On Day 6 of the European Poker Tour (EPT) Main Event in Malta, the final six players returned to the signature-blue felt to try to become the next EPT Champion.
Saturday's action began with France leading the pack; Valentin Messina and Jean Montury topped the chipcounts, and Team PokerStars Pro Dominik Panka headlined the lineup, though he had the second-least chips at the start of the day. They were joined by Stefan Schillhabel, Javier Gomez Zapatero, and Hossein Ensan.
Third-place finisher at EPT Barcelona earlier this season, Hossein Ensan, ensured the day jumped straight into exciting action when he got his short stack in the middle holding , but was called off by Panka's dominating . Ensan was the first the exit the final day, earning €153,700 for sixth place.
A little while later, Day 3 chipleader Javier Gomez Zapatero was the next to go. Oddly enough, he also got it all in with and Panka once again called with . Like déjà vu, the board ran out in favour of the better preflop hand and Zapatero had to settle for €205,300 for fifth.
The remaining four players settled in for a long haul before the next elimination took place. Stefan Shillhabel put it all on the line with two fours in his hand, but was miles behind another small pair in the hands of Montury — sixes. He earned €260,500 for a great fourth-place result.
Then Panka lost a huge pot in a classic race holding versus Montury's . Panka held all the way through to the turn and was looking like he'd be stacking a mountain of chips, but the ten on the river completed a Broadway straight for the Frenchman and Panka left the table to collect €347,300 for third.
With Panka's elimination, the two players from France who began the day as the top two stacks found themselves as the final two players in the 895-player tournament. They began heads-up play with Messina holding a small chiplead, causing them to agree to a deal that gave Messina €615,000 and Montury €587,400, leaving another €100,000 to play for.
Messina and Montury battled hard for that last piece of the prizepool. It wasn't until the early morning that Montury claimed the victory when he won a race with over Messina's shove with . In the worst way to lose in a race, the board paired twice and Montury won the final pot with his ace kicker. The former pool champion and current golf course owner has a strong desire to become a professional poker player, and his win for €687,400 might be the trigger he needs to take a real shot at his dream.