Season 12 of the European Poker Tour officially got underway on Tuesday with the first tournaments of the PokerStars.es EPT Barcelona Festival, with a familiar player getting to hoist the first trophy of the new season. As a couple of satellites for the €1K Estrellas Poker Tour Main Event played out, former EPT Grand Final Main Event winner Steve O’Dwyer claimed top honors in the Neymar Jr Charity Home Game, earning himself an entry into the EPT Barcelona Main Event that starts August 24.
A total of 59 players took part in the €150 buy-in event for which the prize pool went to Brazilian football player and PokerStars Sportstar Neymar Jr’s charity organization to help children in need, the Neymar Jr Project Institute. Interestingly, O’Dwyer hadn’t even planned to participate in the tournament, but while perusing the poker room had been encouraged to play by another PokerStars SportStar, Fatima Moreira de Melo, and he became the very last player to register.
Final Table Results
|3||Joae de Moraes||Brazil|
|4||Jose Enrique Munoz||Spain|
|5||Kasra Pour Khomamy||Germany|
|6||Kaleb Goad||United States|
|7||David Longmate||United Kingdom|
|9||Vasile Cristian Hutopilia||Romania|
It was the second such charity event for Neymar Jr’s organization following the one at the Brazilian Series of Poker in Sao Paulo in July. While Neymar Jr was unable to participate this time, he was represented by friends Jo Amancio and Joao Celso, as well as by newly-designated Friend of PokerStars Felipe “Mojave” Ramos.
Others taking part included a couple of Team PokerStars Pros, Leo Margets and Jan Heitmann, Norwegian Championship winner Jonathan Spaeren, as well as Miss Finland and Shark Cage player Sara Chafak and her boyfriend Tuomos Varesvuo.
Donated prizes for those making the final table included the aforementioned EPT Barcelona Main Event seat for the winner (worth €5,300), two seats to the Estrellas Main Event (valued at €1,100 apiece), tickets to Barcelona FC games, Neymar Jr signed T-shirts, Skull Candy headphones, and more. Bounties with additional prizes were also assigned to a few players, with O’Dwyer picking up a couple of Barcelona FC tickets after knocking out Felipe Ramos and a signed shirt for eliminating the player who had encouraged him to play, Fatima Moreira de Melo.
At the final table, O’Dwyer would knock out several more as he continued to accumulate chips, being responsible for the first five eliminations there in Vasile Cristian Hutopilia (ninth), Jan Heitmann (eighth), David Longmate (seventh), Kaleb Goad (sixth), and Kasra Pour Khomamy (fifth).
Thomas Udness would then eliminate Jose Enrique Munoz in fourth, setting up three-handed play between Udness, O’Dwyer, and Joao de Moraes. All three players would take turns leading following a series of all-ins in the fast-structured tournament, with O’Dwyer finally knocking out de Moraes in third and then picking up the title with Udness taking second.
Meanwhile the two satellites that played out saw 51 players qualify for the €1K Estrellas Main Event via a €220 buy-in satellite that attracted 290 runners, then 42 more earn seats in a €120 event with €50 rebuys and add-ons that saw 251 take part.
Last year’s Estrellas Main Event saw an incredible field of 2,560 players, so there’s much anticipation to see whether or not this year’s field can come close to that record-breaking total. There will be three Day 1 starting flights beginning today, with a champion due to be crowned on August 24.
Highlights for the 71-event EPT Barcelona series include:
- €1K Estrellas Main Event (Aug. 19-24)
- €50K Super High Roller (Aug. 22-24)
- €5,300 EPT Main Event (Aug. 24-30)
- €25K One-Day High Roller (Aug. 25)
- €10K High Roller (Aug. 28-30)
PokerNews live reporting team will be on hand with start-to-finish coverage of those high roller events and the EPT Barcelona Main Event.
Photo courtesy Carlos Monti of the PokerStars Blog.