Poland's Sebastian Malec Wins 2016 EPT Barcelona Main Event

This year’s EPT Barcelona €5,300 buy-in tournament drew the biggest main event field in the European Poker Tour’s history. The 1,785 players who subsequently entered the event helped create a prize pool worth €8,657,250, and seven days of action later it was Polish player Sebastian Malec who would eventually walk away with the title, as well as €1,122,800 ($1,271,042) in prize money.
The huge turnout saw 359 players receive cash payouts, and amongst the more notable pros seeing a return on their investments was Philipp Gruissem in 99th (€11,170), Eugene Katchalov in 67th (€15,410), Jason Mercier in 50th (€17,920), Byron Kaverman in 32nd (€21,300), and Sam Grafton in 30th (€26,550).
German player Uri Reichenstein subsequently entered the final table in pole position, and proceeded to eliminate Zorlu Er in 5th, and Thomas De Rooij in 4th. Sebastian Malec (A-8) then took care of the UK’s Adam Owen (Q-J) in 3rd to usher in heads-up against Reichenstein for the title.
At this stage, Reichenstein held a 32m to 21.35m chip lead over Malec, and the battle would rage on for a further 5 hours before the deciding hand was played. Malec (Ah-3h) moved all-in on a Qh-Js-6h-8h-8d board, and after Reichenstein (10h-9c) made the call with a straight, he had to settle for a runner-up finish worth $904,436. Malec’s ace-high flush, however, won him the title, with the 21-year-old Pole also becoming one of the EPT’s youngest ever champions.
Furthermore, Malec only qualified for the €5,300 Main Event via a €27 online satellite. Before playing poker, the Polish player had played competitive chess from the age of 6 to 15, but started following the game after his chess coach travelled to Las Vegas to compete in the 2010 World Series of Poker. Whilst studying at the University of Warwick in 2014, Malec said he fell in love with the European Poker Tour, and elaborating further explained:
“It [EPT11 London] was only two hours away so I thought why not? I was reading literally every update from the tournaments back then and watching all the live streams.”
Final Table Results:
1: Sebastian Malec $1,258,210
2: Uri Reichenstein $904,436
3: Adam Owen $724,188
4: Thomas De Rooij $599,633
5: Zorlu Er $483,595
6: Andreas Chalkiadakis $370,123
7: Harcharan Dogra Dogra $258,803
8: Pavel Plesuv $185,964

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