The final table of the 2011 European Poker Tour (EPT) Grand Final in Madrid was made up of an eclectic group of eight players, with seven different countries being represented and contrasting personalities making for a unique live broadcast on on Thursday. Venezuela’s Ivan Freitez entered the day with the chip lead and put on a masterful display of big-stack poker to earn the first place prize of €1,500,000 and become the first Latin American player to win an EPT title.

PokerStars Supernova Elite member Andrew Li and Team PokerStars Pro Alex Gomes were sent home within the first 90 minutes at the final table, the latter coming up short on his bid to become only the third player ever to win a WSOP bracelet, a World Poker Tour event and an EPT event (Roland DeWolfe and Gavin Griffin are the only players to win all three). Gomes began the day short-stacked and moved all in preflop with 8s-7s from the small blind. Eugene Yanayt called with pocket tens in the big blind and the board ran out Kc-5c-3c-8h-5s to end Gomes’ spirited run.

Yanayt, who also sent Li packing early on, didn’t hang onto his newfound chips for long. After losing much of his stack to Andrey Danilyuk, Yanayt three-bet shoved over a Freitez preflop raise with pocket fives and found himself up against the nines of Freitez, whose overpair held up on a non-threatening board of Qc-Ts-6d-Ac-6h. Yanayt exited in 6th place for €250,000.

Spain’s Juan Maceiras, another Team PokerStars Pro, was the next to go at the hands of Germany’s Torsten Brinkmann. Maceiras moved his short stack in preflop with Jh-10h and was called by Brinkmann’s As-Kd. The best hand held again, sending Maceiras out in fifth place with €315,000.

After a three-hour break, Freitez completely took control of the four-handed final table. Danilyuk, who had been quiet for most of the day, moved all in preflop with pocket threes and Freitez called with Ad-9c. The Venezuelan’s chip lead would grow even larger as the board ran out Jc-7h-Td-Kh-Ah, giving him a pair of aces on the river and eliminating Danilyuk in fourth place for €400,000.

The Freitez buzzsaw continued as he knocked out Tamas Lendvai in third place with another timely ace. This time, he cold-called a three-bet shove by Lendvai and was in bad shape with Ah-9h against Lendvai’s picked nines, but Freitez found an ace on the flop and held on to pick up even more chips and leave Lendvai hitting the rail in third place.

Freitez began heads-up play against Brinkmann with roughly a 4 to 1 chip advantage. After he doubled up with Ac-5c against Freitez’s Qc-Qh, his dream of an EPT title was brought to a halt by the constant pressure of the aggressive Venezuelan. On the final hand of the tournament, Freitez opened the button with 10d-9d and Brinkmann moved all in with Ah-Kd. Freitez made a bold insta-call and again came from behind to win on a 9s-2s-5h-6d-8c board, prompting his South American rail to erupt in cheers.

Freitez won €1,500,000, a Shamballa bracelet and a ticket into Friday’s Champion of Champions freeroll tournament, which will see almost all of the EPT Main Event winners from all seven seasons battle it out for a €100,000 prize pool.

Here’s a look at the final results from the 2011 EPT Grand Final:

1. Ivan Freitez (Venezuela) — €1,500,000
2. Torsten Brinkmann (Germany) — €900,000
3. Tamas Lendvai (Hungary) — €550,000
4. Andrey Danilyuk (Russia) — €400,000
5. Juan Maceiras (Spain) — €315,000
6. Eugene Yanayt (United States) — €250,000
7. Alex Gomes (Brazil) — €185,000
8. Andrew Li (United States) — €130,000

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