It seems appropriate that Lucien Cohen was holding a coffee in his hand as the final card of the €1,100 Estrellas Poker Tour Main Event was dealt. The man affectionately known as “Ratman” wore the same shirt every day of the tournament after another player spilt coffee on him during the early stages of the tournament at Casino Barcelona. He said it felt like the incident was good luck, and it appears he was right.
The ESPT main event needed an extra day at the 2023 PokerStars European Poker Tour Barcelona, as the largest live tournament field in PokerStars history saw Cohen dominate from start to finish and celebrate with his rail after defeating Ferdinando D’Alessio in heads-up play.
The field of 7,398 entries represented a new record field, which generated a massive €7,102,080 prize pool. In the end, the Frenchman claimed the €676,230 top prize along with the coveted PokerStars trophy.
Cohen, called the “Ratman” due to his pest control business, earns the honor of adding an ESPT series title to the EPT trophy he claimed in Deauville in 2011. That score of €880,000 is the only tournament cash of his career larger than today’s victory. The 59-year-old considers himself a recreational player but told the PokerStars team after his victory that he has found excitement in the game once again.
Final Table Results
The top 1,109 players standing after eight opening flights earned a payday of at least €1,750, including notable names such as Conor Beresford (453rd – €3,500), Julien Mariani (960th – €1,880), Dinesh Alt (945th – €1,880) along with PokerStars Ambassadors Fintan Hand (969th – €1,880) and Benjamin Spragg (774th – €2,290).
Perhaps the cruelest elimination came on Day 2, when Ali Alnuaimi called off his stack with aces full , losing to the quad queens of Aristidis Theodoridis.
The final elimination of Day 4 was PokerStars Ambassador Parker Talbot, who saw his pocket pair come up short against D’Alessio to finish seventh, seeing the final six players bag one last time.
Day 5 Action
The remaining six returned to the felt in search of ESPT glory, with Cohen bringing a sizeable chip advantage into the added Day 5. It only took three hands to see the first elimination, as D’Alessio took the final 11 big blinds from Day 1e chip leader Avihai Smadga, who entered the day as the short stack.
From there, Cohen took over the rest of the final table eliminations. His first victim was India’s Ankit Ahuja, who couldn’t catch up to the Frenchman’s pocket pair to hit the rail in fifth spot.
Cohen found another pair to take out Danilo Velasevic in fourth place before making a straight on the river and seeing Petros Karadimos call off with top pair to finish in third.
Heads-up play began with Cohen holding a better than four-to-one chip advantage over Day 3 leader D’Alessio. The action could have been over in just a single hand, but the Belgian dodged Cohen’s flush draw to pull closer.
There would be no second double for D’Alessio, who earned €415,320 after check-raising his top pair only to see Cohen holding a better kicker. Cohen shouted “Ratman” before spilling some of his coffee on the table as he celebrated the victory with family and friends. Perhaps a serendipitous end to a magical run for the double-series champion.