Coeur d'Alene, Idaho's Kevin MacPhee was crowned King of Berlin Saturday night, taking home his second major title in the German city by winning the 2015 World Series of Poker Europe Main Event.
MacPhee captured his second WSOP bracelet of the year and an €883,000 first-place prize beating a field of 312 others some five years after his breakthrough victory came at the Berlin stop on Season 6 of the European Poker Tour.
"It feels pretty good obviously," he told PokerNews. "It was a goal of mine just to win one bracelet let alone win two in the same year. I'm not the greatest mixed game player. I'm more of a no-limit tournament specialist, so it's very difficult for me to win two bracelets in one year. It's pretty cool.
"Berlin is a just a great city. It's a 24-hour city and I come here knowing that even if I have a bad time at the poker table, I'm going to have a great time in the city. I would love to live here some time."
After busting the legendary Erik Seidel in a huge cooler hand to set up the six-handed final two days ago, MacPhee started the final Saturday with a massive chip lead, making this his tournament to win or lose.
"Away from the table anything but a win would have disappointed me," he said. "All the pressure was on me. These guys could come in and play pretty fearlessly. They need to ladder, but the pressure was on me to win. I'm supposed to win here a lot of the time. But that's getting away from the table and thinking about the big picture. In the trenches, I just play every hand the best I can, be stack size aware, be ICM aware and just trying to make good decisions."
A short-stacked Felix Bleiker was the first to say goodbye, busting sixth when he ran the into David Lopez' and couldn't beat it.
German hopeful Kilian Kramer then allowed MacPhee to extend his lead, running the into MacPhee's and getting flushed out fifth.
Andrew Lichtenberger then bowed out fourth when he ran the into MacPhee's , giving Macphee more than two thirds of the chips in play three handed.
JC Alvarado soon got the last of his chips in with the dominating Lopez' , but Lopez rivered two pair to send Alvarado to the rail and enter heads-up with MacPhee down by a little more than a 2:1 margin.
Lopez crept back into it winning more than his fair share of pots and catching MacPhee on a bluff. However, MacPhee quickly recovered, getting the best of Lopez in consecutive pots. Lopez fought back, winning consecutive pots of his own as the heads-up battle began to reach epic proportions.
Lopez got to even when MacPhee took a few swings at him with an open ender that missed, and Lopez took an almost 2:1 lead himself, pushing MacPhee off a big pot with a massive river bet a little later.
MacPhee snatched the lead back, putting in a three bet preflop with , flopping a double gutter and getting a huge river bet paid off after making Broadway. He then built that into an insurmountable sum soon after, flopping a full house and calling a check-raise and two more big barrels to drag a sizable pot when Lopez rivered a flush.
It wasn't long before MacPhee got it in with a weak ace against an increasingly short Lopez and pocket kings, making a wheel to secure his second bracelet of the year, having won the 2015 WSOP $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em Turbo this past summer.
"It was an absolutely super tough end game," he said. "You have legends all around you. I just tried to play my cards pretty close to the vest and just pick my spots really carefully.
"I took a big risk being a kid from Idaho and coming out to Europe, leaving everything behind, including family and friends, and just putting my stuff in storage to come out on tour. That was seven years ago and I've been on the road since then. I felt validated when I won the EPT, and yeah, the bracelet was really nice. This is just the icing on the cake. Now I can start to cement my legacy. It sounds kind of douchey to say it like that, but I think this starts to secure my reputation as an elite player. There's a lot of players with one bracelet. Two bracelets, you thin out a lot of people. Two bracelets and an EPT title, there's not too many people that have that."
Here's how the final table finished up:
|1||Kevin MacPhee||United States||€883,000|
|4||Andrew Lichtenberger||United States||€225,000|