John Juanda has claimed the European Poker Tour (EPT) Barcelona main event title after a yearlong absence from the game.
On Sunday, Juanda claimed his first ever EPT title and a hefty payday of €1,022,593 after seeing off runner-up Steve Warburton, who settled for a mere €941,613 and third-place finisher Frederik Jensen, who took home €810,284.
The €5,300 buy-in main event attracted a field of 1,694 players, creating a prize pool of €8,215,900. Denys Shafikov was the dominant chip-leader among the nine players still contesting the outcome on the final day of play, but ended up finishing fourth, collecting €405,100 in the process.
The final four players briefly considered a deal to chop the pot but Juanda, despite having the shortest stack, was having none of it, as the split offered him only €150k more than he was already guaranteed. Juanda reportedly justified his refusal to negotiate by remarking: “And forfeit the chance for a million?” Touché.
An hour later, Shafikov, who had been looking at a potential €1.5m payday, was sent to the rail and the three remaining players – whose stacks were now on a more even footing – held another huddle, and this time a deal was struck. Warburton would be guaranteed €941,613, Juanda stood to earn €922,593 and Jensen was looking at €810,294, with the remaining €100k going to the eventual winner.
In the end, Juanda’s pocket queens bitch-slapped Warburton’s pair of eights, leaving Juanda with the million-euro payday he appeared hell-bent on claiming for his own. Juanda, who claimed he hadn’t played a hand of poker since his last trip to Barcelona one year ago, saw his career tournament earnings rise to over $17m; good enough for ninth place on the all-time money list.