Thursday, September 10, 2009

American Carter Phillips Wins EPT Barcelona, by Jessica Welman - Poker News Daily - 10th September 2009

It was a nearly wire to wire performance for 20-year old Carter Phillips at the final table of the European Poker Tour’s (EPT) recent tournament in Barcelona. Phillips came into the last day of play on Wednesday atop the chip counts and stayed there, briefly relinquishing his chip lead only once the entire day. Phillips capped off a remarkable poker performance with a memorable three hour-long heads-up match against popular British pro Marc Goodwin that pitted an online pro against a longtime brick and mortar grinder for the title of EPT Barcelona Season Six Champion.

For the first time in the EPT’s six-year history the Barcelona event did not open the season and that honor was bestowed on the newly added EPT Kiev spot instead. Perhaps because players were fresh off participating in that EPT event, the Barcelona stop saw a significant drop in participants this year, falling from a field of 619 last year to 478 players this year. The 23% decline can also be attributed to a number of major tournaments running in Europe at the same time. The World Poker Tour’s (WPT) newly added international stops at Slovakia and Cyprus both overlapped the Barcelona event and the Partouche Poker Tour is running as well. This is also the first indication that the EPT could potentially suffer the same kind of drop off in numbers that has been occurring Stateside for over a year.

Smaller field aside, the event was still packed with a wealth of talent from the online poker world like newly signed PokerStars Pro and EPT winner Jason Mercier, Lex “RasZi” Veldhuis, Faraz “The-Toliet” Jaka, Joe Serock and November Nine member Joe Cada. The live pros also turned out in full force with Full Tilt Pro Roland de Wolfe, Katja Thater, Freddy Deeb, Daniel Negreanu and “Miami” John Cernuto taking part as well.

As the field dwindled, there were three former EPT champions who all were making a run at another title. De Wolfe, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier and two-time EPT winner Michael “Timex” McDonald all made it to the final three tables of the event. It was the youngest of the past winners, McDonald, who came the closest to the final table with an 11th place finish. It looked as though this year’s LA Poker Classic winner Cornell Andrew Cimpan was final table bound as well, but he was eliminated shortly after McDonald in 10th place.

While proven champions were falling left and right, Phillips was proving himself as a dangerous and talented young poker player. The American won three satellites into the event and chopped one of the smaller buy-in side events in Barcelona already and his hot streak carried over into the Main Event. His huge bluff with 6-8 against Goodwin’s A-K on an ace high board was the talk of the tournament room as play wound down and the final table was set.

The final table got off to a slow start as the mid-level stacks laid low waiting for the shortest-stacked players to bust. Gergios Kapalas was the first player eliminated, but the next one to fall actually started the day third in chips. Matt Lapossie developed a reputation for relentless aggression during his time in Spain and it was that aggression that led to his demise in 7th place when he shoved all-in holding J-4 to Toni Ojala’s pocket queens.

Local favorite Santiago Terrazas came into the final table with one of the shortest stacks, but he doubled up and picked up enough pots to end up in the final three. A Spanish EPT Barcelona was not in the cards though and his elimination set up the heads-up showdown between Goodwin and Phillips.

After battling back and forth for hours it would be a bluff that kept Goodwin from his first EPT title. Except this time it was Goodwin trying to pull off the semi-bluff while Phillips held top pair. With the board reading K-5-4-Q moved all-in for his last 4 million chips—nearly a million more than what was in the pot—and Phillips agonized over the decision before calling with K-J. Goodwin showed A-10 for a gutshot straight draw and when an ace or jack failed to materialize on the river, Phillips was the new EPT Barcelona Champion.

Here are the complete results from Wednesday’s final table:

1st: Carter Phillips - €850,000
2nd: Marc Goodwin - €530,000
3rd: Santiago Terrazas - €300,000
4th: Mihai Manole - €250,000
5th: Asa Smith - €200,000
6th: Toni Ojala - €160,000
7th: Matt Lapossie - €120,000
8th: Georgios Kapalas - €80,000 (Credit: Poker News Daily)

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