Monday February 27, 2023 at 9:33 pm

The European Poker Tour hosted the inaugural EPT Paris at the Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile. The €5,300 buy-in Main Event at the EPT Paris attracted 1,606 entrants with 447 re-entries. Razvan Belea from Romania parlayed a €530 satellite seat into a €1.1 million payday when he was the last player standing to become the first Romanian champion in EPT history.

Belea-EPT Paris
Razvan Belea - 2023 EPT Paris champion

Ship it to Romania. Once again, history was made on the PokerStars European Poker Tour. A player from Romania won a marquee event on the EPT for the first time, which also coincided with the first-ever EPT Paris. The Parisian event was such a huge success, the folks at Red Spade HQ would be foolish if they did not make the EPT Paris an annual affair. After all, even Paris in the winter is still a miraculous destination. And for one fortunate Romanian, the inaugural EPT Paris will be one of those life-defining events that is burned into your memory banks for eternity.

Even during it's infancy, the EPT had an annual stop in France but the European tournament circuit skipped Paris in favor of Deauville instead. If you're an Euro-grinder, then you're aware that Deauville has a lofty reputation for big-time gambling action. However, it was always a bummer that Paris was overlooked on the EPT schedule. However, all of that changed with the inaugural EPT Paris on the 2023 schedule.

The tallest hotel in Paris hosted the first-ever EPT Paris at the Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile. A total of 1,606 entrants participated in the €5,300 buy-in Main Event including 447 re-entries for the EPT Paris. The top 239 places got a cut of the €7.7 million prize pool.

On the penultimate day of action in the Main Event, Romania's Razvan Belea amassed a monster stack after he picked off multiple challengers. When Day 5 ended, only five players remained after Germany's Konstantin Held busted in sixth place.

Belea bagged the lead with over 16.1M. The former bartender from Romania slowly built up his poker bankroll over the last decade before he quit his day job -- ho hum, actually his night job -- to play poker full time. He almost won the Sunday Million on PokerStars once back in 2017. He won his seat into the EPT Paris by binking a €530 satellite.

Peter Jorgne from Sweden was second overall with 10.7M. The 50-year-old tech guru from Stockholm recently retired to Spain after he sold his currency trading company.

Brian Delaney, the lone Brit at the final table, was third overall with 10.4M. He never had a real job because he's been a pro since he was a teenager. These days, he's living in Mexico with fellow online grinders and he's evolved into a PLO cash-game specialist.

Fabrice Bigot, a French pro living in London, was the last player from France remaining in the EPT Paris. He won his seat through a modest €250 tournament. Bigot repped the host country after he advanced to the final five with 9.6M.

Henri Kasper was the other "old guy" at the table at 50-years old. He's a PR man from Estonia who was part of the marketing team that brought the EPT to Estonia in 2009. Kasper was the shortest stack remaining with 1.7M.

Kasper was the first player to bid adieu on Sunday. He made a final stand with Carte As de trèfleCarte 6 de trèfle but got outflopped and outgunned by Jogne's big slick. For a fifth-place finish, Kasper banked €317,050.

Delaney was the next player out. The Brit lost a huge chunk of his stacked when he was flushed out by Bigot's Queen-high flush against his Ace-ten. Delaney later attempted to double up with Ace-King, but Belea took King-Queen into battle. Delaney met his fate in fifth place after Belea flopped a Queen. It was just one of those days, and another indication at just how hot Belea was running. For a fourth-place finish, Delaney took home €412,220.

A short-stacked Bigot got it all-in with Carte As de trèfleCarte Dame de trèfle against Belea's monsterstakken and Carte 7 de piqueCarte 5 de pique. Once again, the poker gods were shining their warmth and love onto Belea. The Romania caught a runner-runner to drag the pot with a nine-high straight. Mon dieu! The last-standing Frenchman headed to the rail in third place, and Bigot earned a payday worth €535,850.

It was a battle of Sweden versus Romania for the EPT Paris title. An unknown Romania grinder was heads up against a tech-bro from Sweden. When the final two began their heads-up joust, Belea held more than a 2-to-1 edge over Jorgne with 33.M versus 15.7M.

The final hand was a doozy. Belea raised to 800K with Carte 7 de trèfleCarte 6 de pique and Jorgne called with Carte 10 de cœurCarte 6 de cœur. The flop was Carte 10 de piqueCarte 5 de piqueCarte 3 de trèfle and Jorgne led with a pair of tens, but Belea flopped a gutshot. Jorgne check-raised the flop to 1.5M, and Belea called 900K more after his initial 600K stab bet.

The Carte 4 de cœur fell on the turn. Belea turned a seven-high straight, and Jorgne only had top pair, but he picked up an open-ended straight draw. With nearly 5M in the pot, Jorgne fired out 2.6M. Belea tanked and the Romanian used a pair of time extensions before he raised to 5.6M. It was then Jorgne's time to head into the tank. The stoic Swede utilized a time extension chip to think about this hand some more. He ultimately decided to call for an additional 3M.

The Carte 4 de trèfle fell on the river. Jorgne missed his straight draw, but he held two pair with tens up. With only 9.3M remaining, he moved all-in. Belea considered his options: call or fold. Belea called and dragged the pot with a seven-high straight which bested Jorgne's two pair.

Sweden missed a chance to claim another EPT title, but they had to settle on second place. Peter Jorgne banked €780,100 for a runner-up finish. Not too shabby, eh?

Belea denied the Scandis another victory, and he won his first ever major tournament. He also made EPT history as the first Romanian player to step into the winner's circle. Belea earned a first-place payout worth €1,170,00 or $1.25 million in American greenabcks.

Notable players who went deep and cashed in the EPT Paris included... Harry Lodge, Arthur Conan, Sven Stok, Malo Latinois, Manig Loeser, Kenny Hallaert, Adrian Mateos, Wooseok Kim, Ben Heath, Timo Kamphues, Pierre Fromage, Gaelle Baumann, Mike Watson, Teun Mulder, Stefan Schillhabel, Antoine Vranken, Benny Glaser, Marton Czuczor, Johan Guilbert, Jonas Lauk, Nick Petrangleo, Andrew Lichtenberger, Jonathan Pastore, Mike Dyer, Orpen Kisacikoglu, Conor Beresford, Matas Cimbolas, Sam Greenwood, Fabian Gumz, ,Erwann Pecheux, Alexandre Reard, Joey Weissman, Peter Moore, Sam Grafton, Arnaud Enselme, Byron Kaverman, and Michel Dattani who won the 2023 PCA Main Event last month.

Check out Club Poker's French coverage of the inaugural EPT Paris

2023 EPT Paris Main Event

Buy-In: €5,3000

Entrants: 1,606

Prize Pool: €7,708,800

Payouts: 239


Final Table Results:

1 Razvan Belea (Romania) €1,170,00

2 Peter Jorgne (Sweden) €780,100

3 Fabrice Bigot (France) €535,850

4 Brian Delaney (UK) €412,220

5 Henri Kasper (Estonia) €317,050

6 Konstantin Held (Germany) €244,000

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