The final table of EPT in Prague had 3 italian players this year, Massimo Di Cicco, Francesco Cirianni and Salvatore Bonavena. And it was Salvatore who was going to be the last man standing after winning against his fellow Italian - PokerStars qualifier, Massimo Di Cicco in heads up.
Chip count as the final table started.
1. Salvatore Bonavena, Italy - 1,402,000
2. Alexiou Konstantinos, Greece - 1,382,000
3. Francesco Cirianni, Italy - 807,000
4. Fredrik Nygård, Finland - 666,000
5. Massimo Di Cicco, Italy - 429,000
6. Nasr El Nasr, Germany - 376,000
7. Raul Mestre, Spain - 313,000
8. Andrew Chen, Canada - 309,000
The luck factor played a really important role on the final table of EPT Prague this year. We could see hands like aa beaten by kk, kk beaten by A-6, runner, runner straight against top pair etc. However 2 players that played really good and that many people following the game live probably thought would fight for the EPT Prague title were, Alexiou Konstantinos from Greece and Andrew Chen from Canada as there were only 4 players left in the tournament.
Andrew Chen played his best poker and it seemed like no one could get a read on him this day as he joined Alexiou Konstantinos with around 2 million in chips. At this moment probably no one thought the 2 Italian players left in the tournament, Salvatore Bonavena and Massimo Di Cicco could stand a chance as they were running out of chips and needed to double up to have a chance to stay in the game.
With 4 players left Konstantinos made a few bad moves and went down to 600.000 in chips and then decided to go all-in. He was called by Salvatore who showed k-q and rivered his king. This left Chen alone with the 2 Italians as they were going to play three handed. The Italians throw everything they had at Chen and when Chen finally picked up a pair of kings and went all-in preflop he was called by Salvatore who outdrawed Chen with his A-5. This was a very important hand which could have given Chen a big chip lead. Instead he was suddenly short stacked and went out a few hands later with K-Q against Salvatores A-6.
This meant that 2 Italian players were left in the tournaments and also a guaranteed a first ever Italian player to win an EPT tournament.
As they were playing heads up, Salvatore had three-to-one chip lead, but it seemed that Di Cicco didn't care so much about that and continued playing his best poker and also doubled up against Salvatore and took the game into the early hours. The final hand was later played when Salvatore managed to make an amazing call with 7-8 (diamonds) when Di Cicco went all-in with A-4(no heart) on the Flop 8h-3h-2h. Turn and the river were blank and Salvatore finally took home the tournament and became the first ever Italian to win an EPT tournament.
Salvatore's own words after becoming the first Italian to win an EPT tournament and 774,000 euro.
"I'm really happy; I feel like I'm going to cry," - "I've done something no Italian has ever done. I feel very proud."
1. Salvatore Bonavena, Italy €774,000
2. Massimo Di Cicco, Italy €445,000
3. Andrew Chen, Canada €257,000
4. Konstantinos Alexiou, Greece €199,000
5. Francesco Cirianni, Italy €166,000
6. Fredrik Nygard, Finland €130,000
7. Nasr El Nasr, Germany €71,800
8. Raul Mestre, Spain €71,800