Stephen Garner, a US poker pro based in Henderson, NV, has won a record-field PokerStars EPT Prague, steamrolling the final table in the process.
Garner, who we last saw on the final table of the Millionaire Maker event at this year’s World Series where he finished sixth, more than doubled his lifetime live tournament earnings in one fell swoop, as he built up an unassailable chip lead to take the $1.2 million prize.
Garner began the final table at the Hilton Hotel in Prague with a big chip lead which, by the first break, had swollen to twice the amount of his nearest competitor, Swede Anton Bertilsson.
It was like his chips were breeding. At three handed he held around 28 million of the 33 million chips in play, and by the time he faced Bertilsson heads-up for the title he held a 7.5:1 chip lead over his opponent. It had been one of the quickest final tables in the history of the EPT and Garner had made it look easy.
“I woke up with a lot of premium hands and won a lot of critical flips,” GranerÂ shrugged, when speaking to the PokerStars blog after his victory.Â “I ran very pure.”
Heads-up, Bertilsson put up a fight, however, and managed to cling on for a whole hour, doubling up early with A-10 versus Graner’s pocket sevens.
Unfortunately he gave most of those chips back on the subsequent hand. The final moment came when Graner moved all in from the button with 4-4 and Graner was forced to call with K-5, finding himself in an unexpected coin flip.
A board of J 6 3 Q 10 sealed the deal, and Graner crowned champion of the very first EPT he had ever played.
“I planned and prepared for this tournament for several months,” Graner said. “I played well and ran very well. I’m ecstatic, it hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m sure I’ll wake up feeling pretty good tomorrow.”
Elsewhere, the High Roller Event was won by Russia’s Andrey Zaichenko.
Fresh from this year’s deep run at the WSOP Main Event, where he made the final two tables, Zaichenko outlasted 309 players in the â‚¬10,000 buy-in event, and a final table that included Dan Shak and Simon Deadman, to take home $Â 606,924. The â‚¬48,500 + â‚¬1,500 Super High Roller event, meanwhile, was won by fellow Russian Leonid Markin who charged past 42 runners to win a $947,687 first prize.
EPT Prague Main Event ResultsÂ
1 – Stephen Graner, United States, â‚¬969,000
2 – Anton Bertilsson, Sweden, â‚¬582,720
3 – Jonathan Wong, United Kingdom, â‚¬410,190
4 – Fabio Sperling, Germany, â‚¬308,180
5 – Simon Mattsson, Sweden, â‚¬235,700
6 – Bjorn Wiesler, Germany, â‚¬172,340
7 – Remi Castaignon, France, â‚¬129,390
8 – Miltiadis Kyriakides, Greece, â‚¬92,610