In a game with such strong ties to math and statistics it can be hard to factor something like fate into the equation. In the case of Julian Track in the 2013 EPT Prague Main Event, however, it becomes hard to deny.
After shooting into the chiplead in a massive pot with pocket tens on Day 5 of the tournament, the same hand played a factor in several hands early on in the final table. Track eventually ran through everyone at the final table except George Sotiropoulos and, after an extended heads-up battle, the same hand would appear once more.
When play reached the heads-up stage, Track and Sotiropoulos chopped it and left a little money and the title on the table. While this would generally lead to a brief heads-up match they’d go on to battle for over three-and-a-half hours with Sotiropoulos getting two double-ups and refusing to go away.
After Sotiropoulos shoved from the button, Track looked down at the T T once more. He called and saw Sotiropoulos’ Q J, hoping that the pocket tens would give him the victory in his third all in chance for the title. The K 9 2 flop gave Track’s outs to Sotiropoulos but he’d still have to hit to stay alive. The 4 on the turn was a blank, as was the 3 on the river.
Track, who fought his way through illness and a general uncomfortability at the final table, claimed the title and just under $1 million for his efforts. This was his first career live event and, as he stated several times over the course of this tournament, once he was done with this tournament and the Aussie Millions Main Event, which he also qualified for online, he would be done with live poker.
Jorma Nuutinen was the only player with under 1 million to start the final table, and he’d find himself as the first player all in and at risk. He three-bet all in with A 9 and Max Silver called with K J, with the A 6 2 8 T runout giving him a much-needed double. It would take over an hour, but the second all in and call would also involve Nuutinen.
He opened to 100,000 in late position with A K and Stephen Chidwick three-bet to 225,000 to his immediate left, also holding A K. Track looked down at T T in the big blind, the same hand that gave him the chiplead on Day 5, and cold four-bet to 650,000. Nuutinen five-bet shoved and Chidwick struggled with his decision, eventually folding.
Track wasn’t happy with his options either, but he eventually called and put Nuutinen at risk. The T 8 4 was just what Track was looking for, and the 7 sealed the deal. The 5 was an afterthought of a river, and Nuutinen was the first to make his exit. After finishing 10th in this event in 2012, Nuutinen’s second consecutive deep run ended in eighth.
While the expectation was that the final table would move quite slowly considering how deep the stacks were, the length of the seven-handed session was still extensive. After more than three hours of the chips moving around in every direction, a little more in Track’s than anyone else’s, the next elimination would finally come together quite quickly.
Zdravko Duvnjak moved all in from the cutoff and Ole Schemion called in the big blind with A K. Duvnjak had two live cards with T 8 but the K 9 2 flop was a disaster. The K had Duvnjak drawing dead and the 4 officially sealed it, with Schemion stacking the chips as Duvnjak went out in seventh.
Silver spent a long stretch near the top of the chip counts, but the final table was mostly unkind to the man who has dominated the UKIPT of late. Action folded around to Silver in middle position and he shoved for just shy of 20 big blinds, prompting a few minutes of thought from Chidwick. Chidwick eventually reshoved and drove the rest of the players out of the pot, pitting his 7 7 against countryman Silver’s A T.
The flop was a great one for Silver, coming down T 8 4, and the 4 left Silver to dodge just two outs going into the river. The 7, however, brought a devastating end to Silver’s event, giving Chidwick a full house on the river. Silver hugged Chidwick and left the stage with a smile, settling for sixth place.
Schemion’s stack fluctuated pretty wildly during this final table, but just before the dinner break he had his best chance to put together a serious stack. Sotiropoulous minraised to 200,000, Track three-bet to 540,000 and Schemion cold four-bet all in for 3,382,000. After Sotiropoulos let his hand go Track eventually made the call, but he was in rough shape with 7 7 to Schemion’s T T.
With a chance to shoot all the way up to second in chips, all Schemion had to do was dodge a seven or some other unlikely runout to put himself in contention. The 8 2 2 flop was as clean as can be, but the 7 brought a devastating turn to the hand. With one card left to hit his two-outer, the 9 brought a swift and dramatic end to Schemion’s run in fifth place.
They went to dinner four-handed with Track in control, Sotiropoulos comfortable in second and Chidwick and Ka Kwan Lau well behind. Lau was the shortest stack by a fair margin, but he got a double through Track when his 4 4 held against Track’s Q T despite the sweat of the 8 5 3 9 7 runout. Lau pulled virtually even with Chidwick, but his good fortune would be short-lived.
Sotiropoulos minraised to 240,000 on the button and Lau called in the big blind, with the flop falling K 8 2. It went check, check and the turn was the 7 – and that’s when the action happened. Lau bet 275,000, Sotiropoulos raised to 755,000 and Lau went deep into the tank. He eventually clicked it back to 1,250,000, Sotiropoulous shoved and Lau quickly called.
Lau’s K T gave him top pair but Sotiropoulos had 8 7 for a turned two-pair. The 4 on the river didn’t help Lau’s hand and his tournament was ended in fourth place.
Chidwick was left with an uphill climb to get back into it and he’d soon find himself all in as well. Track folded the button, Chidwick limped the small blind, Sotiropoulos raised to 340,000 Sotiropoulos, and Chidwick raised all in for 2,785,000. Sotiropoulos eventually called with K Q and while Chidwick’s A T was ahead it wasn’t by much. The Q was in the door, followed by the 6 and 3, giving Sotiropoulos a commanding lead. Neither the 4 nor the Q would save Chidwick, who got his second consecutive third place finish in 1,000-plus player fields.
With Track feeling desperately ill, he agreed to an even chop with Sotiropoulos that gave each player €700,000 and left €25,700 and the title for the winner despite holding a 55/45 advantage when heads-up play began.
2013 EPT Prague Main Event – Final Table Payouts
- Julian Track – €725,700 ($996,170)
- George Sotiropoulos – €700,000
- Stephen Chidwick – €378,000
- Ka Kwan Lau – €283,800
- Ole Schemion – €218,300
- Max Silver – €160,200
- Zdravko Duvnjak – €118,200
- Jorma Nuutinen – €84,600
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