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Lubas the bridesmaid again as Pauls wins PokerStars Festival Hamburg Main Event

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Ulrich Pauls: man of the hour

A fantastic week in Hamburg has come to an end with the conclusion of the PokerStars Festival Hamburg Main Event. The lovely folk from Casino Schenefeld have been very welcoming to everyone over the course of the festival and that helped create the sort of atmosphere that poker should be played in.

The roll call of winners this week has included Reinhard Nack (Hamburg Poker Cup), Nebojsa Musulin (PokerStars Open), Jascha Ahmadi (Pot Limit Omaha) and Andre Haneberg (High Roller) but the marquee event is the Main Event and after three days of play (with multiple day ones) Ulrich Pauls was crowned the champion. A €549,990 prize pool was created by the 567 entries and Pauls took home the lion's share, claiming €105,850 for a well-deserved victory.

We've had Moneymaker, Gold, Nguyen and now Ulrich. I'm thinking about changing my name to "Allthemoney!"

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Pauls shortly before victory

Pauls was one of the most inexperienced players (at least in terms on tournament play) on the final day but he played to his strengths and that seemed too much for his opponents, including heads-up opponent Michal Lubas, to deal with. "I like to play following my feeling. If I feel something I pay and today this strategy worked really well," said Pauls at the end of play yesterday, and he continued with that philosophy today. He wasn't afraid to bluff when he needed to, often showing and when he had big hands, he got paid off.

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Lubas shortly before he came runner-up

The final hand was a bit (or lot) dirty for Lubas to have deal with. He flopped top set and three-bet all-in. Paul made the call with a pair and gutshot and the board ran out with running cards to make him a lower straight. To relive this hand and all other major hands from the final day, head over to PokerNews. Pauls jumped up and celebrated with all his friends on the rail before consoling his defeated opponent.

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Heads-up battle

After the celebrations had calmed down a bit, he told the blog that he had bricked everything this festival including his first effort in the Main Event. He wasn't going to try again in the Day 1D re-entry but a friend (now best friend probably) called and convinced him to try. What a wise decision that turned out to be.

Lubas took the defeat like a champ and was philosophical about finishing second in a PSF Main Event for for the second time this year. He came runner-up to Petr Svoboda in Rozvadov last March but the the €91,000 he won there added to the €66,220 gives us 157,220 reasons why he shouldn't be too disappointed with his efforts this year.

Play resumed at 1pm CET on the final day with 15 players still in the hunt. After a fast start, it took more than three levels of play to make the final eight, losing the following players along the way: Igor Rybak (15th), Dimitri Steinfeuer (14th), Peter Jaksland (13th), Dan Stacey (12th), De Han Kim (11th), Alaettin Keles (10th) and Rudolf Koster in ninth. Koster made the last/unofficial final table but lost a race to chip leader Lubas. He had ace-queen but couldn't stay ahead of the Polish player, who flopped a set with pocket tens.

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Horecki (top) and Domarkas (bottom)

Talking of Polish players, Marcin Horecki was the next to go. It was a case of bad timing for the PokerStars Team Pro as he shoved ace-eight right in to the aces of Pauls. The board ran blank and Horecki had to settle for a consolation prize of €11,770. Seven became six when Pauls continued doing what he does best - eliminating opponents. Karolis Domarkas shoved with king-queen, was called by Pauls holding ace-ten, and a six high board followed.  Andrei Nodea busted in sixth after he was the second player to run into pocket aces en route to the exit. Behzad Zarnegar had the aces and another blank board came from the dealer's hands.

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Nodea (top) and Rundstrom (bottom)

Bo Rundstrom came 79th at PSF Dublin back in September and made his second Main Event cash of 2017 here. It wasn't a win but the Swede, often short-stacked today, will surely be happy with the €28,980 he won for coming fifth. He squeezed all-in for eight big blinds with pocket nines and was called in both spots. An ace high board was checked all the way down by Pauls and Behzad Zarnegar, the former opening ace-ten on showdown to take the pot and scalp.

Pauls took those chips and it wasn't long before he came after Zarnegar. The two players went to an A♥3♦2♥ flop and the latter's all-in with 8♥6♥ was called by Pauls. He opened a bigger flush draw with K♥3♥ but didn't need it as the board ran out T♠2♣.

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Zarnegar (top) and Sigel (bottom)

It almost seemed inevitable that Pauls and Lubas were going to end up heads up and it's a shame they couldn't do an absolute chop and share the trophy, but that's not how poker (or life for that matter) works. Final table results:

PokerStars Festival Hamburg 2017 Dates: November 22-26, 2017 Buy-in: €1000 + €100 Players: 567 Prize pool: €549,990

POSNAMECOUNTRYSTATUSPRIZEDEAL
1Ulrich PaulsGermany €105,850 
2Michal LubasPoland €66,220 
3Jan SigelGermany €47,410 
4Behzad ZarnegarGermany €36,960 
5Bo Rundström Sweden €28,980 
6Andrei NodeaRomania €22,770 
7Karolis DomarkasLithuania €16,990 
8Marcin HoreckiPolandTeam PokerStars Pro€11,770 
9Rudolf KösterGermany €9,290 

To see the full roster of Main Events winners, click through to our payouts pageand the PokerStars Festival will he back in January with a £990 Buy-in £500,000 guaranteed Main Event at PokerStars LIVE at the Hippodrome Casinoin London. The festival runs January 22-28 and satellites are running online.

POKERSTARS FESTIVAL HAMBURG MAIN EVENT
Dates: 22-26 November 2017
Buy-in: €1,100
Entries: 567

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