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POKER STORY

Liv from San Remo: UB party girl rocks the EPT

It may have taken a little longer than she’d have liked, but the devil horns had the chance to rise as UB.com’s Liv Boeree triumphed over a record field to capture her first major title

It certainly hadn’t been easy to get there, but when the volcanic ash had settled on another hugely successful EPT stop in San Remo, England’s TV presenter-turned-poker-pro Liv Boeree was certainly glad she made the trip.

Boeree, like countless hundreds of her fellow tournament players, had been affected by the recent rumblings of an Icelandic volcano en route to Italy, but the suspended air travel didn’t stop a record-breaking 1,240 runners eventually making their way to the San Remo leg of this year’s tour.

Indeed, many of the pros that belatedly took their seat on Day 1b of the €5,000 buy-in tournament had to endure a gruelling 14-hour coach journey on a ride dubbed the “PokerStars Express” to get there, but get there they did and finally a six-day poker spectacular could begin in earnest.

That said, if Boeree had have known in advance how the event would ultimately pan out, she would surely have been prepared to swim the channel and walk to San Remo to take her seat, because after 1,239 bust-outs and countless hours of poker she emerged €1.25 million richer as an EPT champion.

In doing so, the Ultimate Bet-sponsored poker pro became not only the third woman to have lifted an EPT title alongside fellow Londoner Vicky Coren and Germany’s Sandra Naujoks, but also the first female to win a tour event outside of her native country – and what’s more, she did it all having only qualified for the event via satellite.

In truth, the result was no more than Boeree deserved as she rocked the final table with a five-star performance that saw her ride a commanding chip stack all the way to heads-up play, where she defeated Swedish online pro Jakob Carlsson after holding her nerve in a back-and-fourth tussle for the title.

The 25-year-old astrophysics graduate remained resolute in the face of Carlsson’s relentless aggression, picking her spots and knocking the Swede off of hands with some well timed all-ins. So perfectly-executed was Boeree’s gameplan that she took a 3-to-1 chip lead into the dinner break and, an hour later, returned to devour the remainder of young internet phenom’s chips.

The final flourish came about just a few hands after play resumed, with Carlsson quickly moving all-in over the top of Boeree’s 700,000 button raise for a total of just over seven million. After asking for a count, Boeree swiftly cut out the requisite amount to make the call and found her pocket fives in a coin-flip situation against the Swede’s Ad-6d.

An innocuous board of 10d-Ks-8s-7s-Jc provided no help for Carlsson and Boeree’s baby pair duly held up to hand her the first major title of her career so far and a life-changing pay-out that will surely see her become a fixture on the tour for many years to come. Carlsson, meanwhile, took €750,000 with him back home to Sweden and can be proud of a performance that will mark him out as one to watch in future.

With the title, the prize money and all of the chips now in her possession, a clearly delighted Boeree was practically overcome with emotion as she tried to form a coherent sentence in the post-game interview. However, once the die-hard metal fan had recovered the powers of speech, she told the assembled reporters:

“Winning a major event is exactly what I’ve been working towards. I went round to all the EPTs as a host, but the whole time all I was thinking was ‘I want to play!’”

Also at the final table was fellow UK-based player and 1970s cop show look-a-like Michael Piper, who further held up England’s interest abroad with an entertaining assault on the final table that ultimately culminated in a fourth-placed finish.

FINAL TABLE PAYOUTS

1st Liv Boeree - €1,250,000


2nd Jakob Carlsson - €750,000


3rd Toni Petterson - €420,000


4th Michael Piper - €345,000


5th Alexey Rybin - €270,000


6th Giuseppe Diep-Minh-Khoa - €210,000


7th Claudio Piceci - €150,000


8th Atanas Gueorguiev - €90,000

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