If anyone ever tries to tell you that having a big stack going to the final table can be a curse as much as a blessing then refer them to this final table. The top three stacks entering the final table were the only players to ever have the chip lead and would end up occupying the podium positions, although none finished in the place that they started the day.
That was good news for Dimitri Holdeew, who tonight is €226,400 better off after defeating Ami Barer in a two-hour heads-up battle in which the chip lead swung back and forth like a pendulum. It seems 2013 is far from unlucky for Germany: Holdeew ultimately prevailed and a German took yet another major poker title.
The heads-up contest was a microcosm of the final table itself, every pot, most of which were on their own insignificant, were fiercely fought over and then when you least expected it a big pot came out of nowhere. The chip lead changed hands four times during heads-up play, Holdeew started with a slight lead, extended it but then lost it in the first all-in when his pocket fours started and stayed behind Barer’s pocket eights. The next all-in was the last.
On the final hand, Barer check-raised all-in on the turn with K♥4♥ with the board showing 10♦3♥7♣9♥. Holdeew stood up to get a closer look at the amount, it was already a big pot. Lose it and Barer would have a 2.5:1 chip lead. Satisfied that he couldn’t pass, Holdeew made the call with 10♠9♦ and held on the K♦ river. ‘F*** yeah,” was the 26-year-old’s immediate response.
For long periods of the final table it looked like the title was destined to go to Ami Barer. The Canadian, who plays as ‘UhhMee’ online and has over $5.5m in online winnings alone, seemed to perfect the trick of staying at the top of the chip counts without doing a lot. Despite not eliminating a single player, it wasn’t until three-handed play that he relinquished the chip lead for the first time. His runner-up finish netted him €131,400 and his biggest ever live score.
The player that Barer lost the chip lead to was Stephen ‘Stevie444’ Chidwick, the well-known British pro who has had huge success both live and online. Chidwick’s experience showed, more than once he got knocked down to short stack status but simply regrouped and picked his spots carefully. It was only after losing a big pot to Barer during three-handed play that he looked in trouble.
Typically the Englishman was eliminated by a German. Chidwick’s 20 big blind shove with K♠10♣ was called by Holdeew’s pocket sevens and that was that. Chidwick third for €92,500.
The German, who was involved in most of the all-ins today, also took care of Jaroslav Peter in fourth. Again he had a pair – eights this time – and once more he had to avoid overcards, although only one in this case as Peter had ace-four. A couple of overcards appeared on the K♣9♥6♥10♦3♣ board, but they weren’t the ones Peter needed. Fourth place was good for €68,800
Much of the early final table play had revolved around Mark Dalimore with some appreciating his table antics and others thinking it slowed the pace of play down too much. He’d built up a big stack, in part through eliminating Team PokerStars Pro Marcin Horecki in seventh – pocket nines against the Pole’s A♠9♦ – and partly by moving all-in a lot.
Eventually he would make one all-in too many, shoving for 25 big blinds with king-queen and running into the pocket aces of Holdeew. Still there’s no doubt he was an entertaining presence at the final table.
In between Horecki’s and Dalimore’s demises came the elimination of Milan Simko, one of two Czechs at the final table. He’d started the day as the short stack, but stayed patient and was actually responsible for the first elimination of it. Down to just nine big blinds A♥Q♦ was more than good enough to go with, Johannes Tiefenbrunner thought the same thing about pocket sevens with eight big blinds. A queen on the flop reduced us to seven.
As for Simko, whilst he outlasted Horecki he never had a stack to play with and lost a flip with A♠10♥ against Holdeew’s pocket nines.
So it’s a big congratulations to Dimitri Holdeew who has defeated a field of 1,315 to win the biggest ever Eureka Poker Tour Main Event. Although he’s German he currently resides in Vienna, which coincidentally is where the next Eureka Poker Tour Main Event takes place. It takes place 18-24 March and qualifiers will be running from early January. To catch up on all today’s action click here and here and to see who won what click here. You can also follow all the EPT coverage here and read all about how Rafa Nadal aced his first ever live poker tournament right here.
Eureka3 Prague Main Event
Prize pool: €1,275,550
Places Paid: 191
1. Dimitri Holdeew, Germany, PokerStars player, €226,400
2. Ami Barer, Canada, PokerStars qualifier, €131,400
3. Stephen Chidwick, United Kingdom, PokerStars player, €92,500
4. Jaroslav Peter, Czech Republic, €68,800
5. Mark Dalimore, United Kingdom, PokerStars player, €53,500
6. Milan Simko, Czech Republic, PokerStars qualifier, €39,800
7. Marcin Horecki, Poland, TeamPokerStars Pro, €30,500
8. Johannes Tiefenbrunner, Germany, €21,700
All photos are copyright of Tomas Stacha