Steve O’Dwyer wins EPT Grand FinalWednesday, May 15th, 2013 by Ryan
It wasn’t always exciting, it wasn’t always fun, but the European Poker Tour’s Grand Final came to a close after a ridiculously long ten hour final table fight. When the action began in the final day of the action though, we saw Steve O’Dwyer and Andrew Pantling holding the two big stacks, and when the final two players were left sitting at the end of the day, it was those same two fighting for the championship. The event was held in Monte Carlo, and this was the final event of the European Poker Tour’s Ninth Season in business. What a great way to end it when all was said and done, and when the heads up match began, it was O’Dwyer sitting just ahead of Pantling. Both players had four million chips to start it off.
Believe me though, for O’Dwyer and Pantling, it was nowhere near an easy task to make it to this heads up portion of the action. The final table at the EPT Grand Final was probably one of the strongest that I’ve ever seen in history. It featured popular and well-known players such as Daniel Negreanu, Jason Mercier, Jake Cody, Noah Schwartz, Johnny Lodden, and Grant Levy. To best break down how insanely good this final table was, the entire final table had won a total of close to $40 million in career tournament earnings. Whoever won this one was going to have to earn it, and he did just that.
Players started off the final table going back and forth and doing their best to continue to chip up, but still play safe to make sure that they were in a good spot to potentially make a late push. Pantling stayed pretty active throughout the action though, and we saw him and Negreanu butt heads a few times, with chips being passed back and forth between the two of them. At one point Pantling actually saw a huge chunk of his chips go to Negreanu, leaving him at the bottom of the standings, while Negreanu found himself sitting in second place after the big pot.
Pantling started the eliminations off though, by sending home Levy. Levy three bet the action and Pantling called, leading to the 3-J-7 flop, and after checking, Levy decided to push it all in. Pantling called right away, showing J-10, for top pair and a flush draw. Levy showed A-K, and while the Ace came on the turn, it was the worst one for Levy, as it completed the flush for Pantling. This sent Levy home in 8th place. Jason Mercier on the other hand started with the short stack, and he was grinding it out, but couldn’t chip up much. Lodden opened the action to start, and then Mercier moved all-in from the small blind. Pantling was in the big blind and made the call, and Lodden folded. Mercier showed Q-10, while Pantling had A-Q and was way ahead. Mercier couldn’t improve and went home in 7th place.
Pantling was sitting at the top of the standings after the knockout, and also started pushing some players around and getting his chip stack up around six million. Negreanu actually had a double knock out though at this point, as he raised the action to 115k, and then Schwartz moved all-in from the button, and Cody shoved over the top of that. Negreanu insta-called the shoved, and turned over pocket Aces against the Jacks of Cody and the K-10 of Schwartz. Negreanu didn’t have to stress much as the board didn’t help out, and this left us with only four players.
Negreanu then doubled up Lodden, and soon after that moved all-in with pocket fours against Lodden. Lodden called it with A-Q, and when the flop came with K-10-2, both players were definitely sweating. Lodden was able to hit his straight though when a Jack came on the river, and sent Negreanu home in fourth place, and left us with three strong players to compete for the title.
Pantling had a nice chip lead of around two million chips over Lodden, and about four million over O’Dwyer, leaving him in great position moving towards the heads up match. The play went on for around an hour without players really getting into it, but O’Dwyer went from the short stack by a good amount, to only being around one million chips behind both players. O’Dwyer then doubled up through Lodden, and sent him home in third place soon after that. This set up our heads up match between O’Dwyer and Pantling to decide who got the win.
The heads up action saw Pantling start off with a chip lead of 1.4 million chips over O’Dwyer, and before long he nearly doubled up that lead. O’Dwyer won the small pots though, and before long he had actually earned a lead before a massive hand came. The hand happened just after dinner, and when O’Dwyer raised, Pantling three bet from the big blind. O’Dwyer called, and a flop of 8-A-3 came out. Another bet was put out by Pantling, and O’Dwyer called. The turn was a Queen, and Pantling bet again for 1.5 million chips. O’Dwyer only called again, and the river was another Ace. Pantling paused and just checked, and O’Dwyer did the same, showing A-10 against 6-3 of Pantling. This was a huge pot that changed the match.
It only took two hands from there, and O’Dwyer raised from the button with 10-8. Pantling called with K-5 and while both players had part of the flop, it was an interesting one. Pantling hit a flush draw, while O’Dwyer had three 8’s on the 8-8-J flop. Panting check called, and the four of spades came on the turn, giving Pantling a flush. Pantling then check-raised, and O’Dwyer moved all in, with an obvious quick call from Pantling. O’Dwyer needed the board to pair, or for the fourth eight to come for him to get the win, and in a shocker, that fourth eight came. O’Dwyer got the win, the title, and the first place money of €1,224,000. Pantling’s second place finish paid out €842,000 for his impressive run.