Aaron Gustavson Crowned PokerStars EPT London Champion 2009

Aaron Gustavson has won the largest tournament ever to take place in the UK to become the 2009 EPT London Champion.The 23 year old American had to overcome a field of 730 players to take down the £850,000 first prize and declared:
“I’m speechless, totally overwhelmed. I don’t think it’s going to hit me for a quite a while. Having this title is amazing – a dream come true”
Gustavson entered the final table as leader although all eyes were on the 2008 WSOP Champion Peter Eastgate who was close behind him in chips. Moroccan Karim Bennani was first to exit in 8th place and it was 2 hours before any further eliminations took place when PokerStars Team Asia Pro Raymond Wu was knocked out in seventh place and Rui Milhomens busted in sixth within minutes of each other.
By this time Eastgate had taken a brief chip lead before Gustavson made a set with his pocket 8’s to take out the last remaining Brit in the competition Dominic Cullen. Before long Norwegian Martin Gudvangen then German Nikolai Senninger were out leaving only Gustavson with a 2-to-1 chip advantage over Eastgate remaining in the tournament.
Following the dinner break the two finalist sat down for heads up play but after only the first hand Eastgate found his stack reduced by half when he raised pre-flop and got involved in a big pot only to fold to a raise on the river. Eastgate was now at a 6 to 1 disadvantage and six hands later raised with A 9 and pushed all in to the re-raise only to find himself badly dominated by Gustavson’s A-Q.
Despite finishing the the runner up, Eastgate was satisfied with his £530,000 performance and said: “I’m happy with the way I played getting to heads-up. Heads-up was very few hands, but until the last hand, I can’t fault myself for anything. I won a half million pounds, so you can’t really ask for much more than that.”
Gustavson’s won the PokerStarsSunday Warm Up for $135,010 in July, but his latest £850,000 first prize finish and free seat at the coming EPT Monte Carlo Grand Final eclipses his career achievements thus far. Gustavson gave an insight into the tactics which helped him lift the title:
“There were like three or four shorter stacks, so I couldn’t open very wide because I knew they’d be shoving light. I had to make sure I could call their shoves when I was opening, so I definitely just sat back and waited for hands I could call their shoves with. I didn’t need to go crazy. If I was in late position I could raise light, but I pretty much just played solid hands.”

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