What a difference two months make. Back in March, Antonio Dieguez Rodriguez looked crestfallen having finished second in the inaugural Eureka Poker Tour event in Prague. At the end of this tournament he fell too, but to his knees, face on felt, only moving it to wipe away tears and let the world see him kiss the trophy he so desperately wanted.
In Prague he was chipleader going to the final table, victory was expected. Here in Nova Gorica he entered the final table seventh of eight with just 8.75 big blinds to his name. His stack as much as those around him meant that he was quiet for the opening exchanges of the final. It wasn't until six handed play when he doubled through Dorde Jovanovic, that we were treated to the first cries of his catchphrase, "Vamos, vamos."
Despite eliminating Franco Recchia in third place the Spaniard entered heads up play with a two to one disadvantage against Bulgarian, Plamen Todorov. But through winning a series of small pots without going to showdown he took the lead. And on the first all-in pot of heads-up he took the title, with his middle pair holding against Todorov's overcard and nut flush draw.
Second place was particularly harsh on Plamen Todorov who had dominated much of the final table. Starting in fourth place he eliminated Sandin Cosic, with a dominating ace, in eighth, gained the chip lead and didn't relinquish it until heads up play. In a mad 15 minutes he dispatched Andrei Simon (6th), Aleksandar Kaludercic (5th) and Dorde Jovanovic (4th) he got it in ahead on all three occasions too.
There were two other Todorov's in the field today, Plamen's brother, Daniel, just missed out on the final finishing 10th whilst Simeon Todorov was first out today in 16th place. Others who came back with high hopes but had to settle for cameo roles were Alain Medesan (14th), Miha Staric (15th) and start of the day chipleader Viliyan Petleshkov (7th)
But it's Spain who reign in (mostly) sunny Slovenia. The final table was played in an excellent spirit and Rodriguez and Todorov who were sat side by side provided most of the japes and jokes.
Rodriguez has added a Eureka Poker Tour title to the Estrellas Poker title he won in Malaga at the beginning of April. It remains to be seen whether he can make a third Eureka Poker Tour final table in a row at the next event which takes place in Varna, Bulgaria June 23rd-26th. Qualifiers are running now on PokerStars and you can win your seat for as little as €6. Next time this could be you
1st - Antonio Dieguez Rodriguez, Spain, €40,010
2nd - Plamen Todorov, Bulgaria, €24,500
3rd Franco Recchia, Italy, €13,800
4th Dorde Jovanovic, Serbia, €11,000
5th - Aleksandar Kaludercic, Bosnia Herzegovina, €9,250
6th - SimonAndrei, Romania, €7,700
7th - Viliyan Petleshkov, Bulgaria, PokerStars qualifier, €6,250
8th - Senadin Cosic, Bosnia Herzegovina, €4,700
PokerStars Blog reporting team at Eureka Poker Tour Nova Gorica: Nick Wright. Photos courtesy of Manuel Kovsca