Ivan Freitez Takes EPT Grand Final Title

The biggest event of the European Poker Tour was decided today, as the newly crowned champion, Ivan Freitez, made history by being the first Venezuelan player to take home an EPT title. This year’s EPT Grand Final drew an impressive field with many of the game’s most competitive pros in attendance. There’s been no clear leader from one day of the competition to the next with the exception of this last day of play where Freitez rode his significant chip lead all the way through to the end.

Day 4 was far more surprising than the final table – what with the unexpected elimination of Day 1B chip leader Ole Kristian Nergard, the sudden assassination of Victor Ramdin, and the dramatic rise and fall of online qualifier Simon Higgins – but that doesn’t mean that the end of tournament action was unexciting. Freitez was very nearly eliminated on Day 4, but this time around his ultra aggressive approach served him especially well, and the Venezuelan pro cinched the lead with little opposition. Here’s how the final table chip counts looked going into Day 5:

Ivan Freitez – 5,995,000

Juan Maceiras – 3,150,000

Andrey Danilyuk – 2,645,000

Eugene Yanayt – 2,420,000

Torsten Brinkmann – 1,875,000

Alex Gomes – 1,670,000

Tamas Lendvei – 1,655,000

Andrew Li – 1,210,000

As you can see, apart from Freitez’s huge gap and Juan Maceiras’ strong second stack, the rest of the field was pretty evenly spaced. Thus most of the final day’s drama came from the smaller stacks jockeying for position. As is so often the case, small stack Li was picked off early in the action as Yanayt sought ought easy targets. Yanayt lost much of his win to Torsten Brinkmann shortly thereafter, but rallied again when he picked off Alex Gomes, once again dashing the pro’s hopes of attaining the much-coveted triple crown this year (Gomes already has WSOP and WPT titles).

Karma quickly caught up to Yanayt, though, when he doubled up Andrey Danilyuk and then hit the wrong cards on an all-in against chipleader Freitez. Only a few hands later, Juan Maceiras also hit the rail – courtesy of Torsten Brinkmann – officially taking the final table down to four. Freitez came back from a long dinner break refreshed and determined and quickly dispatched Danilyuk in fourth place. Freitez struck again only a few minutes later, wiping out Tamas Lendvei and initiating the heads-up portion of the event.

It was Freitez vs. Brinkmann in a one-sided battle to the end. While Brinkmann did double up once early on, it didn’t take Freitez long to break his opponent down. In the end, Freitez won it all with a puny pair of 9s, earning both him and his home country their first EPT title and netting a sweet €1,500,000 payout in the process.

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