Although a substantial part of the poker world was turned upside down by the events of Black Friday and players both in and outside of the US are feeling at a loss, the live tournament scene is still going strong. The PokerStars EPT is among those tournaments keeping the game alive. It was visiting San Remo this week, with British pro Rupert Elder battling his way to the end of the Main Event to win the tournament and the title.

The European Poker Tour is sponsored by PokerStars and is a series of poker tournaments which take place in beautiful locations around the continent of Europe. The format is similar to the very well known World Poker Tour, although final tables consist of eight players as opposed to the six found in WPT events. The tournaments are televised so that fans can enjoy every bit of the action, and since its beginnings in 2004 we’ve seen six complete seasons, with the current seventh season wrapping up its final stop soon in Madrid, kicking off on May 12th.

This penultimate stop to Season Seven of the European Poker Tour took place in the far north of Italy in San Remo, on the beautiful Italian Riviera. It was the most populated event of this series with 987 players turning up to compete, each putting up a buy-in of €5000+300, which generated a massive prize pool of €4,786,950 (just under $7 Million USD). The action took place from April 27th to May 3rd at the Casino San Remo.

The final table was a very experienced and talented one, with players such as Max Lykov who already has one EPT title and Max Heinzelmann who just recently finished second in EPT Berlin. Lykov started the final table seventh in chips and managed to hang on before being eliminated in fourth place, ending his chances of becoming the first ever player to win two EPT titles. Canadian Xuan Liu was knocked out in third place, leaving Rupert Elder and Max Heinzelmann alone on the table to fight it out for the title and the first place prize money.

As heads-up play kicked off the British Elder had over a 2 to 1 chip advantage, although Heinzelmann was able to quickly even out the stacks and then pull ahead. It looked like it was going to be all over when Heinzelmann’s flopped straight got all-in against Elder’s set of sixes on the turn, but the river paired the board saving Elder and giving him the decisive chip lead. The two got all-in preflop and Elder’s A5 offsuit held against the Q5o of Heinzelmann, sending him to the rail in his second runner-up EPT finish within a month. In addition to the EPT title, Elder won €930,000 (over $1.3 Million USD) for his efforts.

In light of the slew of poker tournament poker television cancellations it is awesome to see that the European Poker Tour is continuing to put on great tournaments, at least for this season. There’s still one more stop left in this year’s tour with a massive €10,000+600 buy-in, so make sure you stay tuned for our coverage of EPT Madrid if you’re unable to get amongst the action yourself.