We’re down to the penultimate day of the 2022 European Poker Tour’s stop in Barcelona, Spain, and it is set up to be a monumental battle. The top five players at the table are separated by only four million chips, meaning that it is anyone’s tournament to win. Right now, it is Patrik Jaros in the lead, but it is a tenuous one of only 400K chips over Kayhan Mokri.
Sixteen Players to the Final Table
Day 5 started with sixteen players on the felt, with Michael Pinto holding the lead over Mokri. The opening moments of the action saw the shorter stacks in the tournament depart, picking up their piece of the €11.125 million prize pool. It also brought new contenders into the game.
With only eight places at the official EPT final table, the battle to be one of those fortunate souls was frenetic. Tigran Harutyunyan was the first departure of the day, running his A-10 into the A-Q of Jimmy Guerrero on a six high board. Jack Salter then took his spot in the final running order, finishing in fifteenth place after making a move on Jaros.
After a raise from Jaros, Salter pondered his situation and decided that an all-in move was the best option. This was music to Jaros’ ears as he immediately made the call with his pocket Kings and Salter sheepishly turned up a Q♣ 10♣ for battle. The Ace high board didn’t dig Salter out of his hole as he headed to the cage to pick up his €81,450 for his finish.
Jaros continued his charge after that point. He would take over the lead from Pinto, eventually crossing the 16 million mark in chips with his elimination of Valentin Cristea in 10th place. With one more position to be decided to make the official EPT final table, the play tightened up and there were few all-ins to push the action.
At this time, Mokri began to dig out from the short stack. Some dubious moves in the early going saw Mokri’s stack shrink to as low as 1.86 million, but he would double up through Guerrero and Pinto to get his stack in a healthier shape. Mokri would eventually find himself atop the leaderboard with nine players left in a hand that stunned the crowd.
After a Fabian Kovalski raise, Scott Margereson three bet the action to 900K while holding pocket Queens. On the button, Mokri made it slightly more than two million to play, which was enough for Kovalski to get out of the way. Margereson, however, made the call and saw the flop.
A 9-5-4 rainbow flop greeted the duo and Margereson checked his option to Mokri. Not hesitating in the slightest, Mokri fired off another 925K bet and Margereson sprung to life with the all-in check raise. Mokri immediately made the call for less and, after the board finished off with a 4♥ on the turn and a 9♣ on the river, Mokri had coolered Margereson and now had nearly 20 million in chips to take over the lead.
Final Table Determined After Dinner Break
Mokri and Jaros were in command with nine players to go, the only players who were over the ten million mark in chips. Jaros went to work, first taking over the lead by eliminating Paul Fischill on the “official” final table bubble, then breaking the 24 million chip plateau in defeating Pinto in a hand as EPT officials decided to let the play continue. Mokri fought back, ending Margereson’s tournament in eighth place when his top pair (Q-J) on a 6-J-9-3-8 board bested Margereson’s 10-8.
One more elimination was necessary before the EPT would stop the action for Sunday’s Championship Day. That unfortunate player was Day Four chip leader Pinto, who saw his stack slip through his fingers for most of the day. Pinto would commit his final chips on a bluff against Kovalski, who had to make a gutsy call with only an Ace-high to end Pinto’s tournament run.
1. Patrick Jaros (Czech Republic), 14.975 million
2. Kayhan Mokri (Norway), 14.575 million
3. Fabiano Kovalski (Brazil), 12.925 million
4. Giuliano Bendinelli (Italy), 10.7 million
5. Neville Mateus (Brazil), 10.55 million
6. Jimmy Guerrero (France), 5.1 million
A player to watch as the final table plays out on Sunday might be Mokri. He has shown a tremendous will to gamble on the trek to the final table and has come off the deck on a couple of occasions. He and Jaros should be the players who decide the tournament tomorrow.
PokerStars Live will live stream the final table over Twitch on a 30-minute delay. The tournament is set to restart at 12:30PM (Barcelona time, 7:30AM Eastern Daylight Time in the U. S.), and will play to the champion. The man who survives the 2294 entry field will walk off with the Spade Trophy and a payday of €1.74 million.