Steve O’Dwyer has been one of the most consistent tournament players on the circuit over the last three years, crushing side events and winning a $5,000 event at Bellagio Cup event in 2011 and a WPT National title in 2012. O’Dwyer also made three EPT final tables and three WPT final tables in that time, but before Sunday he still didn’t have a major live title to his name.
That’s all in the past now, though, as O’Dwyer beat out one of the most talented final tables in recent memory on his way to winning the EPT Grand Final Main Event and €1,224,000 ($1,588,997). He came back from a deficit heads-up against Andrew Pantling, who at times in this tournament was virtually unstoppable, on his way to victory.
It all came to an end in dramatic fashion, which should make for very good TV. O’Dwyer raised to 240,000 and Pantling called to bring a J 8 8 flop. Pantling checked his flush draw, O’Dwyer bet 300,000 and Pantling called, bringing the 4. Pantling checked his newly-made flush, O’Dwyer bet 600,000 and Pantling check-raised to 1.425 million. O’Dwyer thought it over for quite some time, but couldn’t get away from trips and raised Pantling enough to put him all-in. Pantling instantly called, putting his last 3.6 million in the pot with a chance to take back the chiplead.
The river wouldn’t cooperate, though, with the 8 giving O’Dwyer the win with four-of-a-kind. Pantling, who shot down any talk of a deal three-handed or heads-up, was quick to congratulate O’Dwyer on his victory despite the brutal nature of the final hand.
The final table began with an air of excitement, with familiar faces in almost every seat. Grant Levy, one of the best Australian players in the world with over $1.8 million in lifetime earnings along with APPT and ANZPT titles, was somehow the least recognizable player at the table. Levy also entered as the shortest stack, and was the first to fall at Pantling’s hand at this final table. After three-betting preflop with A K, Levy went all-in on a J 7 3 only to get a quick call from Pantling, as he’d flopped quite a bit with J T. The A on the turn gave Pantling the flush, knocking Levy out in eighth place.
Jason Mercier was the second-shortest stack at the start of the day, but he got a much-needed double through Daniel Negreanu when his T 9 flopped trips to beat A K. After losing much of it back, though Mercier made another stand. Johnny Lodden opened to 80,000 and Mercier three-bet all-in for 650,000. Pantling called, Lodden folded and Mercier was at risk, well behind with Q T against A Q. The board wouldn’t provide any help to Mercier as he went out in seventh.
Negreanu made his biggest push towards the lead at the expense of Jake Cody and Noah Schwartz, eliminating both of them on the same hand. Negreanu opened to 115,000, Schwartz three-bet all-in for 630,000 and Cody four-bet all-in over the top for 860,000. That bet was snap-called as Negreanu had A A against Cody’s J J and Schwartz’s K T, and when it ran out Q 8 7 8 T Negreanu had simultaneously eliminated two dangerous players and increased his stack to 3.5 million, pulling him closer to O’Dwyer and Pantling. Cody had more chips and was awarded fifth place, but he (along with Mercier) failed to break the nine year drought without a two-time EPT winner, pushing that unlikelihood into the 10th year of the tour.
Things changed quickly for Negreanu, though, and in two hands he went from a strong stack to the rail. Both came at the hands of Lodden, and the first one was particularly brutal as Negreanu’s Q Q were cracked by Lodden’s 9 9 as the 9 fell on the turn. Negreanu would soon be all-in with 4 4 against Lodden’s A Q, staying ahead on the K T 2 flop and 9 turn. The J river gave Lodden the nut straight, though, and Negreanu would have to settle for fourth. Negreanu’s has already won over $1.5 million in 2013, along with his fifth career WSOP bracelet.
Pantling opened up a big lead, with Lodden in second and O’Dwyer in third. That all changed when a raising war led to an unusual coinflip for O’Dwyer’s tournament life. Lodden opened to 120,000, O’Dwyer three-bet to 375,000 and Lodden four-bet to 880,000. O’Dwyer five-bet all-in for just under 2.5 million, and after getting a count Lodden elected to call with Q T. He had two live overs against O’Dwyer’s 6 6, but the A J 6 7 9 runout kept O’Dwyer ahead as they essentially switched stacks.
O’Dwyer would get the rest in short order. After he opened to 150,000 on the button, Lodden three-bet to 400,000 and O’Dwyer called. The flop was T 7 4, Lodden bet 350,000 and O’Dwyer called. The turn was the 3, Lodden went all-in for 1.45 million and O’Dwyer called with A T, which had Lodden’s A J in bad shape. The river was the K and Lodden, who was among the chipleaders throughout the tournament, was left to settle for third place.
Pantling started with the chiplead but O’Dwyer would keep chipping away until he took a slight lead going into the dinner break. They eventually played heads-up for about a full level, with an hour-long dinner break thrown in, but they wouldn’t play long once they got back.
In what was the biggest pot of the tournament at the time, O’Dwyer opened to 240,000, Pantling three-bet to 800,000 and O’Dwyer called. The A 8 3 flop brought a bet of 975,000 from Pantling and a call from O’Dwyer, bringing a Q on the turn. Pantling bet again, this time for 1,575,000, which O’Dwyer also called. The A on the river made Pantling slow down, and O’Dwyer checked behind, showing A T for trips which was good against Pantling’s 6 3.
A seemingly made-for-TV hand would bring the tournament to a close, an ending that could have been delayed for some time considering the sizes of the stacks. Pantling got his money in good, but O’Dwyer hit his card at the right moment and made quads to seal his first major title.
This was the last Main Event of Season 9 of the EPT, though there is still a €100,000 Super High Roller that will begin on Monday. Season 10 will begin in late August in Barcelona.
Here are the final table payouts for the 2013 PokerStars and Monte Carlo Casino EPT Grand Final Main Event.
- Steve O’Dwyer – €1,224,000
- Andrew Pantling – €842,000
- Johnny Lodden – €467,000
- Daniel Negreanu – €321,000
- Jake Cody – €251,000
- Noah Schwartz – €189,000
- Jason Mercier – €137,000
- Grant Levy – €103,000
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