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João Barbosa wins PokerStars EPT Polish Open

21 Nov 2008

WARSAW, Poland –- (PRESS RELEASE) -- After four days of fast and furious poker action at the EPT Polish Open, it was Portugal's João Barbosa who celebrated his 26th birthday by winning the Warsaw champion title and €367,140 ($457,489) first prize.

Barbosa – the first EPT winner from Portugal - was playing against an exceptionally strong field in Warsaw including ten former EPT champions. The final table started with several established stars still in contention including Team PokerStars Pro Dario Minieri and Arnaud Mattern.

Minieri, from Rome, had been hoping to better his EPT Season 3 Baden and Season 4 San Remo finishes, but was beaten into third place yet again. Arnaud Mattern, who won EPT Prague last season, had been gunning to become the first ever player to win two EPT titles but his hopes were dashed when Barbosa knocked him out in fifth place.

Barbosa, a former computer engineering student, has only played four EPTs so far and cashed in three of them. His victory today came after a fiercely-contested, three-hour heads-up battle against the 23-year-old German Nico Behling.

Barbosa, from Porto, said: "Things worked perfectly for me. For three hours, I was trying not to think about anything but winning. It's the best birthday present I've ever had. It was great to win."

The 21,000 Zloty buy-in event (approximately €5,200) at Casinos Poland at the Hyatt Regency attracted 217 entrants, including 48 who won their seats online with PokerStars. Three qualifiers made it to the final table: Atanas Gueorguiev, from Bulgaria, who came fourth, Russian Sergey Shcherbatskiy (6th) and Michael Muheim from Switzerland (9th). Shcherbatskiy earned his trip to Warsaw for a mere $7.50 after working his way up the PokerStars' steps satellites.

A wealth of stars were also competing in Poland including Team PokerStars Pros Isabelle Mercier – who came 16th for €10,557 – Gavin Griffin, Marcin Horecki, Bertrand "ElkY Grospellier, Luca Pagano, William Thorson, Alex Kravchenko and Katja Thater. The PokerStars sponsored players Juan Manuel Pastor from Spain and Julien Lang Van from France also cashed.

The EPT founder John Duthie said: "Warsaw has always been a popular stop on the EPT train and this has been no exception. It was a particularly high quality final table and another five days of excellent poker."

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