On 31st January, 2011, the Deauville leg of the EPT, European Poker Tour came to a close with French national poker player Lucien Cohen defeating seven other participants to be crowned the main event final table winner and earn a substantial €880,000. 891 poker players entered the EPT event and the field of participants included some of the freshest talent on the international poker scene.
Held at the Deauville International Centre, this leg of the European Poker Tour was a highly anticipated event with the largest number of participants involved seen on the EPT so far for an individual leg. Famous poker players included Victoria Coren, John Duthie, Fernando Brito and Jack Elwood whilst Raymond Domenech, former French national football team coach, was an interesting face to be found at the tables.
Lucien Cohen’s success came after beating the following final table participants: two fellow Frenchmen – Julien Claudepierre and Anthony Hnatow, a Swede called Martin Jacobson, Canadian Alex Wice, Latvian Kaspars Renga, Belgian Kenny Hallaert and Ukrainian prospect Ruslan Prydryk. It was the Ukrainian Prydryk who suffered elimination first. He had barely sat down before he was leaving the table with his prize money of €66,800. Home favorite Anthony Hnatow was next to see his competition come to an end as he suffered at the hands of Alex Wice to finish 7th.
Cohen shortly got himself into a prime position by taking advantage of Wice’s aggressive cock sure behavior. He doubled up through the Canadian and gained the chip lead. This would prove to be a pivotal point in the tournament. This loss of chips didn’t put Wice off his game though and it wasn’t long before he took out Belgian player Kenny Hallaert. Belgium made up a third of the final 24 players in the tournament but Hallaert just ran out of gas, and luck, before he could win the tournament for his home country.
Kaspars Renga was battling well. He had entered the final table as the chip minnow with only 470,000 chips to his name. Despite surviving down to the last 5 players, he was eliminated by Martin Jacobson who was in no mood to reward Renga’s tenacious style of play. Alex Wice was at it again when he called Julien Claudepierre’s 2.1m chip all-in. It seemed like an act of lunacy but Wice knew what he was doing. Wice showed a Queen and Jack of clubs compared to Claudepierre’s Ace and 5 of clubs. Wice hit a pair of Jacks on the drawn cards to send Claudepierre packing and leave the hopes of a nation in the hands of Lucien Cohen.
Down to the final three players Lucien Cohen, Alex Wice and Martin Jacobson were all fighting the contest of their lives. Wice had been the best value for entertainment and some would protest that if there was any justice in the world the title would have been his. Unfortunately for him, his luck came unstuck against Cohen. In a massive hand that saw Wice’s Ace and Queen take on Cohen’s pair of Queens, the Queens held firm and Cohen eliminated the most exciting participant at the final table. Wice might not have won but he had gained a whole new fan base for his brave and, in places, audacious efforts.
The final heads up came down to Lucien Cohen and Martin Jacobson. Cohen hit an early lead on the first hand and never looked back. He hit a pair of Kings to stretch to 20 million chips compared to Jacobson’s 6.5 million. He showed unrivalled determination and slowly ground away at Jacobson. Jacobson was eventually forced to gamble with a 6 and 7 of hearts looking for the flush. Cohen hit an Ace and a King. Nothing came up for either so Cohen won the EPT and the first place prize money to secure a victory on home soil. He might have won but this tournament was a great display window for a few players who had a chance to show what they have got. There certainly seems to be a future potential EPT Champion in the midst given the talent on show at Deauville.