Dimitar Danchev could easily have been crowed EPT San Remo champion tonight. He came within a river card of claiming it, with a 95 per cent advantage before an unlikely board snatched it away again.
With Danchev’s 10♠9♣ looking locked in on a flop of 2♥4♠9♠ against Pateychuk 7♣6♠ even a 8♥ turn left the Russian needing a miracle and Danchev eyeing the EPT trophy. But a miracle is what Pateychuk got; a 5♥ on the river to leave the Russian with an overwhelming advantage. Two hands later it was all over.
EPT San Remo champion Andrey Pateychuk
But the luck Andrey Pateychuk had in the hand – luck that had given him a 24,350,000 to 650,000 advantage – was hard earned after a long, perilous heads-up session in which the Russian had dominated, ceding the lead to Danchev twice but never letting the title slip away. The result tonight was fair and deserved.
Danchev underwent a swing of emotion you wouldn’t wish even the poorest of losers. From one moment being a card away from EPT glory to being dumped out in second place in the shadow of a player who himself had been ready to accept defeat. Even Pateychuk apologised for an impossible stroke of luck; “I thought you had a weak hand,” he said. “I misread you.”
But it would be inaccurate to think Pateychuk had been fortunate to win his first EPT title. When Danchev turned to Pateychuk after his king queen had been dethroned by the Russian’s pocket sevens, he told him he’d deserved it. It was an exit full of grace and dignity, and absolutely correct. Danchev himself worthy of his runner-up spot.
The theatre in Casino San Remo
San Remo got the finale it deserved. A little longer than previous years but an incredible performance by a 22-year-old Russian worthy of the tour favourite. Pateychuk adds EPT gold to his 15th place finish in the World Series of Poker Main Event earlier this year. It adds a notional €800,000 to that amount, give or take for the deal agreed heads-up (actually €680,000).
Pateychuk and Boatman at the final table
When we’d arrived this afternoon it wasn’t Pateychuk who was the story, nor Daniel Nielson, the seemingly unstoppable chip leader from Australia who dominated and impressed until he was sent home in third. Instead it was the prospect that Kevin MacPhee could become the first player to win a second EPT title.
But MacPhee would always be cursed by a short stack, forced to play like the kind of player he hates, folding and hoping while sitting on an atrophied stack. When he shoved with six-five off suit, to his bewilderment Barny Boatman called with queen-seven of spades, to see off MacPhee and end double-winner hopes in eighth place. MacPhee was disappointed, his comments on Twitter likely to be a talking point for some time to come.
The final table in action
Rocco Palumbo’s departure barely caused a ripple, except among Italians demanding an unlikely Italian winner in the Casino theatre. Yorane Kerignard’s departure cause more of a stir. An obviously talented French pro caught between Nielson and Pateychuk, Kerignard played well and hard, departing in sixth.
Slovakian Jan Bendik went in fifth, beating his previous EPT best of sixth place. But by now Nielson was no longer chip leader. That was Pateychuk, who was being played like an online maniac, but was finding hands and using them well; ace-king twice, kings, queens, jacks, and only the kings didn’t double him up or send someone to the rail.
Barny Boatman would depart in fourth place, an epic performance from a man many people consider to be something of a legend. Despite the $1.8 million earned in tournament winnings over his career, the €225,000 he leaves with stands as his biggest career cash by far, hard for some to believe perhaps, but a sign of Boatman’s longevity and affability in what can be the toughest of worlds.
Nielson’s demise soon followed, the end of a tumultuous day that had started so well for the Australian, but had come crashing down in two hands; four-bet jamming with ace-seven and then five-bet jamming with ace-nine. Both times he ran into the ace-king of Pateychuk.
The rest, a close to three hour heads-up, could be summed up by Pateychuk dominance, Danchev grit and a stroke of luck that ironically produced a worthy winner.
The bits in between can be read about through the links below:
It brings to an end another thrilling EPT San Remo main event. No double winner but a champion to hail nonetheless. Will he be appearing at the next EPT event in Loutraki, Greece? Whether he will or not we shall, and you can talk about among yourselves until then.
It’s now time for an EPT party.
For now, it’s goodnight from San Remo.