EPT Grand Finals

European Poker Tour (EPT) Logo

The grand final of the European Poker Tour is a highly anticipated poker event. Millions of spectators watch from home, and around a thousand people compete each year for this coveted title. The final table of the grand final features some of the best poker players in the world, and sometimes includes complete unknowns. This always interests poker fans around the world.

OnlinePokerSitesUS.com proudly offers play-by-play recaps of each season of European Poker Tour Grand Final action.

EPT Finals – Season 1

The final table for the inaugural European Poker Tour Grand Final showcased a mix of young, innovative players and older, experienced ones. Alexander Stevic, who won the Barcelona Open 2004 (the first EPT event), and Brandon Schaefer, who won the event in Deauville, were both relative unknowns at the time of their big wins. Schaefer entered the final table as the chip leader. Rob Hollink provided the counterpoint to their inexperience with his years of experience and solid wins, which would lead to him being named European Poker Player of the Year in 2004. Another notable player at the table was England’s Ben Grundy, who remains largely unknown despite earning over five million dollars playing poker.

As the tournament began, the players and chip amounts were as follows:

Player NameCountrySeat No.Chip Amount
Brandon SchaeferUSA7488500
Romain FerioloFrance1475000
Rob HollinkNetherlands8384000
Kevin SeegerUSA5364500
Abdulaziz AbdulazizFrance3181000
Ben GrundyEngland490500
Mikhail UstinovRussia668500
Alexander StevicSweden257500
Rob Hollink

Ustinov’s short stack plagued him when, on the seventh hand, he went all in with pocket queens. Alexander Stevic held pocket jacks, and when a jack fell during the flop, Ustinov was eliminated. Stevic, who started with the smallest stack, secured his position at the table. Rob Hollink then quickly eliminated Ben Grundy, adding Grundy’s small stack to his own and putting Grundy in seventh place.

A fifth place finish for Seeger

Roman Feriolo, who began with the second-largest stack, started losing chips rapidly. Just when it seemed he would be the next to go, he eliminated Abdulaziz Abdulaziz with pocket eights, leaving Abdulaziz in sixth place. American Kevin Seeger went all in on pocket eights but ended up in fifth place when Brandon Schaefer held pocket aces. Feriolo lost most of his stack to Stevic, whose pocket aces weakened the Frenchman significantly. With only a few chips left, Feriolo was soon eliminated by Hollink, who claimed his second victim.

Stevic, now solid after doubling his stack multiple times and eliminating two opponents, stumbled when he went all in with an A-Q. Hollink’s pocket kings matched the flop perfectly, giving him quad kings and all of Stevic’s earnings. The Swede, who started with the fewest chips, finished in a remarkable third place.

Schaefer and Hollink went head-to-head for a while before Schaefer moved all in on a 10-10-3 flop. Hollink called immediately, holding a 10 for three of a kind, while Schaefer only had a 3 for a single pair. After this hand, Schaefer had only a few chips left, which he bet on a single pair in the next hand. Hollink’s two pair knocked Schaefer out, making Hollink the first-ever EPT Grand Final Champion.

Final results

  1. Rob Hollink – €635,000
  2. Brandon Schaefer – €350,000
  3. Alexander Stevic – €178,000
  4. Romain Feriolo – €139,000
  5. Kevin Seeger – €118,000
  6. Abdulaziz Abdulaziz – €99,500
  7. Ben Grundy – €79,500
  8. Mikhail Ustinov – €59,500

EPT Finals – Season 2

If one word could describe the Season 2 Grand Final of the European Poker Tour, it would be “action-packed.” Few final tables see as many ups and downs, with successes and losses hinging on luck, but Season 2’s final table had plenty. The two big-name players at this final table were Marcel Luske and Ross Boatman. Luske, the notorious Dutchman, has significant poker successes and has been mentoring other players, including future EPT winners. Boatman, known for years as a driving force in poker, is a member of the Hendon Mob. Youth and inexperience were common at the final table, with American Jeff Williams at only 19 years old, Aleksander Strandli at 21, and Fraser Dunphy just a few months out of university.

As the tournament began, the players and chip amounts were as follows:

Player NameCountrySeat No.Chip Amount
Thierry CazalsFrance5766650
Aleksander StrandliNorway8633500
Jeff WilliamsUSA3495700
Marcel LüskeNetherlands2486000
Marc KaramCanada1231900
Arshad HussainUK6131600
Fraser DunphyUK7125600
Ross BoatmanUK4119700
Jeff Williams

Cazals started the game with a strong chip lead, but his aggressive style caused many near-eliminations throughout the tournament. The final table was no exception. Seeing heavy action from other players, Cazals steadily lost his stack, starting with a loss of over 100k on the second hand. Williams and Dunphy played as if they had a personal vendetta. Williams overbid every time Dunphy made a play, forcing the Brit to fold. When Dunphy grew annoyed, he went all in against Williams and lost his stack, ending up in last place.

Marcel Luske was a true victim of luck. When Karam went all in from the button, Luske called with pocket eights. The flop came down with no help for Karam’s J7, but the turn and river both produced sevens. Luske finished in seventh place, expressing his frustration with a mock vomiting gesture. Boatman, struggling most of the day, bluffed against Williams but was bested by Hussain, who held a pair of jacks, leaving Boatman in sixth place.

Williams could not lose

Williams personally knocked out his next three opponents. First, Cazals pushed all in, and Williams, with a much bigger stack, called. The river gave Williams the flush he needed, and Cazals ended the game in fifth place. Williams then started Karam’s last hand with pocket nines, stealing the Canadian’s chips on a river bet. The river played into Williams’ good fortune once again when a 10 gave him the pair he needed to beat Aleksander Strandli, who finished in third place.

On the final hand between Hussain and Williams, everything came down to the river one last time. Hussain held A8, while Williams held A10. Hussain went all in, and the flop revealed a five, nine, and seven—nothing useful for either. The turn dropped another seven, and Williams was the winner as long as the next card wasn’t an eight or a six. It was a three. Jeff Williams, at 19 years of age, became the youngest EPT winner and the Season 2 Grand Final Champion.

Final results

  1. Jeff Williams – €900,000
  2. Arshad Hussain – €492,000
  3. Aleksander Strandli – €251,000
  4. Marc Karam – €195,000
  5. Thierry Cazals – €168,000
  6. Ross Boatman – €140,000
  7. Marcel Lüske – €112,000
  8. Fraser Dunphy – €84,000

EPT Finals – Season 3

Season 3 of the European Poker Tour was particularly interesting because experience didn’t seem to be nearly as much of a factor as chip count did. At the end of the Grand Final, the most experienced players, professional Irish player Andy Black and the youngest member of the Hendon Mob, Ram Vaswani, ended up on the bottom of the heap. What sets Season 3 apart from any of the other seasons of the EPT is that the order of chips each player had, from highest to lowest, is identical to the final results of the game, with the exception of fourth and fifth places being swapped. This supports what every poker player fears is true– it doesn’t matter how much skill or experience you have if the new guy at the table has a two million chip lead.

As the tournament began, the players and chip amounts were as follows:

Player NameCountrySeat No.Chip Amount
Gavin GriffinUSA72597000
Mark KaramCanada31742000
Soren KongsgaardDenmark51612000
Josh PragerUSA61593000
Kristian KjondalNorway81203000
Steve JelinekUK2758000
Andy BlackIreland4683000
Ram VaswaniUK1432000
Gavin Griffin

Ram Vaswani hit the table with aggressive plays from the very first hand, where he went all-in but received no takers. With such a significant chip deficit, it was clear that he wanted to get a bigger stack and stabilize his position in the game. Just five hands into the game, Vaswani was once again all-in against Karam, and he would have won or split with a jack, diamond, ten, ace, or four. The cards just weren’t there, and Vaswani was out in eighth place. Andy Black, with the second lowest amount of chips, was the next to go. Black had pocket sevens and was in a good position when the flop came down 883, so he went all-in. Kjondal called him with pocket jacks, and Black was stopped in seventh.

After the break where Jelinek conferred with his girlfriend and learned that he might lose his regular job, he went all in with pocket nines but lost to Karam’s pocket jacks. The €305,270 prize he won in sixth place should have allayed some of his fears about getting by. Prager, who had qualified through one of PokerStars.com’s satellite tournaments, was having a good year and establishing himself in the poker world, but when he went all-in with pocket sevens against Kongsgaard’s pocket tens, his upward rise was paused as he settled into fifth place.

The all-in from Kjondal didn’t work as planned

The game didn’t slow down for even a moment; Griffin started gunning for Kongsgaard, who lost a healthy number of chips, but it was Kjondal who would suffer from Griffin’s drive. Griffin held pocket fours on a 6-9-4 river, while the Norwegian held 8-9, when Kjondal went all-in. The turn was a five, giving him a change at a straight, but when the river showed a king, Kjondal was shut out in fourth, and Griffin went back to tormenting Kongsgaard. After seeing his stack picked away at by Griffin, Kongsgaard moved all-in in a bluff, trying to capture 200,000 of Griffin’s chips. Griffin saw through the bluff, and the Dane was out in third place.

Karam and Griffin played a vicious game of cat and mouse for a few hours, until Griffin made a 150,000 raise on a hand pre-flop and Karam upped the ante to 400,000, which Griffin met. After the flop showed 3-2-4, Karam made bet of a half million, and Griffin upped it to two million. The room grew quiet and, after a moment, Karam went all-in. Griffin took a couple minutes to think about it and called, showing K-5 to Marc’s 4-7. The turn was another 3, but the river came down a king, making Gavin Griffin the Season 3 EPT Grand Final Champion.

Final results

  1. Gavin Griffin – €1,825,010
  2. Marc Karam – €1,061,820
  3. Soren Kongsgaard – €610,550
  4. Kristian Kjondal – €471,180
  5. Joshua Prager – €391,550
  6. Steve Jelinek – €305,270
  7. Andy Black – €238,910
  8. Ram Vaswani – €159,270

EPT Finals – Season 4

The fourth season of the European Poker Tour brought together excellent poker talent for a final table that could have been anyone’s game. Ultimately, American university student Glen Chorny won in an unexpected finish. Isaac Baron of the USA was the favorite to win, widely regarded as the best player at the Season 4 final table. Antonio Esfandiari hoped to win the Grand Final and score a hat trick, having already won a bracelet at the World Series of Poker and a title at the World Poker Tour. Italian Luca Pagano, already a household name around the EPT due to his steady finishes, also came out to play, though he had no big wins yet.

As the tournament began, the players and chip amounts were as follows:

Player NameCountrySeat No.Chip Amount
Glen ChornyUSA73613000
Isaac BaronUSA82853000
Valeriy IlikyanRussia41396000
Michael MartinUSA21320000
Maxime VillemureCanada61206000
Denes KaloHungary11190000
Luca PaganoItaly3688000
Antonio EsfandiariUSA5501000
Glen Chorny

Pagano, never afraid to get his hands dirty, initiated much of the early action. After doubling his stack through play with Baron, he watched Esfandiari go all in with A8. Pagano hesitated briefly before calling with AJ. The flop that followed was every poker player’s dream: QTK, giving Pagano an ace-high straight and leaving Esfandiari in eighth place.

Michael Martin raised several hands later and was met by Ilikyan, who went all in. Unphased, Martin called with AQ against Ilikyan’s A4. The flop brought Martin two pair, and the turn and river failed to help the Russian, who left the game in seventh place.

Pagano had the lead

By the time the next elimination came around, Luca Pagano was the chip leader, despite having many money finishes and several final tables at the EPT without a victory. After losing over a million chips to Villemure, Pagano’s luck changed. Shortly after the dinner break, he went all in against Kalo’s pocket queens, praying for an ace on the turn or river. It didn’t come, and Pagano exited in sixth place. Only fifteen minutes later, Michael Martin went all in with QT against Chorny’s pocket jacks, and an unfortunate turn and river shut him out of the game in fifth place.

The next elimination took several hours. With no clear chip leader, Baron faced Chorny, who led for 335k euros. Chorny eventually called the clock on Baron, who went all in and lost everything to Chorny’s pocket aces. Baron finished in fourth place. Villemure, suffering from illness and lack of sleep after five days of gameplay, was the next to go. He had a straight and logically went all in, but it was no match for Chorny’s Broadway. The Canadian finished in third.

Not even a minute after Villemure’s elimination, the game was over. Kalo, holding a tenth of Chorny’s chips, seized an opportunity and went all in on KQ. Chorny called with A5, giving him two pair, aces over sixes, which bested the Hungarian’s two pair, queens over sixes. Glen Chorny became the Grand Final Champion of EPT Season 4.

Final results

  1. Glen Chorny – €2,020,000
  2. Denes Kalo – €1,179,000
  3. Maxime Villemure – €715,000
  4. Isaac Baron – €589,000
  5. Michael Martin – €421,000
  6. Luca Pagano – €337,000
  7. Valeriy Ilikyan – €253,000
  8. Antonio Esfandiari – €168,000

EPT Finals – Season 5

What set Season 5 apart from other Grand Finals of the European Poker Tour was the status of many players as relative unknowns in the poker world. Each had only a handful of wins to their name before the final event of the fifth season put them on the map. Dag Martin Mikkelsen, the most experienced of the group and the chip leader by a considerable amount at the start, played a significant role in paving the way for Pieter de Korver’s eventual victory.

As the tournament began, the players and chip amounts were as follows:

Player NameCountrySeat No.Chip Amount
Dag Martin MikkelsenNorway87315000
Martin WoodwardUSA74560000
Peter TraplyHungary14365000
Mikhail TulchinskiyRussia23220000
Eric QuFrance32880000
Pieter De KorverNetherlands42500000
Daniel ZinkGermany61865000
Alem ShahGermany51490000
Pieter de Korver

Mikkelsen hit the ground running in the Grand Final of Season 5 with aggressive plays. He first took out Peter Traply and then hit Daniel Zink hard, leaving them in eighth and seventh places, respectively. The Norwegian now had an 11 million chip lead and looked certain to win the 2009 event. However, Tulchinskiy took control of the table and eliminated the next two players in quick succession.

When Tulchinskiy open-raised, Shah went all in, and the Russian called. Shah held AT, while Tulchinskiy had AK. The board presented nothing that helped either of them further, and Shah left in sixth place. On the next hand, as Tulchinskiy open-raised again, Qu went all in, and Tulchinskiy called. His AQ looked better than Qu’s KQ. The flop was useless to both, but when a king dropped on the turn, it seemed Qu would double up. However, an ace on the river meant Qu exited the game in fifth place. With 7.81 million in chips, Tulchinskiy had strengthened his position, but Mikkelsen now had over 15 million chips—twice the amount the Russian had and almost four times that of anyone else. De Korver had less than a million chips at this point.

Pieter de Korver’s comeback

After being knocked down to under 400,000, de Korver made a legendary comeback. He tripled up on Woodward and Mikkelsen, then doubled up via Mikkelsen three times over ten hands. Mikkelsen couldn’t recover, and when he went all in against both Tulchinskiy and de Korver, the board fell T-4-9-Q-4. This gave de Korver two pair, queens over nines, a far better hand than either of the others, and Mikkelsen left in fourth place. Not long after, Woodward made a raise that Tulchinskiy upped to 1.2 million. Woodward moved all in, Tulchinskiy hesitated but called, his QT ultimately not enough to beat Woodward’s pocket threes, and he finished the game in third.

The two remaining players played for 45 hands after returning from dinner, with de Korver slowly strengthening his chip lead over Woodward. On the final hand, the flop came down 5-T-6, all hearts, and de Korver went all in with 9s6s. Woodward thought for a while and called with 6c4h, relying on the small flush draw to help him win. It didn’t come, and de Korver became the Season 5 EPT Grand Final Champion.

Final results

  1. Pieter de Korver – €2,300,000
  2. Matthew Woodward – €1,300,000
  3. Mikhail Tulchinskiy – €800,000
  4. Dag Martin Mikkelsen – €600,000
  5. Eric Qu – €470,000
  6. Alem Shah – €350,000
  7. Daniel Zink – €250,000
  8. Peter Traply – €170,000

EPT Finals – Season 6

Season 6 of the European Poker Tour had a completely reasonable and easily anticipated outcome. The winner, Nicolas Chouity, held three times as many chips as anyone else and almost ten times as much as the two players with the fewest chips. To Chouity, all the other players looked like short stacks waiting to be picked off. He had the luxury of waiting for hands to play when he knew he could take out his opponents. In the end, Chouity personally eliminated six of his seven opponents, becoming the first Lebanese player to win an EPT title—an impressive feat for an unknown player at the time.

As the tournament began, the players and chip amounts were as follows:

Player NameCountrySeat No.Chip Amount
Nicolas ChouityLebanon10130000
Mesbah GuerfiFrance3670000
Andrew ChenCanada3350000
Dominykas KarmazinasLithuania2285000
Aleh PlauskiBelarus1695000
Herve CostaFrance1590000
Josef KlingerAustria1170000
Roger HairabedianFrance1130000
Nicolas Chouity

All players were very cautious at the beginning of the final table, likely due to Chouity’s big stacks. No one wanted to be wiped out, and Chouity didn’t want to afford anyone the opportunity to double up. When Mesbah Guerfi went all in with a solid AK, Chouity held pocket eights, leaving Guerfi in eighth place. Spectators wondered if Roger Hairabedian simply got tired of playing with so few funds. The Frenchman folded every hand for the first couple of hours, losing half his stack to blinds. He then put his chips in on a J3 of spades and lost to Chouity’s A3, finishing in seventh place.

More time passed without much action, and then Plauski went all in with KT. Chouity took the hand with a pair of queens, putting Plauski in sixth place. Andrew Chen was the anomaly in the Season 6 Grand Final, as he was the only player not eliminated by Chouity. Trying to get some action into a dull game, Chen aimed for a flush but was stopped by Klinger, who had pocket kings. Chen’s flush failed to make, and he finished in fifth place.

The first Lithuanian EPT money finish

Herve Costa managed to play only five hands during the final table. On the fifth hand, he was outplayed by Chouity, sealing Costa in fourth place. Third place went to Dominykas Karmazinas, the first Lithuanian to make an EPT final, when Chouity simply outdrew him. While it may seem like luck was on Chouity’s side, it was a matter of him having enough chips to hold on until the right hand came along. With his massive stack, he could afford to lose a few hands without much effect.

Finally, the game was down to Chouity and Klinger, the two players unafraid to put their chips on the table. Both players benefited from this, as Chouity’s stack was now legendary, and Klinger’s was far better than at the beginning, though still nowhere close to his opponent’s. Klinger had no qualms about going all in pre-flop when dealt pocket eights. He had no way of knowing that Chouity had pocket aces. The game was over, and Nicolas Chouity became the Season 6 EPT Grand Final Champion.

Final results

  1. Nicolas Chouity – €1,700,000
  2. Josef Klinger – €1,000,000
  3. Dominykas Karmazinas – €700,000
  4. Herve Costa – €500,000
  5. Andrew Chen – €400,000
  6. Aleh Plauski – €300,000
  7. Roger Hairabedian – €200,000
  8. Mesbah Guerfi – €140,000

EPT Finals – Season 7

Season 7 of the European Poker Tour moved the action from Monte Carlo to Madrid, Spain. There, 686 players paid the hefty buy-in for a shot at part of the €6,860,000 prize pool. Venezuela’s Ivan Freitez entered with almost twice the chips of any other player, giving him an edge that the others couldn’t overcome. However, the other players shuffled around their positions, demonstrating that it is the player who controls the game, not the size of the stack.

As the tournament began, the players and chip amounts were as follows:

Player NameCountrySeat No.Chip Amount
Ivan FreitezVenezuela65995000
Juan MaceirasSpain33150000
Andrey DanilyukRussia42645000
Eugene YanaytUSA12420000
Torsten BrinkmannGermany71875000
Alex GomesBrazil81670000
Tamas LendvaiHungary21655000
Andrew LiUSA51120000
Ivan Freitez

PokerStars record holder Andrew Li, known for hitting SuperNova Elite in the shortest time, held the short stack. He gained some chips early, increasing his stack to 1.5 million, then went all in against Eugene Yanayt. Yanayt held AcQc to Li’s pocket 3s. When the board showed 9-9-4-7, it seemed Li would win with two pair. However, the river brought a 4, giving both players equal hands and Yanayt the high card for the win. Li was eliminated.

Yanayt eliminated another player shortly thereafter—Brazil’s Alex Gomes, who was aiming for a triple crown, having already won a World Poker Tour title and a WSOP bracelet. Yanayt held pocket tens when Gomes went all in with 8s7s. After a K-5-3-8-5 board, Gomes was out, and Yanayt’s stack was almost 5 million. Yanayt’s luck eventually ran out, and after losing most of his chips in lengthy play, he was eliminated by Freitez, who held pocket nines to Yanayt’s pocket fives. This elimination gave Freitez roughly 40% of the chips going into the four-hour break.

The last sponsored pro

Juan Maceiras hit the rail before the break, eliminated by Torsten Brinkmann, who had played conservatively from the start. Brinkmann held Ace of SpadesKing of Hearts to Maceiras’ [jt] of hearts. When the board came out with nothing useful to either player, Brinkmann’s high card sent the final table’s last remaining Team PokerStars pro home.

After the break, the action picked up, with Freitez appearing determined to win. The first elimination after the break was Andrey Danilyuk, who went all in against Freitez. An ace on the river gave the chip leader enough to send Danilyuk and his pocket threes to the rail. Shortly thereafter, Freitez took out Tamas Lendvai, who went all in with a pair of nines against Brinkmann. Freitez called, and Brinkmann folded. Freitez’s ace on the flop defeated another middle pair, sending Lendvai home in third place with €550,000.

Going into heads-up play, Freitez held nearly four times as many chips as Brinkmann—16 million to 4.5 million. Brinkmann held his ground as long as possible, but when Freitez made a button raise with 10-9 of diamonds, the German went all in with AdKc. The first card to drop was a 9, and nothing else emerged to help Brinkmann. This sent him to the rail in second place, making Ivan Freitez the EPT Season 7 Grand Final Champion.

Final results

  1. Ivan Freitez – €1,500,000
  2. Torsten Brinkmann – €900,000
  3. Tamas Lendvai – €550,000
  4. Andrey Danilyuk – €400,000
  5. Juan Maceiras – €315,000
  6. Eugene Yanayt – €250,000
  7. Alex Gomes – €185,000
  8. Andrew Li – €130,000