The PokerStars.com Estrellas Poker Tour Season 2 went out with a bang over the weekend on the party island of Ibiza, Spain. The event attracted 426 players to Casino Ibiza for five days of fun-fueled action and, of course, to party. The €910 + €90 buy-in created a prize pool of €372,154, and the winner took home €92,100. Despite the tournament, and the final table being dominated by Spanish players, it was a PokerStars qualifier from Poland who grabbed the top prize.
Grzegorz Gosk, 20, from Olsztyn, Poland, is an IT student who has been playing poker for three years. He wasn't noted as an aggressive player by his opponents but was fearless and not afraid to make big calls. He ended Day 1 as chip leader, and although he lost that distinction throughout the next two days, had put himself in a position where he was never in grave danger at all during the final table.
He entered the final table below average — fifth in chips — but his style was effective because there were so many aggressive players surrounding him. He picked up key hands at the right times and was also fortunate to see his ace-jack beat the pocket kings of the very dangerous Rael Paez.
He also had to defeat another formidable opponent heads-up — Estrellas Season 2 leaderboard winner Alvaro Santamaria, who had an incredible season. Santamaria finished third in Alicante for €26,800, 11th in Madrid, 66th at the EPT Grand Final in Madrid for €20,000 and he also won San Sebastian €200 NLHE side event. He was eliminated in Ibiza when his ace-four couldn't overcome Gosk's ace-queen, however his consolation was winning the buy-ins to all Season 3 events.
Most of Spain's top players were in attendance. We already noted Paez, who was joined on the tables by the likes of Leo Margets, Alvaro Marino (Estrellas TLD winner Season 1), Maria Macieras, Mikel Allende, Nacho "Krusty" Guerra and Team PokerStars Pros Juan Macieras and Juan Manuel Pastor. Those notables who added an International flavor were Christophe and Mattias De Meulder and UKIPT Cork champion Sam Rasavi.
Rasavi fell just short of the money, and Pastor fell agonizingly short of the final table. On the penultimate day, play progressed quickly, going from 50 players down to one table of nine. From there play went on for two hours before Pastor fell in the early hours when his pocket sixes lost to Jeff Zsolt Soros' ace-ten.
This stop on the tour was about more than just the poker. If you go to Ibiza, you have to party! The players were treated to nights out at Pacha, Space, and the official players party that was held at the enormous and world-famous Privilege nightclub. There were also daytime activities to absorb, if you had the energy, to make up a hugely rich experience for all involved.
Season 3 kicks off in the new year and I would recommend anyone who has the chance, to pay the Estrellas Poker tour a visit for poker, fun and a whole lot more in the sun.