In a thrilling finale at the EPT Barcelona, Simon Wiciak stood tall as he seized the Main Event title and a grand prize of €1,134,375 after a commanding performance. It was a victory three days in the making, with Wiciak maintaining the chip lead throughout Days 5, 6, and the climactic Final Table.
Starting the final day with a solid lead, Wiciak commanded an impressive 22,875,000 in chips. Even though he’s playing professionally online, his best live result so far was 344th place at the 2023 WSOP Main Event for $44,700, so this tournament was a definitive game-changer for the French pro. Hot on his heels was UK's Carl Shaw, propelled by significant wins on Day 6, which saw him eliminate two formidable opponents and end the day with a solid 17,400,000 in chips.
Although Wiciak and Shaw together possessed over 63% of the total chips, the battle was far from over. Santiago Plante, Joao Sydenstricker, and Ezequiel Waigel weren’t about to let the duo have an easy victory, especially with the loud support we’re usually used to at football stadiums. And, of course, we can't forget the PokerStars Team pro Andre Akkari, who showcased resilience throughout the tournament, often battling with a short stack but always staying in the game. On Day 4, two outer on the river saved his tournament life.
As the hands played out, Wiciak's journey was not without challenges. After losing his lead temporarily, he had to regain his ground. His biggest threat was Joao Sydenstricker, a Brazilian player overshadowed at the start by the more renowned Akkari but soon stole the limelight with his antics and several good plays.
Good game to @aakkari - he put on a short stack masterclass over multiple days - but it was one all-in too many, and he's out in fifth place, winning €393,300.— PokerStars LIVE (@PokerStarsLIVE) September 3, 2023
The action continues, join the rail at https://t.co/SB357usSaR or https://t.co/ZarB0RN21O#EPTBarcelona pic.twitter.com/SnhnRdh1nt
The tournament progressed with Plante and Waigel having their moments. Waigel's journey ended when his A7 went up against Sydenstricker's dominant AK. And Plante, despite a hopeful run, faced heartbreak when a dramatic K sealed his fate against Shaw's Q9.
After several hands played out among the final three, the trio paused to discuss the numbers, ultimately agreeing to an ICM deal. Sydenstricker, holding the biggest stack, secured €1,048,555, Wiciak followed closely, pocketing €1,025,400, while Shaw locked in a commendable €901,070. Even after this agreement, €108,975 and the coveted Main Event trophy remained up for grabs.
With no ICM to worry about from this point on, Shaw was the first one to fall, leaving Wiciak and Sydenstricker to face off for the win.
The defining moment came in the form of a monumental pot against Sydenstricker. After a long tank, Wiciak made an impressive hero call, leaving even commentators in awe, which led him to secure the title.
“It’s everything at the same time,” emotional Wiciak revealed to Joe Stapleton after the win. “I’m thinking about my parents, I’m thinking about this tournament. My life is changing with this money. All the three last days, the camera didn’t catch me, but I was crying sometimes, hiding in the halls. There is too much emotion. Even if I look in control, confident in my plays, there is still a big part, you are human.”
“It’s the first time I play in a Main Event of the EPT, and coming here, with all this crew behind me, everything together, the win, the crew, the moment, the work I have done for the last few months, the downswing I had. If you add everything together, you want to scream, you know.”
2023 EPT Barcelona Main Event Final Table Results
|3||Carl Shaw||United Kingdom||€901,070*|