Ship it to France. A Frenchman headed to Barcelona for an end-of-summer poker holiday and he emerged €1.1 million richer. The European Poker Tour touched down in Spain for another fiesta of poker in Barcelona. The Main Event had a €5,300 buy-in and the marquee event attracted 2,120 total entrants with 527 re-entries. The prize pool topped v10 million with €1,488,000 initially set aside to the champion.
France's Simon Wiciak attempted to go wire to wire after he emerged as an early chip leader. He pushed around his big stack effectively and landed a spot among the final six as the big stack with 22.8M in chips. Wiciak was a promising football player who dabbled in online poker, but decided to focus on an engineering degree instead of sports.
Santigo Plante from Montreal, Canada was third overall with 7.5 million, but he was outchipped by 3-1 from the big stack. In fact the bottom four stacks combined barely matched up against Wiciak's big stack.
A trio of South Americans were among the three small stacks including two Brazilians -- Joao Sydenstricker (6.15M) and Andre Akkari (4.5M) -- and Argentina's Ezequiel Waige (5.15M).
Akkari is... well... Akkari! He's one of the greatest poker pros from Brazil and inspired a whole new generation of poker players. He has over $3.6 million in tournament earnings including a WSOP bracelet.
Ezequiel Waige, a pro from Argentina, banked over $2 million in live poker over the last decade, and he's been a menace at the online tables playing under the moniker of eze88888.
Waigel was the first player eliminated among the final six when he battled with Sydenstricker. The two small stacks went to battle with the Brazilian coming out on top with Big Slick vs. The Tourist (aka Ace-Seven). Waigel banked €302,500 for sixth place.
Short-stacked Akkari attempted to triple up with baby suited connectors against two players (Sydenstricker and Shaw) with King-Queen offsuit. He flopped a flush draw and never got there. The Brazilian PokerStars pro hit the bricks in fifth place, which paid out €393,300.
Plante's run ended in fourth place when his pocket Queens were run down by Shaw's straight with . Shaw flopped an open-ended straight draw and locked up a King-high straight on the turn. Plante had a decent score worth €511,300 for a fourth-place finish, eh.
With three players remaining, they paused the action to discuss a deal. Sydenstricker held the big stack with 25.725M followed by Wiciak (23.575M), and Shaw (14.275M). They agreed to an ICM deal with Sydenstricker locking up €1,048,555, Wiciak getting €1,025,400, and Shaw snagging at least €901,070. The final three played out for the title, trophy and nearly 109K in cash.
Shaw made a valiant final stand with but was outgunned by Wiciak's . Shaw flopped a pair of Kings to take the lead. However, the Brit would get his junked kicked in with a runner-runner Broadway straight. A Jack hit the turn and the Ace of spades spiked on the river. Wiciak filled in a Broadway straight to win the pot. Shaw hit the rail in third place, which paid out €901,070 per the terms of the deal.
Wiciak chipped up to 38.3M and held a lead over Sydenstricker's 25.275M when heads-up began. The EPT Barcelona Main Event would come down to France versus Brazil.
On the final hand, Wiciak sniffed out a bluff much to the dismay of the gaggle of Brazilians on the rail.
Sydenstricker held and failed to hit any of the board of . The wooly Braziluan shoved on the river and forced Wiciak to make a tough decision. The Frenchman held . He caught a wee bit of the flop with middle pair, then turned a gutshot straight draw, but whiffed on the river. He had a decent bluff catcher with two pair and ultimately made a call to sniff out a bluff and win the pot… and tournament.
Sydenstricker took home €1,048,555 for a runner-up finish. Not too shabby, eh?
Wiciak won his first EPT event and he banked a first-place prize in Barcelona worth €1,134,375.
2023 EPT Barcelona Main Event
Entrants: 2,120 (with 527 re-entries)
Prize Pool: €10.28 million
Final Table Results:
1. Simon Wiciak(France) €1,134,375 **
2. Joao Sydenstricker (Brazil) €1,048,555 **
3. Carl Shaw (UK) €901,070 **
4. Santiago Plante (Canada) €511,300
5. Andre Akkari(Brazil) €393,300
6. Ezequiel Waigel (Argentina) €302,500
** 3-way money deal