Twelve years after his breakout win at European Poker Tour Deauville, France’s Lucien Cohen topped the record-setting field of the PokerStars 2023 Estrellas Poker Tour Barcelona Main Event for €676,230 ($735,568).
It was a major win for both Cohen as well as PokerStars as the €1,100 buy-in tournament drew 7,398 total entries (3,291 unique) which broke the previous record for the biggest live event in PokerStars history. Eight starting flights helped pave the way as players piled into Casino Barcelona and pushed the prize pool to an impressive €7,102,080 ($7.725 million).
Cohen, who had adopted the nickname ‘The Ratman’ as the owner of a pest control company, dominated the final table entering with the chip lead and eliminating four of his final five opponents including Belgium’s Ferdinando D’Alessio who finished as the runner-up and took home €415,320 ($451,764).
“What a great final table performance from Lucien Cohen,” said commentator Griffin Benger. “Really had this entire table in control. [Cohen] was the chip leader the whole time, was the most animated, was the center of attention. It felt like destiny and he brought it home.”
It’s not Cohen’s first time finding success in a PokerStars Live event, having stepped into the poker spotlight back in 2011 when he defeated (then future) WSOP Main Event champion Martin Jacobson heads-up to take home the EPT Deauville trophy for a career-high €880,000 ($1,197,719) score – just Cohen’s second recorded score. With his latest victory, Cohen surges to more than $2.5 million in lifetime cashes, his ESPT Barcelona victory marking the second-largest score of his career.
The previous largest live event for PokerStars was last year’s ESPT Barcelona Main Event which had a total of 6,313 entries. This year marks a significant jump in attendance for the event with the extra 1,085 entries representing a roughly 17% jump in participation. It’s a favorable upward trend that has been seen across the poker industry in the past year including the World Poker Tour breaking records in both its Main Tour and Prime Events as well as the WSOP Main Event setting a new record for attendance in 2023.