He held the lead after Day Four of the 2023 European Poker Tour Barcelona Main Event. He maintained that edge in the Casino Barcelona for Day Five on Friday. And, on Saturday, Simon Wiciak continued to dominate the field as the EPT Barcelona Main Event reached its final table, with the championship set to be determined on Sunday.
Starting the Day in a Dominant Position
There were a few questions among the sixteen players that were left for the start of action on Saturday at the Casino Barcelona. Perhaps the most pointed was who would be the players that would make it to the final table. Short of having lightning strike him, Wiciak was assured of one of those slots as he sat with a massive lead at the start of the day. The Frenchman held 15.705 million in chips, with the closest competitor, the United Kingdom’s Carl Shaw, only stacked with 6.68 million chips.
As the cards hit the air, one player was in desperate need of some help. PokerStars ambassador Andre Akkari was the short stack to start the day, but just being there for action on Saturday was an achievement for the Brazilian after hitting a runner-runner straight to survive late on Day Five. That opportunity came early on Day Six and Akkari would make the most of the effort.
Pushing from under the gun for his measly 685K stack, Akkari saw the monster stack of Wiciak make the call. Right next to Wiciak was the third-place stack of Curtis Knight, who pushed out a three-bet to isolate Akkari and Wiciak obliged (the PokerStars live stream showed that Wiciak mucked pocket sevens). Once Wiciak’s cards were in the muck, Akkari and Knight unveiled their holdings.
Akkari: pocket Queens
Knight: pocket tens
A Queen on the flop was magic for Akkari and the four on the turn sealed the deal for the Brazilian, earning him the checkmark and a much-needed boost on the leaderboard. It may not have seemed like much but, after the chips were counted, Akkari was up to 2.255 million in chips. He wouldn’t waste them.
As Akkari battled to remain relevant, the players began to fall away from the tables. Knight was able to take down Mircea Flutur in sixteenth to get the chips back that he had lost to Akkari, and Shaw began an attack that saw him take out Daniyar Aubakirov and Oshri Lahmani to approach the 20 million chip mark. That attack from Shaw also saw him take over the chip lead from Wiciak, who was yo-yoing as he tried to take out players.
Final Table Action Furious as Wiciak Returns to the Top
Once Ezequiel Waigel dismissed Jose Rodriguez Zurita from the final two tables, there was a redraw for the final nine men. The unofficial final table saw Shaw and Wiciak vying for the lead, each over the fifteen million mark (17.9 million for Shaw, 15.05 million for Wiciak). The rest of the field was all under the seven million plateau, with Waigel and Day Three chip leader Santiago Plante heading the peloton.
It would take nearly three hours before the first person was knocked out of the unofficial final table. Mihai Niste decided to push his A-10 off suit into the center and Shaw would look him up with pocket sixes; the resulting board brought neither an Ace nor a ten for Niste as he departed in ninth place. Wiciak did the honors in eliminating Robin Ylitalo after he caught a wheel on the river, ending Ylitalo’s time in Barcelona in eighth place and shooting Wiciak back into the lead.
After a dinner break, Akkari would stay alive after making a flush against Wiciak’s straight, but the news wasn’t as good for Knight. He would clash with Shaw, Knight’s pocket tens in a tenuous lead over Shaw’s J-10, and the Jack on the flop basically ended Knight’s tournament in seventh place, and a blank on the turn did end Knight’s run. With that, the final six men bagged their chips and prepared to crown a champion on Sunday.
1. Simon Wiciak (France), 22.875 million
2. Carl Shaw (United Kingdom), 17.4 million
3. Santiago Plante (Canada), 7.5 million
4. Joao Sydenstricker, 6.15 million
5. Ezequiel Waigel (Argentina), 5.15 million
6. Andre Akkari (Brazil), 4.5 million
If you’re wagering on a potential champion for the 2023 EPT Barcelona Main Event, then you’re not going to get much money putting anything down on Wiciak or Shaw. To get some bang for your buck, it might be a better bet to look to Plante, who was the previous leader before Wiciak went on his run.
The final table for the 2023 EPT Barcelona Main Event is set to resume action at noon (local time, 6 AM Eastern Daylight Time) on Sunday at the Casino Barcelona. PokerStars will roll out the live stream after a 30-minute delay on both their Twitch and YouTube platforms. At stake for the next champion on the EPT will be a €1.4 million payday and a victory in one of the most prestigious events on the European circuit.