Rainer Kempe has been waiting patiently for his chance to take the top spot at a big-name tournament. After fifth place finishes in European Poker Tour (EPT) main events and both a World Poker Tour and World Series of Poker final table, he finally took first place the EPT12 Prague €25,000 Single-Day High Roller, pocketing €539,000 for his efforts.
Kempe was the last man standing after a 15-hour final day. The tournament, which started with just 80 entrants, amassed a prize pool of almost €2 million. Noel Thorel of France came in second place and took home €383,200. Kempe and Thorel beat out a number of top-notch players including EPT winners Davidi Kitai, Kevin MacPhee, and Martin Finger, along with PokerStars Pros Andre Akkari and Liv Boeree.
Tobias Reinkemeier and Adrian Mateos were the chip leaders when the bubble burst. (The top-11 players went home with cash.) Though he was far from last in terms of chip count, EPT12 Prague €50,000 Super High Roller winner Steve O’Dwyer was the first to bust thereafter, going home in 11th place. Vladimir Troyanovskiy of Russia was next, which set up the nine-man final table.
The dismissal of Piotr Franczak and Luuk Gieles took it down to seven. Gieles ran his ace-nine against Thorel’s sevens and the eventual runner-up was victorious.
One of two non-European players, Hong Kong’s Kitson Kho, went all-in holding a queen-six against Kempe’s ten-five suited and the latter managed to turn two pairs by the river. David Yan of New Zealand busted next, also to Kempe. He went home in fifth with €152,900.
When the final three came to a head, Thorel quieted all talks of a deal between Kempe and Ramin Hajiyev. Hajiyev was the next to go when his A-J ran into Kempe’s A-Q.
The confident Thorel started heads-up play with the lead but it bounced around over the next hour and the stacks were fairly even for much of heads-up play. Thorel’s effective undoing came on a bluff. He raised pre-flop with a king and wound up with a flush draw after the turn. He missed on the river but forced Kempe all-in, nonetheless, with the board showing (Q-3-3-8-5). Kempe called with just ace high and took the massive pot.
The next hand sealed the deal and the Frenchman went home with €383,200.
Final table results:
(Photo credit: Moyan Brenn, Creative Commons).
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