Francisco Benitez took down two major events early in the first few days of the 2022 European Poker Tour Barcelona festival, emerging victorious in the €10,200 no-limit hold’em mystery bounty event and the first €25,000 high roller of the series for nearly $590,000 in combined earnings. Benitez came within one spot of securing his third title of the series, but was defeated heads-up by German poker pro Leonard Maue.
Maue secured a career-best payday of $672,754 for the win, having outlasted a field of 102 total entries in the €25,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em single-day high roller. The score increased his lifetime earnings to more than $1.9 million.
Benitez took home $434,124 as the runner-up. This was the Uruguayan’s fourth six-figure cash of the series, with his two wins, this score, and another fourth-place finish in a high-roller event in between. He has now cashed for more than $1.2 million during this series.
Benitez was also awarded 700 Card Player Player of the Year points for this latest score. His spree in Spain has seen him accumulate 1,996 total rankings points, enough to move him into 82nd place in the 2022 POY race, sponsored by Global Poker.
Mauer earned 840 POY points for his second POY-qualified final-table finish of the year. The score saw him climb to within reach of the top 300.
The strong turnout for this event resulted in a $2,522,491 prize pool, which was paid out among the top 13 finishers. A Few big names made the money, only to fall short of the final table, including two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Nick Petrangelo (11th – $62,479) and 2013 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure main event winner Dimitar Danchev.Petrangelo and Danchev were knocked out in a three-way all-in what was won by Mitch Halverson.
High-stakes cash game legend Patrik Antonius was the first knocked out at the final table. He called all-in with second pair, only to find himself up against the top pair of two-time bracelet winner Aleksejs Ponakovs.
Dzhavad Abdolvand ran A-8 into the pocket aces of Benitez to finish eighth ($97,674). Halverson (7th – $122,085) soon followed, with his pocket sevens losing a preflop coin flip to the A-10 of Maue.
Ponakovs also saw his run come to an end thanks to a race. His K-Q suited was unable to beat out the pocket sixes of a surging Benitez, and he was sent packing with $152,615 for his efforts. The Latvian poker pro also earned 280 POY points for his seventh final-table finish of the year. He climbed to 43rd place in the standings as a result.
The next big showdown saw Yasuhiro Waki get all-in with a turned two pair, but was up against a flush for Benitez. Yaki was awarded $190,745 after the river failed to improve him to a full house, while Benitez continued to pull away from the rest of the field.
2019 WSOP main event runner-up Dario Sammartino picked up A-Q in the big blind facing a small-blind shove from Benitez. He called and found himself up against pocket fives. Sammartino picked up a straight draw to go with his overcard outs, but failed to improve on the turn or river as was eliminated in fourth place ($238,496).
Imad Derwiche shoved his last 5.5 big blinds from the button with Q-4. Benitez came along from the big blind with Q-J. Derwiche received no help from the board and was sent home in third place, earning $310,009 for his strong showing in this event.
With that Benitez took a 2:1 chip lead into heads-up play with Maue. He expanded that advantage even further in the early going, but Maue managed to double up with pocket sixes besting K-8 suited. Maue then won a crucial preflop race, with 99 holding up against the AK of Benitez to see Maue overtake the lead.
In the final deal of the tournament, Maue shoved from he button with 22. Benitez called with A9. The 5436Q runout saw Maue make a six-high straight to lock up the pot and the title, stopping Benitez just short of his third win at the festival.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:
|Place||Player||Earnings (USD)||POY Points|
Francisco Benitez photo credit: Danny Maxwell / Rational Intellectual Holdings Ltd.