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The second-most expensive tournament of the 2018 PokerStars European Poker Tour Barcelona festival has crowned a champion and it was Benjamin Pollak who lifted the trophy for the winner shots at Casino Barcelona after defeating fellow countryman Jean-Noel Thorel in heads-up. The €50,000 Single-Day High Roller attracted a field of 69 entries, including 15 re-entries, to create a prize pool of €3,347,190 and the top nine spots were paid.
“You know, there is usually a key moment in a tournament and as of 20 left, everything went my way and the stack kept getting bigger,” Pollak said right after his victory when asked by the French poker media and was all smiles. One day ago, the 2017 WSOP Main Event 3rd place finisher came 5th in the €100,000 Super High Roller for €445,300 and will be taking home a spadie trophy for his efforts.
Down to the last three tables, Pollak went on an enormous tear to triple up with pocket aces in the big blind, then sent four opponents in a row to the rail before bursting the money bubble with a double knockout. When sitting down for the unofficial final table, Pollak admitted that he had "never been on such a run before" and it would only get better, as the Frenchman dominated the final on route to victory, claiming his second-best result for €979,000.
As for Thorel, it was yet another close call. The entrepreneur in the Pharma industry has been taking part in High Roller and Super High Roller tournaments for many years, always with a smile on the face and the joy of being able to play poker. While he doesn't have a victory to his name yet, Thorel has accumulated more than $4.5 million on the live poker circuit.
Final Result €50,000 Single-Day High Roller
|Place||Winner||Country||Prize (in EUR)|
|3||Alex Foxen||United States||€456,900|
|4||Ryan Riess||United States||€344,700|
|6||Seth Davies||United States||€207,500|
|7||Jack Salter||United Kingdom||€164,000|
Action of the Day
As expected, the high stakes competition attracted some of the biggest names and High Roller regulars and the field quickly grew to more than 40 entries. With a single re-entry available, several players took a second shot at glory and the early casualties included Jean-Noel Thorel, Thomas Muehloecker, Orpen Kisacikoglu and Mikita Badziakouski. The €100,000 Super High Roller champion went back for the second attempt, but couldn't run up a stack then either.
Among those to bust without anything to show for were such notables as Stephen Chidwick, David Peters, Chi Zhang, Stefan Schillhabel, Dietrich Fast, Super High Roller runner-up Ahadpur Khangah, Nick Petrangelo and Bill Perkins. Orpen Kisacikoglu was sent to the rail by Matthias Eibinger after a big move with ace-five went wrong, Eibinger called his shove on the river with ace-jack for top two pair on a straight and flush heavy board.
Soon after the last three tables were set and the action didn't slow down one bit. Alex Foxen took over the lead after eliminating Ramin Hajiyev and Sam Greenwood and Thorel joined the big stacks after ousting Adrian Mateos and Byron Kaverman in a three-way all in with ace-queen suited versus ace-seven suited and king-queen. After the triple up of Pollak with pocket aces in the big blind, he went on a hot run and took care of Sergio Aido, Luc Greenwood, Cary Katz and Ivan Leow.
There was no hand-for-hand mode required on the money bubble, as the field went from 11 to 9 thanks to a three-way all in and again it was Pollak who had toe goods with aces in the big blind. Linus Loeliger had jammed with king-queen suited, Stanley Choi got his stack in with ace-king and the Frenchman snap-called with pocket rockets to let the bubble burst.
The former German-speaking domination in High Roller tournaments saw a glimpse of hope with Matthias Eibinger and Jan-Eric Schwippert on the final table, but both departed in 9th and 8th place respectively. Jack Salter ran with ace-king into the pocket aces of Alex Foxen to take 7th and Seth Davies experienced the same fate with king-seven after flopping top pair against Foxen.
Mikalai Vaskaboinikau qualified for the €50,000 Single-Day High Roller in a €5,200 live satellite and turned that into a payday of €267,800. Vaskaboinikau first doubled with fours against the ace-eight of Foxen, then lost a race with ace-king against the pocket queens of eventual champion Benjamin Pollak.
Ryan Riess was the next to fall and he suffered a two-outer at the hands of Jean-Noel Thorel when his pocket sevens were only ahead preflop and on the flop against the pocket treys of the Frenchman. Alex Foxen followed in third place with king-queen versus the ace-queen of Pollak and that set up the French heads-up for the trophy.
Thorel had the chip lead over Pollak, but after less than an hour it was all over. The biggest pot in the duel one versus one was a four-bet shove of Pollak that went through and he consistently increased the pressure and lead. Down to fewer than 10 big blinds, Thorel moved all in with ace-trey and Pollak called with the dominating ace-nine to clinch the victory.
That brings an end to the PokerNews live reporting from the €50,000 Single-Day High Roller, but Day 2 of the €5,300 Main Event awaits. Furthermore, there is also the upcoming €10,300 Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller, the €25,000 Single-Day High Roller and the final €10,300 High Roller to provide further high stakes action in Barcelona.
Down to just 565,000, Jean-Noel Thorel moved all in and Benjamin Pollak double-checked his cards, then called.
The flop was a bad one for Thorel, as it made possible split pots more unlikely. Both the turn and the river ensured that the kicker played and Thorel was eliminated in 2nd place for €703,000. Both Frenchman embraced before the French rail came to congratulate Pollak on his victory.
A recap of today's action is to follow.
Jean-Noel Thorel raised to 240,000 and Benjamin Pollak called. On the flop, Pollak checked and called a bet of 300,000. They checked the turn and river and Pollak showed as the winning hand.
Thorel limped in the next button after forfeiting his big blind to a raise and they checked it down on a board of . Pollak showed and won the pot.
The vast majority of pots in heads-up have been shipped over to Benjamin Pollak, though, Jean-Noel Thorel hasn't been giving them away without a fight.
Pollak opened to 160,000 and Thorel called. They checked the flop, Thorel bet the turn for 100,000 and picked up a call. On the river they checked again and Thorel showed , Pollak won the pot with .
After claiming another pot on the turn via bet and a fold from Thorel, Pollak didn't slow down and opened to 170,000. Thorel three-bet to 405,000 and Pollak let his shot clock run down to two seconds before moving all in. Thorel elected to fold and dropped to arounf 2 million in chips.
Benjamin Pollak raised to 170,000 and Jean-Noel Thorel called. The flop of was checked by Thorel, who called a bet of 190,000 by Pollak. Both checked the turn and Thorel bet the river for 150,000.
Pollak called and Thorel showed the , which Pollak had beat with .
- Slepe stave:
After taking a short break, Benjamin Pollak and Jean-Noel Thorel returned to their seats and Pollak started aggressively into heads up.
In a limped pot to the flop, both checked and Pollak bet the turn for 65,000 to force a fold.
Thorel limped in and Pollak made it 200,000 to go, which forced a fold.
Then, Pollak raised to 150,000 and Thorel called. They checked the flop, Thorel bet the turn for 275,000 and that won the pot.
Benjamin Pollak raised to 130,000 on the button and Alex Foxen three-bet all in out of the big blind. Foxen had done so a few times previously without being called and was all in for 960,000, but this time Pollak snap-called.
The board came and Foxen was eliminated in 3rd place for €456,900.
Alex Foxen lost a pot to Jean-Noel Thorel, then got most of it back by moving all in only to lose even more chips to Thorel soon after.
Benjamin Pollak opened the action with a button raise to 130,000 and was called by both Thorel and Foxen. On the flop, Thorel checked and Foxen bet 165,000, only Thorel called. The on the turn was checked and the appeared on the river. Thorel now bet 300,000 and Foxen was taken aback.
"This time I really think you are bluffing," Foxen said and eventually called after giving it quite some thought.
Thorel rolled over for a straight and Foxen was left with fewer than 12 big blinds.