Markku Koplimaa Wins Record-Breaking EPT National; Joey Saha Finishes 7th For €95,100

The 2019 European Poker Tour (EPT) Barcelona is off to a great start with its first headline event  €1,100 EPT National registering a record 4,682 entries and shattering all previous records in EPT history. The total field of the marquee event generated €4,541,540 in total prize pool. The largest share of the prizepool eventually went to Estonia’s Markku Koplimaa who won the title, the trophy and the top prize of €585,500 after beating the American pro Adam Hendrix in heads-up battle.

“It feels awesome, amazing, I don’t have any words for it. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You have grinded four long days and give it your everything, it is really hard to describe,” Koplimaa said.

While Hendrix missed out on the trophy, his maiden Barcelona turned out to be a good one with a payday of €346,500. The in-form player had won a $1,100 buy-in event at Wynn Summer Classic, finished 12th in $10,000 PLO Championship, and 5th in a $1,500 NLH Double-Stack at the WSOP.

Coming back to the EPT National, 702 players entered Day 2 of the event, including five Indians headlined by Jai ‘Joey’ Saha (556k). Among Indians, only Jai Saha entered Day 3, while the rest of the Indians exited on Day 2 itself and they included Bharath Janardhan (392nd for €2,230), Raman Gujral (425th for €2,230),  female pro Muskan Sethi (529th for €1,790 ) and Sumit Asrani (571st for €1,790).

Day 3 saw a total of 46 players returning to the felts with Barry McGovern (7,240,000) as the chip leader. India’s Saha was the 14th largest stack among the survivors and he did pretty well to chip up by eliminating Michael Soyza in 32nd place. At one point, he was second in chips but he then lost a few big pots and his stack came down. Eventually, he was eliminated in 7th place by the start of Day 3 chip leader – Barry McGovern. Saha earned a good €95,100 (~INR 76.44 Lac), his best score till date. This was second final table in Barcelona this year for Saha as the budding player had also finished 9th in the 888poker LIVE Barcelona Main Event just a few months back.

Coming back to the eventual champion – Markku Koplimaa, he began final day as the chip leader with 39,025,000. There were six players who returned for the final day and Eldaras Rafijevas held the 2nd largest stack with 38,475,000. The early action was fast-paced with several all-in showdowns and it was Barry McGovern who dominated it. He was even responsible for the first casualty in Jose Quintas who hit rail in 6th place. The next to fall was McGovern himself. He exited in 5th place when he got it in with A9 for a top pair but Koplimaa had the best of it with 76 for 2 pair and he won.

It was Koplimaa who dominated final day action next. He climbed up to 100 Million in chips when he busted Eldaras Rafijevas in 3rd place. The latter shoved with Ks Kh and Koplimaa called with As 5d. Koplimaa found an Ace on the turn, which was enough to win him the pot and take lead into HU.

Koplimaa began heads-up with a massive chip lead over Adam Hendrix. The dual did not last long and was over within just 10 minutes. In the final hand, Koplimaa raised to 2.7 Million and Hendrix holding Kc 5s moved all-in for 25 Million, which Koplimaa called with 8d 8s. The board ran out 8h 7h 5h 10h 10c, giving Koplimaa a Full House to win his first-ever EPT title for €585,500 (INR 4.72 crores).

Final Table Payouts (EURO):

  1. Markku Koplimaa – €585,500
  2. Adam Hendrix – €346,500
  3. Eldaras Rafijevas – €263,200
  4. Matias Arosuo – €212,100
  5. Barry McGovern – €168,100
  6. Jose Quintas – €129,100
  7. Jai Saha – €95,100
  8. Lawrence Whyte – €67,500
  9. Jose Prieto Pulido – €54,670