With the process of deal-making done completely in the open on the EPT, viewers of the EPT Barcelona Main Event live stream witnessed the entirety of the agreement made between the final three players. There was just over one percent of the prizepool remaining for the winner, and with major paydays locked up for all three players it seemed as if the tournament was near its end. They’d play for six more hours.
After Hossein Ensan went out in third place, Sam Phillips and Andre Lettau went to war and neither yielded a single inch. Each player took their own dominant lead, and Phillips was, at one point, a single card away from victory needing to dodge just three cards. When the dust had finally settled and 141 hands of heads-up play were complete, Lettau’s K T held of Phillips’ 8 7 as it ran out K 5 2 9 K to bring the first stop of the 11th season of the EPT to a close.
By virtue of having a commanding chiplead when a deal was made, Phillips took home the biggest prize of all at $1,341,147. Lettau’s payday crested to $1,050,538 with the victory, and he took home the trophy and the watch.
Slaven Popov was the first to put himself at risk at this final table almost 15 hours earlier, open-shoving 1.75 million (11 bb’s) with A 7. He was unfortunate enough to run into Ji Zhang’s Q Q in the big blind, and it got even worse on the K Q 6 flop. Popov was drawing stone dead by the 2 and he said his goodbyes as the 8 river officially marked his exit in eighth place.
Andrey Shatilov picked up a crucial double early as his K K held against Zhang’s Q Q, but for the vast majority of the first 100 hands at this final table Phillips took complete control. Phillips had one-third of the chips in play seven-handed and just kept picking on the shorter stacks. Ensan seemed to be the only one who could slow Phillips down, and he cut into the lead by producing the second elimination of the final table.
Ensan raised to 500,000 and Shatilov called, with the action folding to Zhang. After thinking over his options, and covering his face as he struggled with a massive decision, Zhang three-bet all in over the top. Ensan quickly four-bet all in over the top and Shatilov let his 8 8 go, setting up a big coinflip between Zhang’s A K and Ensan’s J J. While Zhang got the A he so desperately needed on the flop, it came along with a killer J and the 9. For the second elimination in a row the 2, a blank, left no outs to the underdog – only this time, Zhang was on the wrong side, exiting in seventh.
Phillips dodged a bullet against Ensan, flopping a straight with Q J against Ensan’s K K on an ace-high board and minimizing his losses after the board paired on the turn. He got most of those chips back on the very next hand in a blind against blind confrontation, as Kiryl Radzivonau open-shoved for just over nine blinds when it folded around to him with Q J. Phillips called with K T and held throughout as it ran out 9 7 4 2 T, sending Radzivonau out in sixth.
Andrea Dato was short-stacked in the big blind three hands later, and when Ensan put him all in from the small blind he called it off with Q T. Ensan’s A 2 was ahead, but the T that hit the flop was enough to give Dato a much-needed double. As Ensan briefly slid backwards in the counts Phillips peaked again, taking control of nearly half the chips in play five-handed.
Lettau got his first knockout as Shatilov made another short-stacked stand. He open-shoved for 11 big blinds with K T and Lettau called with A J for over a third of his stack. The Q 8 6 flop was clean for Lettau, but the J gave Shatilov all the outs in the world going into the river. The T was not one of those 17 outs, however, and Shatilov headed towards the payout cage to collect his fifth place finish.
Dato entered this final table as the only one with a major title, and despite getting a double-up early on he was simply unable to fight his way off the short stack. After hanging on until it was four-handed, Dato three-bet all in for 12 big blinds with A 2 and Essan, the initial raiser, called with A 7. The 6 6 5 flop offered both chop out for Dato and a number of cards that would make Essan’s hand unbeatable. The 4 8 runout gave Ensan a straight, and the reigning WPT Venice champion was out in fourth place.
Ensan pulled off what looked to be a tournament-changing bluff against Phillips, check-raising with J T on an A 8 8 flop and firing again on a 3 turn, eventually getting a fold from Phillips. That hand gave Ensan the chiplead for long enough to post a big blind, when a similar show of aggression backfired and put Phillips on the fast track to victory again. Phillips opened for a minraise to 600,000 on the button with A K, Ensan three-bet to 1.5 million in the big blind with A 2 and Phillips responded with a four-bet to 3.5 million. Ensan quickly five-bet enough to put Phillips all in and got snap-called; the runout was clean for Phillips, and he once again took control.
Action was paused to discuss a three-way deal, leaving an additional €90,000 for the champion. After failing to come to terms the first time around, they played one hand and had the clock paused a second time. With slightly modified terms an agreement was reached, guaranteeing Phillips the biggest payday by some margin no matter how things turned out.
It seemed that Phillips timed the deal perfectly as the chip distribution quickly changed. He looked to have Ensan all but out in a coinflip with A Q against 2 2 after the flop fell A K J, but Phillips lost control of the hand as the 2 on the turn gave Ensan a double. Ensan would pass those chips along just three hands later, as his A T failed to catch up to Letau’s 3 3 – giving Letau the chiplead for the very first time at this final table. After a few more hands, the final three went to the dinner break; Lettau had 26.4 million, Phillips had 14 million and Ensan was hanging on with 4.4 million – just 11 big blinds once they returned.
Ensan didn’t wait long to get those chips in the middle. Lettau raised to 800,000 on the button and Ensan three-bet to 2 million – a significant portion of his stack. After Phillips let it go, Lettau called and they saw a flop of A K 6. Ensan bet 1.3 million, Lettau called and the turn was the 8, which led Ensan to throw in his last few chips. Lettau made a reluctant call and tabled K Q, but he was in great shape to eliminate Ensan and his K 9. The river was the T, and the stage was set for a heads-up battle between Phillips and Lettau.
With a lead of over 5-to-1 to start the match it appeared to be Lettau’s tournament to lose, but Phillips closed the gap quickly by picking up A A on the very first hand to double. Phillips soon pulled ahead and the fight was on, as each player took his turn with a commanding lead, only for the other to return the favor. There would be only three other all in and calls over the next 150 hands, with Phillips taking the first and Lettau evening it back up on the very next hand.
The final all in and ultimately the tournament title would belong to Lettau, but both of these talented online grinders proved their mettle on the biggest live stage either had ever played on.
2014 EPT Barcelona Main Event – Final Table Payouts
- Andre Lettau – €794,058 ($1,050,538)*
- Sam Phillips – €1,021,275 ($1,341,147)*
- Hussein Ensan – €652,667 ($863,478)*
- Andrea Dato – €362,000
- Andrey Shatilov – €286,000
- Kiryl Radzivonau – €224,500
- Ji Zhang – €171,600
- Slaven Popov – €121,300
*Reflects deal made three-handed
Latest posts by Tim Fiorvanti (see all)
- Things Are Getting Real for Joe McKeehen on the Thunderdome Stage - July 14, 2015
- Justin Schwartz Seeks End to Dark Days with Deep Main Event Run - July 14, 2015
- Pierre Neuville Lives Post-Retirement Poker Dreams to the Fullest - July 13, 2015
- Moneymaker Legend Grows as Bruce Peery Takes WSOP Main Event Lead - July 12, 2015
- Justin Bonomo Chips Up, Busts His Friends Deep in WSOP Main Event - July 12, 2015