Sotirios Koutoupas Defeats Eugene Katchalov To Win EPT Deauville Main Event
At the start of the day, we knew the elite eight of the 2014 PokerStars.fr European Poker Tour Deauville Main Event final table had the potential to deliver a fantastic day of poker, and they lived up to expectations. There was a great mixture of players making up the final table; Oliver Price hadn't planned to play the event in the first place and was in with a chance of glory, two players who won there seat to the Main Event for just a few Euros in Rustem Muratov and Carlo De Benedittis, and then there was Sotirios Koutoupas who had already finished runner-up in an EPT previously.
There was also the main story of Team PokerStars Pro Eugene Katchalov, who was chasing poker's Triple Crown. After winning his World Poker Tour title back in 2007 for $2,482,605, and a World Series of Poker gold bracelet in 2011 for $122,909, it was now time for that coveted EPT title. He was close in 2011 when he finished third at EPT Barcelona, but was it time to complete the feat in Deauville? The answer would be no, and it would be Koutoupas who would emerge victorious.
2014 EPT Deauville Main Event Final Table Results
|7||Carlo De Benedittis||€93,000|
The final day started slowly, and the first couple of hands were settled preflop; there were no flops in the first two orbits.
Things would change soon enough, though. The first player to bust was Anthony Lerust. Koutoupas opened to 105,000 from under the gun plus one with the . Action quickly folded to Lerust in the small blind, he pushed all in for 1,005,000 with the , and the big blind folded. Koutoupas called and the last Frenchman (Lerust) was at risk.
The on the flop brought Koutoupas four outs. The on the turn gave the Greek player even more outs, then the on the river hit him with two pair. The man from Greece got what he needed, and a disappointed Lerust shook hands with all the players at the table as he made his way to the exit.
It would only be the first of two times that Koutoupas would crack aces at the final table, and it would become the first of two back-to-back eliminations as De Benedittis was busted on the next hand.
From under the gun plus one, Oliver Price opened to 100,000 with the , De Benedittis three-bet shoved for 365,000 with the , and Price called. The flop meant that neither player wanted to hit their kicker now. The turn and river kept Price in front and De Benedittis was lost in seventh place.
Muratov would be all but felted soon after De Benedittis. Eli Heath opened the cutoff to 100,000 holding the . Behind him sat the last qualifier Muratov with the , and he shoved all-in for a little over 1,500,000 million. Muratov wouldn't find his foe in Heath, because Price was behind him holding the and called all-in. After Heath folded, the board didn't improve anyone. Muratov was left with just 10,000, two antes at the time, and was eliminated shortly after.
Muratov would first quadruple up with pocket kings against Harry Law's . The next hand, he moved all in for 40,000 with the . Price isolated from the button with the and got calls from Law with the and Katchalov with the . This hand would be an important one, not only because the tournament would eventually lose Muratov, but more so as Katchalov lost a large portion of his stack.
On the flop, Price bet 125,000 and Katchalov was the only caller. The turn improved Price to trips, but both players checked and the hit the river. Katchalov checked to Price, who bet 320,000. Guest commentator Jon Spinks thought that Price's bet was too big to get paid off, but Katchalov did call and saw the bad news. Muratov was gone in sixth place, whilst Katchalov was now the shortest stack of the five remaining players.
Katchalov doubled, however, and managed to turn things around. Law opened the small blind to 180,000 with the . "Ow, this can get messy," said co-commentator Marc Convey as the graphics revealed Katchalov had the in the big blind. Katchalov made it 450,000 to go, and then action was back on Law. He announced all in, Katchalov double checked his cards and called.
Law frowned on getting such a quick call. He might have expected to be dominated and probably was okay seeing he was in a coinflip situation. The flop was safe for Katchalov. Law had some backdoor outs, but the on the turn ensured he needed to hit an ace or jack to win and eliminate the Triple Crown-chasing Katchalov. The on the river was a blank, and Katchalov doubled up into second place.
The biggest hand of the tournament would happen with five players left. You could hear the "oooohs" and "aaaahs" from the tournament room as soon as it happened.
Law opened under the gun to 160,000 with the . Koutoupas was in the small blind and had a big hand with the . You could feel the tension in the air, and the commentators of the live stream already foresaw big action.
Koutoupas made it 440,000 to go and Price quickly folded his big blind. Getting a three-bet with pocket aces, Christmas came early for Law, it seemed. He four-bet to 985,000, and action fell back on Koutoupas. The Greek shoved all in and Law immediately called, creating the biggest pot of the tournament with 8,230,000 in chips in the middle. Law's graphic said he was an 87% favourite to win the hand. But then those same graphics showed a mere 2% after the flop when the fell and gave Koutoupas a nearly unbeatable flush. Law now needed runner-runner straight flush for a split pot, or runner-runner to win it, but it wouldn't happen. The landed on the turn, and it was all over for Law. The on the river was there just to make it official. Law exited in fifth place, and he took home €164,600 after suffering the horrible beat.
On the next hand, Heath was eliminated in fourth place for €207,800. From first position, he moved all in for 1,230,000 (12 big blinds) with the . Next to act was Koutoupas, and he called with the . Both blinds folded, and it was time to go to showdown.
Yet again, Heath had got it in good, but again he'd be brutally out-flopped as the first three community cards were . Heath now had just an 11% shot to stay in the tournament. He didn't get there on the turn or the river and shook the hand of his opponents as he left the table.
Price was about to hit the rail next. Already short, he shoved from the big blind with the after Koutoupas had opened the small blind to 250,000 holding the . A snap-call came from Koutoupas.
Commentator Joe Stapleton jokingly said that Koutoupas would have this confrontation locked up after the flop, given the way he had been running at the final table.
"Ha!" Stapleton shouted as the window card became visible. The and that accompanied the queen for the flop gave Price something of a chance. Only one out of twenty times Price would still win this situation, though.
"So you're telling me there's a chance?!"
The on the turn turned Price's 5% hand into an 18% hand. With an up and down, every ten and five would now give him the much needed double up. All other cards would mean he was out. The river was a , and the fairy tale was over for Price. Price, who wasn't planning on playing this event until Dominik Nitsche convinced him to do so, walked away with €271,200.
The players went on a small break for the stage to be to set up for the heads-up match. Koutoupas had 15,050,000 in chips and Katchalov had just 4,990,000. As the blinds were 50,000/100,000 — 150 big blinds versus 50 big blind — and there was more than enough room to wiggle around with.
Katchalov was close to securing that Triple Crown title, but in the end he fell short. The heads-up match was only going in one direction and that was to Greece. Koutoupas played well the entire final table and ran just as hot, a dangerous combination that Katchalov would fall victim to. Koutoupas held the chip lead all day long, and Katchalov wouldn't even come close heads up. Katchalov made some failed hero calls, but would soon find himself all in with a 70% chance to win.
Koutoupas opened to 200,000 from the button with the , and Katchalov made it 500,000 to go from the big blind with the . Katchalov started the hand with 3,605,000 and would soon have to risk all those 36 big blinds as Koutoupas shoved all in. Katchalov didn't have to think twice and called.
The flop was a blow for Katchalov. Koutoupas had his hands on his head as he couldn't believe it. He didn't want to celebrate to early, but everyone already knew this wasn't going to go wrong. The on the turn made some people hold their breath as a four could split the pot, but the was a blank and Koutoupas' hands went from his head to in the air.
Eugene Katchalov shook hands with the winner, still smiling and soon enough sipping champagne with his Greek opponent. We talked to him right after the tournament was done:
And with that, Koutoupas emerged as the victor and earned himself €614,000 in first-place prize money. After finishing second in the 2012 EPT Prague Main Event, this is surely a sweet feeling for Koutoupas to come out on top.