Two of the largest events of the 2022 European Poker Tour Monte Carlo series sw their final tables play out on the same day. While Marcelo Simoes Mesqueu was making history as the first Brazilian EPT main event champion ever crowned, the €25,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em high roller event was also playing down to a champion. The tournament attached a sizable field of 179 entries to create a prize pool equivalent to more than $4.5 million when reckoned in US dollars.
After three days of high-stakes action, Italy’s Gianluca Speranza emerged victorious with the title and the top payout of €853,000 ($895,650 USD). This was the largest payday of his career, surpassing the $804,578 he earned as the runner-up finisher in the 2017 World Series of Poker Europe main event. Speranza now has more than $4.4 million in career cashes to his name.
Speranza also took home 1,092 Card Player Player of the Year points for the win. This was his first POY-qualified score of the year, but it alone was enough to move him inside the top 100 in the 2022 POY race sponsored by Global Poker.
The top 27 finishers made the money in this event, with plenty of big names making deep runs including bracelet winner Sam Greenwood (24th – $45,129 USD), Thomas Muehloecker (22nd – $49,644 USD), bracelet winner Ben heath (20th – $54,149 USD), Super High Roller Bowl champion Christoph Vogelsang (19th – $54,149 USD), recent €50,000 buy-in high roller winner Pascal Lefrancois (18th – $54,149), bracelet winner Joao Vieira (13th – $74,456 USD), and four-time bracelet winner Dominik Nitsche (12th- $74,456 USD).
The final day began with 13 players remaining, with Speranza in third chip position when cards got back in the air. Recent Itish Poekr Open main event winner Steve O’Dwyer hit the rail in ninth place ($101,084 USD) when his A-J ran into the pocket kings of Byron Kaverman. Bracelet winner and 2019 EPT Monte Carlo main event champion Manig Loeser was the eighth-place finisher ($122,294), with his A-J suited failing to beat out the pocket queens of Speranza.
Jean-Noel Thorel, who won the €10,000 mystery bounty event at the start of this series, placed seventh for $168,777 USD when his 7-6 clashed with the K-Q of Bruno Lopes. Speranza scored his second knockout at the final table when his A-7 bested the pocket nines of Rodrigo Seiji ($204,425 USD). Speranza made aces up on the turn to narrow the field to five.
Byron Kaverman was the next to fall. He got all-in with K-4 suited facing the A-K of Speranza. Both players made two pair by the river, but Speranza’s aces and kings were best and Kaverman was eliminated in fifth place ($265,755 USD).
Speranza’s surge continued when he picked up pocket queens against the pocket sixes of Marton Czuczor. All the chips went in preflop, and Speranza flopped a set to take a commanding lead. Czuczor was drawing dead by the turn and settled for $345,492 USD as the fourth-place finisher.
2013 PokerSTars Caribbean Adventure main event champion Dimitar Danchev’s run in this event came to an end when his top pair of kings ran into the sixes and fives of Lopes. Danchev could win with a king, queen, or four on the river, but the 3 on the end saw him eliminated in third place ($449,148 USD).
The final two players struck a deal that redistribute the remaining prize money, leaving €40,000 and the trophy to play for. Speranza locked up $853,650 USD while Lopes secured $739,190 USD. Speranza held the lead at the time of the deal, and remained ahead when the decisive hand was dealt. With Q926 on the board, Lopes bet 400,000. Speranza raised to 1,100,000 and Lopes moved all-in. Speranza called with 83 for a flopped flush. Lopes was drawing dead, with his Q8 unable to improve to the best hand on the river. The 3 on the end made it official: Speranza had won, while Lopes had finished as the runner-up, taking home the payout he negotiated as part of the heads-up deal.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:
Jean Noel Thorel
Photo credit: Danny Maxwell / Rational Intellectual Holdings Ltd.