Popular poker professional Chris ‘BigHuni’ Hunichen turned a hard week into his best live tournament poker result, with second-place finisher Uri Reichenstein. after triumphing in the EPT Barcelona High Roller for $927,408. Hunichen will take home €841,345 and the trophy while Reichenstein won €794,415.
It was a fitting end to the 2019 PokerStars EPT Barcelona as the room was cleared and the only two players lasting were Hunichen and Reichenstein. Hunichen announced via social media that he was playing with a despairing mood this week at Casino Barcelona after getting some bad news when arriving at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, the U.S. Poker Open.
Having just arrived in the Catalan capital, Hunichen received the “devastating news” that his father had been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, before finding out just hours later that one of his close friends had died due to a heart attack.
As both news weren’t hard enough to deal with, Hunichen then had the sensitive effect of his pet dog of 13 years being diagnosed with kidney disease and pancreatitis, Hunichen got that news on the same day.
Beginning the week with such a grief there was victory ahead waiting for Hunichen that for most players would have been impossible. The €10,300 ($11,400) EPT High Roller event was an all-star affair with VIP room for the most elite of players, so it was a remarkable success for Hunichen to record the title for the biggest win of his poker career. ‘BigHuni’ earned just shy of a million dollars for winning his emotional state with outstanding mental strength and dominant in the most difficult situations.
This was Reichenstein’s 11th cash at Casino Barcelona in the last three years as he seems to find a huge success at this stop on the world tour. Both players were happy to come to an agreement after a long day of work and both will walk away winners tonight. The finale began with 26 players coming back to their seats and it wasn’t long before the three table redraw occurred. There were several big-name players of finalists such as Anton Wigg, WSOP 2018 Main Event runner-up Tony Miles and Belgian legend Davidi Kitai and it was Manuel Bardon who was eliminated on the final table bubble when his pocket kings were cracked.
It was well known that the remaining players could be in for the long haul if they were to make a deep run. The tanking began early on as players looked to ladder their way up the payouts with Jack Salter and Anton Siden being the main culprits and given warnings.
By the final table of nine, there were still some of poker’s best at the table. Jack Salter would be first to depart the final table, however, and after ups and downs of last few levels of play, the final table chip leaders of Pauli Ayras and Uri Reichenstein – one of the most successful players at Casino Barcelona over the course of poker history – had been hidden by the gutsy and highly-skilled American Hunichen.
Reichenstein’s Possible Victory
Heading into the final table, Pauli Ayras and Reichenstein were sitting at the top of the counts which would prove pivotal in how the final table would shape out. Salter became the first casualty when his pocket fours got counterfeited against the ace-king of Hunichen. A double-paired board left Salter walking away in ninth place.
Moments later, Antonios Paschalidis saw his short stack diminish with king-jack against the pocket aces of Lander Lijo, leaving just seven players to head on a dinner break.
When the players returned from dinner, one of the largest pots of the tournament occurred. Ayras and Reichenstein collided head on in a massive pot that saw Ayras call off his stack with pocket aces on the river. Unfortunately for him, Reichenstein got frisky and floated on the flop only to make a runner-runner flush to eliminate Ayras in seventh place.
The next two eliminations occurred in back-to-back hands with Lijo losing a flip to Hunichen to wind up in fifth place.
Following him to the payout desk was Tibor Nagygyorgy who remained fairly quiet at the final table but managed to ladder his way up to a fifth-place finish. Nagygyorgy was in a tough spot heading to the flop with ace-six against Andreas Berggren’s pocket tens. A flopped full house was enough to put Berggren in the driver’s seat, leaving just four players remaining.
At one point in the four-handed action, all four players were hovering around similar chip stacks until things took a turn for the worse for Pablo Melogno. After paying off Hunichen in one spot, Melogno was down to around 10 big blinds. He called a shove from Reichenstein and the roller coaster of a hand began. Reichenstein flopped a pair with his two live cards but Melogno turned a larger pair. However, the river gave Reichenstein two pair and Melogno bowed out in fourth place.
The players came to a deal heads up. Three-handed play continued for over 90 minutes with Hunichen running the show for most of the time. His continued aggression on the big stack took its toll on Berggren who dwindled down to under 15 big blinds. The Swede eventually shipped all in with queen-jack on the button but ran into the ace-queen of Reichenstein. Berggren was unable to come from behind and was eliminated in third place.
With such a large pay jump between first and second place, Hunichen and Reichenstein decided to run some numbers and work out a chop. After some discussion, the two players worked out a chip chop and Hunichen was awarded the trophy as the current chip leader.
That wraps up the coverage from the PokerNews live reporting team at the 2019 PokerStars EPT Barcelona where champions were crowned, and millions were earned. There are many other events still ongoing elsewhere so keep it locked here for all your poker coverage.
The man who battled through so much in the build-up was the last man standing, claiming a record tournament win for his career and bringing his live tournament earnings up to almost $6.5 million.