The European Poker Tour (EPT) 2022 Barcelona Main Event was nothing short of an entertaining ride till the end. When the event ended, the spotlight was on Italian player Giuliano Bendinelli after he shipped the prestigious title and also for his epic comeback! You see, Bendinelli was on his last leg with only 1 big blind left at the final table against Jimmy Guerrero when he managed to not only recover but also end up becoming the ME champion. He pocketed a lovely €1,491,133 and the trophy for his victory.
This was also the biggest EPT Main Event in history as a total of 2,294 entries were recorded. In the end, the prize pool reached a whopping €11,125,900, which was shared among the top 328 players who finished in the money. The min-cash given was €5,907.
Bendinelli along with seven other players made it to the final table. However, it was early on in the day when six players were remaining when Bendinelli almost lost his entire stack to Guerrero. After this massive loss, the 31-year-old had only 1 big blind left. Despite this, he managed to make an incredible comeback, and with an enthusiastic Italian rail, Bendinelli just became a part of a real life ‘chip and a chair’ story.
When the end seemed close for Bendinelli, having only 1 BB, he was able to triple up immediately after when he jammed for 475,000 form the hijack position with A ♠ 4 ❤ . With blinds at 200,000/400,000, Jimmy Guerrero called from the small blind with 6 ❤ 5 ♣. Patrik Jaros called the big blind with Q ♠ 5 ❤ . The board opened to A ♦ J ♦ 4 ♣ K ❤ 7 ♣ and Bendinelli scored a much-needed triple up with his two pairs (AA, 44).
The next crucial moment came when Fabiano Kovalski raised 1,500,000 from the small blind with Q ♠ 2 ♣ and Bendinelli called from the big blind, risking 1,425,000 with 5 ♦ 4 ♦ . The board ran out K ♦ K ♠ 6 ♠ 6 ❤ A ♠ and fortunately for Bendinelli the pot was chopped between the two and he survived. After this, Bendinelli doubled up through Kayhan Mokri when he flopped a full house and added another 2,220,000 to his growing stack. From then on, the Italian player was on his way to victory as he continued to extend his lead.
When heads-up was reached, Bendinelli and Guerrero agreed to settle on a deal that guaranteed €1,422,480 to Bendinelli and €1,250,337 to Guerrero. The two then began the heads-up play for an additional €68,653, along with the trophy and the glorious title.
In the final hand, Giuliano Bendinelli raised to 3,000,000 with 8 ❤ 8 ♣ and Jimmy Guerrero defended the big blind with J ♠ 7 ♠. When the flop J ❤ 9 ♣ 8 ♠ appeared on the board, Guerrero check-called for 2,500,000. With J ♣ on the turn, Guerrero check-called for 5,500,000. The river 8 ♦ completed the board and when Guerrero led for 3,800,000, Bendinelli jammed. Guerrero then called all in for his remaining 16,000,000.
In pure excitement, Bendinelli jumped from his seat to celebrate with his rail and rushed back to flip his quad eights. Guerrero’s full boat did not help and was the runner-up for €1,250,337.
“I can’t believe it. It’s the best day of my life. I’m speechless,” said Bendinelli while radiating a post-victory glow. “I can’t believe it happens today, in the most important day of my life,” he further stated.
“I’m proud about how I played, but also I won some showdowns, of course, to be here. I need luck, like the last hand with quads against a full house, so it’s a mix between skill and luck. I’m grateful to be here.”
With his win, Bendinelli is now the third Italian player to become an EPT Main Event champion. The first was Salvatore Bonavena who shipped the title in the 2008 EPT Prague and the second was by Antonio Buonanno in the 2014 EPT Monte Carlo.
The player had one of the most energetic Italian rail backing him up during the entire final table. Among them was his mother who had come to see her son’s deep run in the tournament. To his encouraging rail, Bendinelli said, “Thank you guys for all the support, I love you,” he then expressed his love for his parents. “I love you mom, and this victory is for my dad,” added the ME champ.
|5||Patrik Jaros||Czech Republic||€434,850|
|8||Scott Margereson||United Kingdom||€198,000|
(* indicates a deal)
Photo Credit: PokerNews
Donna Amo was a writer at Gutshot Magazine. She is a graduate from Sophia College of Women, Mumbai with a degree in English Literature. When this October born foodie is not writing content or poetry, she spends her time laughing at memes or watching series. Based out of Mizoram, she is drawn to all things nature and has a soft spot for puppies.
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