Twenty-year-old American poker pro Carter Phillips ended the five day PokerStars EPT Barcelona tournament Wednesday as the champion, besting an original entry field of 478 players to collect the trophy, the kudos and the main prize cheque for Euro 850 000.
Carter, who hails from North Carolina, said: "The feeling is unreal. The whole tournament it felt like any other tournament to me, even when we got heads up. I think once the river hit the deck, all the emotion came in to me at once and I didn't even know how to react.
"It just all hit me at the same time and it's overwhelming, as you can tell from my reaction."
Carter said he had learned to discipline his play and guard against over-aggression at the wrong times: ""Over aggression was the big factor in those other tournaments as to why I'd lost and I think, in this tournament, I kept to my aggressive style, but it was much more controlled and I didn't do anything stupid to lose huge pots."
Starting final table play with 4.42 million - a comfortable chip lead - Phillips played a cool, disciplined game, ignoring a vocal Spanish railbird population urging on their fave to win, Santiago Terrazas. He faced a final table that comprised Marc Goodwin, Santiago Terrazas, Mihai Manole, Asa Smith, Toni Ville Ojala, Matt Lapossie and Georios Kapalas.
British player Marc Goodwin drew first blood, eliminating Greek player Kapalas. He was followed by Canada's Matt Lapossie who left in seventh place, and Toni Ojala of Finland in sixth, a victim of Phillips.
UK player Asa Smith was taken out in fifth place by Phillips, and Romanian Mihai Manole fell foul of Goodwin to exit at fourth, leaving a three-handed tussle between Terrazas, Goodwin and and Phillips which was surprisingly brief and saw the elimination of the Spanish favourite by Goodwin.
Heads up it was Goodwin vs. Phillips, with the latter holding a 1.64 million lead in chips. Phillips only lost his lead once in the three hour battle that followed as he used disciplined but aggressive play to oust his opponent and claim the main prize. Goodwin's sterling effort was rewarded with a second place prize of Euro 500 000.
The big six-figure prize money extended down to the 7th spot on the final table.
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