Sarwer checked, Matias bet 160,000, and Sarwer check-raised 220,000 on top. Matias added another 600,000, and Sarwer threw in a million more. Matias moved all in, and Sarwer thought it over. Sarwer said, “I’m going to need some help here,” but eventually folded, and watched as Matias took over the chip lead.

Sarwer then saw his stack decrease even further when he tangled with Neuville. The hand began with a raising war, which eventually saw Neuville move all in with a call from Sarwer. Neuville was miles ahead with AClub Suit KHeart Suit in front of Sarwer’s AClub Suit 2Spade Suit. The board brought an ace, and Neuville moved up to more than 1.8 million.

Jeff Sarwer’s stack was totally wiped out soon after, but at least the former chess phenomenon finished closer to the goal than in Poland, where he finished 10th, bubbling the final table. It all began with a raise of 125,000 from Matias. Both players called. The flop was 9Club Suit 7Heart Suit 3Club Suit, and Sarwer bet 275,000. Matias quickly moved all in and, with Neuville now out of the way, Sarwer decided to make the call.

Sarwer showed top pair with 9Spade Suit 5Spade Suit, but Matias was ahead with pocket tens. The turn fell in Sarwer’s favor, giving him two pair with the 5Club Suit, but it wasn’t to be as the river was the 3Diamond Suit pairing the board and giving Matias a better two pair. After an astounding performance, the Canadian went out in third place for €156,170.

Heads-up Chip Counts:

Antonio Matias: 8,380,000
Pierre Neuville: 1,245,000

Pierre NeuvilleDespite Neuville [pictured left] getting an early double-up, he could not make it back against the local cash-game player. The final hand came when Neuville bet 240,000 from the button and Matias called.

The flop fell JDiamond Suit 8Heart Suit 7Heart Suit, and Matias checked. Neuville bet 315,000, Matias bumped it up with 500,000 on top, which prompted Neuville to move all in. Matias made the final call of the event and then turned over 8Spade Suit 7Diamond Suit for two pair.

Neuville held JHeart Suit 10Spade Suit for top pair with an inside-straight draw, but the 7Club Suit turn gave Matias a full house, and the 2Club Suit river was meaningless. Neuville left in second place, €257,681 richer, while Matias was handed his novelty-sized check worth €404,793.

The next EPT takes place in Prague from Dec. 1-6 and will also be bringing you all the latest from that event on a daily basis.