From a man who entered this event with nearly $22 million in career tournament cashes, the admission that this was "one of the best tournaments of my career" make a strong statement. That's what Erik Seidel called his win in the 2015 PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino EPT Grand Final €100,000 Super High Roller. Seidel topped a field of 71 entries to add €2,015,000 to his coffers, making him jump from fifth till third on the poker's all-time money list, surpassing Phil Ivey and Daniel Colman.
"I've knocked on the door a few times here," he said. "It was a surprise to me because I was low on chips all day."
Indeed, Seidel spent much of the day near the bottom of the counts and entered heads-up play at a 3-1 deficit to fast-rising Polish star Dzmitry Urbanovich. However, he managed to grind his way to victory over the course of a lengthy four-hour match that saw him slowly but surely turn the tide. He eventually worked to put Urbanovich away without letting the lead slip from his hands once he grabbed it.
The final day of the tournament began with the official final table of eight players, featuring some of the usual high-stakes stars like Igor Kurganov, Max Altergott, and Scott Seiver.
Seiver came in as the short stack with just about 12 big blinds and found himself out the door in short order. German World Championship of Online Poker champ Fedor Holz was next to go, shoving for 15 big blinds over a button open from Kurganov. Kurganov put him at risk with the , and the board cut the tournament down to six.
Two hands was all it took for Thomas Muehloecker to follow Holz out the door in sixth place. He found a good spot, calling off his last eight big blinds from the big blind with the when Urbanovich shipped with the from the small blind. The star of EPT Malta flopped a three and managed to hold up as Muehloecker bricked out.
Then, Urbanovich ascended to the top when he flopped trip fours with the and took a heap from Kurganov, who was in the lead at the time, and it looked like everyone else might be playing for second because Urbanovich then held half of the chips in play five-handed. Kurganov's fall was completed a bit later when he lost a race to Urbanovich for the rest of his stack and busted in fifth place.
Urbanovich's hot run continued when he cracked Dario Sammartino's with the as the board came , giving Urbanovich a backdoor flush. Two hands later, Altergott, who grinded a short stack the whole day, sent his chips to Seidel.
After the dinner break, the heads-up match began, and Seidel couldn't do much but tread water for the first hour. However, he stayed patient and found a double when Urbanovich shoved the button with the and Seidel woke up with the . The eight-time World Series of Poker gold bracelet winner called off his 12.5-big blind stack and doubled up. He took the lead shortly after when he made a flush with the against the on a board and got paid off for 1.6 million on the river.
From there, Seidel didn't let up and chipped away for the next two hours until Urbanovich limp-shoved for just over 5 million (17 big blinds) with the . Seidel had a dominating , and the board of meant Seidel had his win.
"It feels so good just to get the win," he said afterwards. "I'm just thrilled."