Dutchman Wins €315,875 at Record-Breaking Belgium Poker Championship Main Event

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Sijbrand Maal from Holland pips Colm O'Brien from Ireland in main event which saw 843 compete ― a record field for a €1,000 + buy-in event in Europe.

The fourth annual €1,500 + €150 buy-in Belgium Poker Championship main event held at Casino de Namur, Belgium from Nov. 15 to 23, 2008 has been won by Sijbrand Maal from the Netherlands who took down the top prize of €315,875 for topping the field of 843 players.

This is the largest field ever gathered in Europe for a €1,000 + buy-in event pipping last year's EPT Monte Carlo by one player.

Maal, from Amsterdam triumphed heads up when, with blinds of 30,000/60,000 and an ante of 5,000 he limped with Qd-8d and was raised by O'Brien preflop to 180,000 before calling. On a flop of 10d8h7d, Maal checked and O'Brien went all in with A-K and Maal snap called. The turn was the 2s and the river the 6c and Maal was crowned champion.

The chip counts going into the final table were:

Seat 1 - Fabrice Vreux, Belgium: 174,000
Seat 2 - Kristof Segers, Belgium: 153,000
Seat 3 - Colm O'Brien, Ireland: 1,571,000
Seat 4 - Jolmer Meelis, Holland: 532,000
Seat 5 - Carlo Giovanni, Belgium: 120,000
Seat 6 - Alain Dubreuille, France: 386,000
Seat 7 - Michael Fontenoy, Belgium: 584,000
Seat 8 - Gaetano Di Salvo, Belgium: 99,000
Seat 9 - Sijbrand Maal, Holland: 507,000
Seat 10 - Xavier Closset, Belgium: 120,000

Play began with blinds at 5,000/10,000 and a 1,000 ante. In the first hour four players had hit the rail. First to go was Alain Dubreuille in 10th. Maal called a check-raise all in on a 8-3-2 rainbow flop with 5-5 and won the hand against A-Q

Next out in 9th was Kristof Segers with A-T vs. O'Brien's A-Q all in preflop with O'Brien winning on a 9-high board. Xavier Closset busted in 8th against Giovanni with 5-5 vs. A-Q on T-6-6-x-T board while Maal took his second scalp, Di Salvo finishing in 7th, with A-9 vs. Q-J all in preflop and a board fell 9-6-4-T-5.

Halfway through the next level of 6,000/12,000 O'Brien knocked out Vreux with A-J vs. K-Q on a board of J-4-2-3-9 and the players were now down to five with 4.2 million chips in play.

The next notable hand saw Giovanni in the small blind complete and Fontenoy in the big blind check. The flop was 6-5-5 and both players checked. The turn was a jack and Giovanni went all in and was snap-called by Fontenoy. Giovanni showed J-10 for top pair while Fontenoy showed 5-2 offsuit for trip fives.

Four-handed the chip count was:
Meelis - 770,000
O'Brien - 2,200,000
Fontenoy - 550,000
Maal - 650,000

The battle for fourth place saw Fontenoy go all-in on the flop (9x6s5s) after Meelis with Ks-Qs bet around 200-250,000. Meelis thought for three minutes and finally called with A-9. The turn was a blank and the river an Ac and Fontenoy hit the rail

Play continued for four hours three-handed with the chips circulating around the table.

Jolmer finally busted in 3rd place pushing all in preflop with K-7 only to find O'Brien with Q-Q which held up.

The final table payouts were:

1.    Maal Sijbrand (Holland) - €315,875
2.    Colm O'Brien (Ireland) -- €202,980
3.    Jolmer Meelis (Holland) -- €101,980
4.    Michel Fontenoy (Belgium) -- €75,980
5.    Carlo Giovanni (Belgium) -- €55,980
6.    Fabrice Vreux (Belgium) -- €40,980
7.    Gaetano Di Salvo (Belgium) -- €30,480
8.    Xavier Closset (Belgium) -- €20,480
9.    Kristof Segers (Belgium) --€15,380
10.    Alain Dubreuille (France) --€12,280

Ninety places were paid at the main event. Last year the €1 million guaranteed tournament was won by Jamel Maistriaux from Belgium who took home €300,092 for his victory over a field of 800 which included Lex Veldhuis, Mickey Finn, Michiel Brummelhuis, and Haim Kakoun.

For further information please contact Kenny Hallaert +32 (0) 476 80 65 35 Photographs of the event are available at http://s170.photobucket.com/albums/u279/SpaceyFCB/BK%202008/


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