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Cast Iron Ibanez Leads Poker´s Elite at EPT Madrid

Ricardo Ibanez Rodriguez – a part time poker player and full time welder – leads the EPT Madrid Main Event as the tournament reaches the final table.

Ricardo IbanezRicardo Ibanez Rodriguez – a part time poker player and full time welder – leads the EPT Madrid Main Event as the tournament reaches the final table.

The last remaining Spaniard in the field rode his luck in pursuit of the €545,000 first prize, to bag up 3,216,000 chips at the end of Day 4 – three quarters of a million chips and twenty-six big blinds ahead of his nearest rival, Scotland´s Frasier Macintyre.

Like a Bull in a China Shop

Ibanez ran like a bull in a china shop straight from the beginning of proceedings on Day 4. Starting the day in tenth place with 635,000 chips, Ibanez bet Bruno Lopez and Ilan Boujenah out of a very valuable pot in the first hand of the day with – we suspect – a major bluff, and then took Boujenah (who had started the day in second place) for another 300,000 chips when his 4 5 made trip Fives on a mixed board.

You Can´t Buy Luck Like This

After a re-shuffle of tables, it was Mike McDonald´s turn to be the victim of Ibanez´s good fortune as the Spaniard hit trip Fours to best McDonald´s Aces, and then Ibanez took the chip lead when he eliminated French poker player Tristan Clemencon (A♠ 5) with 6 7 on a board which ran A 6 9 / 8♣ / 10. After luck like that nobody wanted to take the Spaniard on, and a series of uncontested three and four bets enabled Ibanez to build a commanding advantage.

Chip Leads Guarantee Nothing

All three previous chip leaders were knocked out on Friday. Day 1 overall leader Juan Navarette nursed a small stack through most of the day and was eventually busted in twelfth when his 10 10♣ could not overcome the J♣ J♠ of Frederik Jensen. Day 2 chip leader, Mike McDonald also bust out with 10 10♣ against Andrei Stoenescu (A K) who hit a flop of 10 J Q♣, but the reward for most spectacular fall from glory must go to Day 3 chip leader Joao Paulo Simao.

Does This Sound Like Arsenal to You?

Again wearing the badge of his favourite football team, Simao had started the day with just short of 2 million chips and a commanding advantage over the remainder of the field. He had not enjoyed the good fortune of Ibanez in the first few levels of the day, but was still well positioned in third place when this happened –

Hand 1 Simao shoves his 1.5 million chips all-in with 2♣ 2 on a flop of 9♣ 8 4♣. Frederik Jensen calls with J♣ J and, with the J on the river, Jensen relieves Simao of 600,000 chips.

Hand 2 With around 300,000 chips in the pot, and the board showing A J♠ 7 / K, Simao bets 225,000 chips on the river card 3♠ and mucks unseen when he is called by Fraser Mcintyre.

Hand 3 From the small blind, Simao shoved his last 410,000 chips with A♣ 9♠ into the A♠ 10♣ of Jason Duval. With no help from the board, the Brazilian had blown his entire stack in less than 30 minutes and was eliminated in fifteenth place.

Looking Ahead to the Final Table

When play recommences at the Casino Gran in Madrid this afternoon, blinds will be 15,000/30,000 with a 4,000 ante and the average stack size is 1,789,000. Anything could happen on the final table, as we have a rather fortunate chip leader and second, third and fourth positions are filled by players who benefitted from the reckless play of others during Day 4. Whereas the previous four days were notable for the quick-fire demolition of the field, Saturday’s finale may be a lot different. Will the man of steel hold it together? We shall see!

EPT Madrid Final Table Chip Counts





Ricardo Ibanez



Fraser Mcintyre



Frederik Jensen



Andrei Stoenescu



Bruno Lopes



Ilan Boujenah



Jason Duval



Nicolas Levi