Middleton's EPT Barcelona Triumph

Middleton's EPT Barcelona Triumph

Monday, 9 September 2013

The first EPT winner of the new season has been crowned with Tom Middleton taking the honours in Barcelona over the weekend. The Englishman battled his way through a bumper field of 1,234 players in the Catalan capital to walk away with a first prize of €942,000, a sleek Slyde watch and a place alongside the likes of Vicky Coren, Toby Lewis and Jake Cody in the British EPT winner's club.

The day started with Middleton holding the chip lead but it was Kimmo Kurko who made the first major move, eliminating Andreas Christoforou and Eduard Bhaggoe in quick succession. Frenchman Benoit Gury followed soon after, unlucky to lose with AK against Kresten Nielsen's A6. After Pasi Sormunen's departure in fifth, the final four took a break to discuss a deal but with no agreement reached play continued.

Luca Fiorini hit the rail in fourth after running AJ into Middleton's QQ, €328,000 no doubt providing some consolation. The talkative Nielsen followed the Italian, this time at the hands of Kurko. Nielsen raised with Kd9d with the Finn defending his blind with 7c4c. The flop of 5-8-6 was a perfect one for Kurko and it didn't take long for all the chips to hit the middle. The turn and river were blanks giving Kurko a huge pot and eliminating the Dane.

Once play went two handed attention again turned towards a deal. This time both players agreed with each pocketing at least €750,000. That left €192,000 to play for and the Brit took the lot after his pocket fives held against the Finn's short-stacked shove with A4.

"I just tried to play my stack as well as I could," Middleton told the PokerStars blog. “You've just got to keep your head and keep grinding."

The final table positions and payouts were as follows:

1st. Thomas Middleton, United Kingdom -- €942,000
2nd. Kimmo Kurko, Finland -- €750,000
3rd. Kresten Nielsen, Denmark -- €440,500
4th. Luca Fiorini, Italy -- €328,000
5th. Pasi Sormunen, Finland -- €253,000
6th. Benoit Gury, France - 188,000
7th. Eduard Bhaggoe, Holland -- €143,000
8th. Andreas Christoforou, Cyprus -- €102,430

The EPT heads to Blighty for its next stop with the Grand Connaught Rooms the venue for EPT London. The series runs from 2-12 October with the £5,000 Main Event starting on Sunday 6 October. Qualifiers are up and running at PokerStars where new players can earn a 100% bonus of up to $400 on their first three deposits as well as entry into freerolls worth $50,000. Sign up via BluffEurope.

Tags: EPT Barcelona, Tom Middleton, Kimmo Kurko