Sunday August 26,2012 : BELARUS VICTORY IN EPT BARCELONA
 
Mikalai Pobal takes a star-studded field by surprise
 
After a hard week's poker the Euro 5,300 buy-in Pokerstars European Poker Tour Barcelona main event concluded over the weekend with a little-known internet player from Belarus, Mikalai Pobal (28), besting a record field of 1,082 to take home the Euro 1,007,550 main prize, along with an expensive watch from luxury Swiss brand HD3, a sponsor for the event.
 
And what an entry field it was, featuring notable names like  Gus Hansen, Ilari Sahamies, Ivan Demidov, Fatima Moreira De Melo, Ville Wahlbeck, Daniel Negreanu, Jason Mercier, Lex Veldhuis, Angel Guillen, Sebastian Ruthenberg, John Juanda, Mike “Timex” McDonald, JC Alvarado, Justin Bonomo, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, Jonathan Duhamel, Dario Minieri, Liv Boeree and 2011 WSOP Main Event champ Pius Heinz.
 
The 12-hour long final table comprised Pobal in the middle of the pack, and Ilari Sahamies, Joni Jouhkimainen, Anaras Alekberovas, Samuel Rodriguez, Sinel Anton, Antonin Duda and John Juanda, and culminated in an exciting heads up between Pobal and Sahamies which the young player from Minsk won comfortably to secure his biggest ever pay day (his previous best live cash was Euro 7,500!)
 
Sahamies' second placing was still worth an impressive Euro 629,700, making for a profitable week for the Finn when combined with the Euro 291,900 he banked from a fourth place finish in the EPT Barcelona Euro 50,000 Super High Roller competition.
 
The massive Euro 5.24 million prize pool paid out to 160 players, including 38 who qualified online through Pokerstars satellites, accounting for Euro 1.26 million of the prize money. Two of those were final tablers – Anaras Alekberovas from Lithuania (finished fourth for Euro 301,750) and Czech player Antonin Duda (seventh for Euro 125,950).
 
A 25-year-old Spanish university student, Samuel Rodriguez, scored a remarkable coup in the event after qualifying in a Euro 50 Pokerstars satellite for his first live tournament action – he made it through the stellar field to the final table to finish fourth for Euro 230,900.
 
EPT Barcelona will undoubtedly go down in the book as a tournament to be remembered. Pokerstars brought together its EPT and the national tour in Spain, Estrellas Poker Tour, in a week-and-a-half poker extravaganza that paid out millions and attracted 6,850 players to 50 different events.