Tom Middleton Wins The EPT Barcelona Main Event

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A champion is crowned from the 1,234-player field

The European Poker Tour has just finished its stay in Spain as the Barcelona Main Event came to a close Saturday night. It was an exciting week filled with poker action and various events that included a High Roller and a Super High Roller. The Main Event attracted a huge field of 1,234 players which meant that the first place prize would be worth over one million euros.

Tom Middleton Wins The EPT Barcelona Main Event
Tom “hitthehole” Middleton after winning the Season 10 EPT Barcelona Main Event

The final table of the main event featured that last eight players remaining and the battle to determine the champion lasted for almost five 90-minute levels. When the dust got the chance to settle, Tom “hitthehole” Middleton was the one to take away the PokerStars trophy, a cool SLYDE watch and €942,000. The interesting thing to mention is that Middleton was on a roll this tournament as he simply dominated the field ever since Day 3 when he finished as the chip leader and maintained his position in the days to come.

PokerStars EPT Barcelona Main Event Final Table

The first one to be eliminated from the PokerStars sponsored tournament was Andreas Cristoforou during the 17th hand of the final table. Kresten Nielsen started with a 335,000 raise with pocket Tens and Christoforou went all in for his remaining 1.65 million from the button with A-J of clubs. Kimmo Kurko then moved all-in from the small blind with his red Jacks and the initial raiser got out of the way to let the two battle it out for a huge pot of over 3.5 million chips.

The flop came Qh-Ts-5h, which made Cristoforou quite sad given the fact he would have flopped a set, and Kurko extended his lead to a 71.52% favorite against Christoforou’s A-J suited. The 4s on the turn made it even worse for the player from Cyprus and the 3h sealed the deal.

Eduard Bhaggoe then followed to the rails as he finished in seventh place after losing a race and Benoit Gury finished in sixth to make the final table less crowded.

With two Finns still remaining in the Main Event, fans were hoping for an all-Finnish heads up match. However, this did not happen and Pasi Sormunen was eliminated in fifth during Level 33 of play. Sormunen started from early position with K-7 of diamonds and Luca Fiorini made it more interesting with a three-bet from the small blind while holding As-Kc. After taking some time to think about his next move, Sormunen moved all in for 4.72 million and Fiorini insta-called.

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The 9d-4d-8s flop made it interesting, giving Sormunen a flush draw, but the two Queens to follow on the table did not have any diamonds and Fiorini won the huge pot to jump in the lead as the action was now four-handed.

Fiorini proposed a deal despite having the chip lead and after some discussions, the deal fell through. Within the next half hour, Fiorini was eliminated in fourth place after losing a big part of his stack with a busted straight flush. Shortly after that, Nielsen made a top pair on a 5-8-6 flop while Kurko got a straight and all the chips eventually moved to the middle of the table. With no surprising turn of events, Nielsen was out in third place and collected €440,500.

Heads Up Deal

Middleton and Kurko were the last two players remaining at the final table and they made a little deal before the heads-up play began. Their stacks were quite close so they decided to shrink the gap between the first two prizes. Instead of €1,067,000 and €625,000, the two agreed to play for the title and the winner would get €942,000 while the second finisher would get the remaining €750,000.

The final battle lasted for a pretty long time as both players showed amazing skill. Middleton had the advantage most of the time and he finally got the decisive blow in during Level 36 – the highest level ever reached in a European Poker Tour tournament. At 200,000/400,000/50,000, Kurko opened with an 800,000 bet while holding Ac-4s and Middleton made it two million. Kurko took some time to think and decided to move all in as he was 11.9m behind. Middleton called and showed pocket Fives, which were enough to win the trophy on a K-high board.

Tom Middleton became the first British player to win a major EPT tournament since Season 8. The next stop on the European Poker Tour schedule will be in London as Season 10 continues.


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