The delayed final table of the Partouche Poker Tour provided as much drama, excitement and quality poker play as the whole of the previous five days of competition from back in September when the tournament first started.
With €1 million guaranteed for the winner and three “home” players still in the event, a noisy rail also guaranteed a fantastic atmosphere over the two day conclusion to the prestigious Main Event – won late on Sunday afternoon by UK poker player, Sam Trickett.
How the Weekend Started
Sam had been fancied to win this tournament after becoming the alternative November Nine chip leader back in September, but his task was far from straightforward. Seated immediately to his left was Oleksii Kovalchuk, who had stormed into a massive Day 2 chip lead, to almost be eliminated on Day 3 and then enjoy outrageous swings of fortune to survive through Days 4 and 5. Also considered to be a potential threat were Italian Mustapha Kanit and Frenchman Alexandre Coussy – who were the first two players to crack through the two million chip mark – and Salman Behbehani, who was looking forward to his return to Cannes – the scene of three good cashes in the recent WSOP Europe.
A Lively Start and Wissing is Missing
Despite the two month break, there was no “getting to know you period”. Alexander Dovzhenko exchanged places with young gun Oleksii Kovalchuk after an early shoved was called and lost by the dangerous Ukrainian, and Mads Wissing was elevated to the top of the leaderboard after winning quick-fire pots against Mustapha Kanit and Salman Behbehani – both of who dropped below the 2 million chip mark. However Wissing was the first player to be eliminated after running into Sam Trickett’s (A♦ 4♦) rivered flush and then getting the rest of chips into the centre of the table with an overpair, only for Trickett to flop trip eights and send the Dane to the rail.
Trickett the Centre of the Action
With his huge chip advantage, Sam began bossing the table. His aggression however enabled Kovalchuk to double up and get back into the game, while the other short stack – Ilan Boujenah – took a huge lump out of Sam’s stack when his AK collected on a board of 8-8-3 / K / K against Sam’s 8-9 (Kings over Eights –v- Eights over Kings). Despite these setbacks, Sam maintained a chip stack more than double the resurgent Oleksii Kovalchuk, until the Ukrainian practically drew level in chips following the elimination of Alexandre Coussy (6♠ 6♥), who came second in a race against Kovalchuk’s A♠ Q♠. Trickett surged ahead once more with the elimination of Alexander Dovzhenko and gained even more breathing space when an unusually timid Roger Hairabedian doubled up against Kovalchuk.
The Rise of Salman Behbehani
Incredibly Sam Trickett was not to end the first of the two day finale as chip leader. That privilege – albeit a narrow one – went to Salman Behbehani who busted Mustapha Kanit with AA against Kanit’s Q-10 suited, and then went on to dismiss Hairabedian (A-7) in fifth when the Frenchman could catch an Ace to master Behbehani’s pocket Aces. At the end of Day one, the relative chip stacks looked like this –
When play resumed on Day 2, the blinds were 50K/100K with a 10K ante
The Trickett Hurt and Rescue Act
Sam’s Sunday did not start to plan. He quickly found himself as the short stack having been sucked out by Ilan Boujenah’s gutshot straight against Sam’s pocket Jacks. Boujenah’s time at the top of the leaderboard was brief however. First he was crippled by Salman Behbehani before losing the rest of his chips to Oleksii Kovalchuk (who called against 8-9s with Q-3o – and held!). Another of Kovalchuk’s daft calls (Q-9s versus Trickett’s A-7s) got Sam back into the game, and he eventually knocked the Ukrainian out in third when his A-4s held against Kovalchuk’s K-9o.
Sam Still at a Disadvantage in the Heads Up
Going into the heads Up against Salman Behbehani, Sam Trickett was at a 5.6 million –v- 11.8 million chip disadvantage, but chipped away at the American with his trademark aggression until the chips were level. If Behbehani was waiting for Sam to make a mistake, it did not happen. Eventually the American five-bet shoved with A-J to be called by Sam with pocket Tens. The Tens held and Sam Trickett had just taken down the Partouche Poker Tour Main Event for €1 million and, at the same time overtaken Roland de Wolf and Dave Ulliott on the all-time tournament earnings list for English poker players.
Partouche Poker Tour Main Event Final Places
|1||Sam Trickett||England||€ 1,000,000|
|2||Salman Behbahani||USA||€ 600,000|
|3||Oleksii Kovalchuk||Ukraine||€ 380,000|
|4||Ilan Boujenah||Israel/France||€ 300,000|
|5||Roger Hairabedian||France||€ 230,000|
|6||Mustapha Kanit||Italy||€ 190,000|
|7||Alexandre Dovzhenko||Russia||€ 160,000|
|8||Alexandre Coussy||France||€ 130,000|
|9||Mads Wissing||Denmark||€ 100,000|