Salvatore Bonavena is First Italian to Win EPT

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PRAGUE, Czech Republic, December 15, 2008 -- The PokerStars European Poker Tour had its first ever Italian winner last night when PokerStars sponsored player Salvatore Bonavena from Cessaniti, Southern Italy, beat PokerStars qualifier Massimo Di Ciccoalso from Italy - to take the EPT Prague title and a first prize of €774,000. Estate agent Salvatore is also only the sixth amateur poker player to win an out of 37 previous EPT champions.

The 44-year-old father-of-two fought his way through a 570-strong field in Prague that generated a total prize pool of more than 2.7 million ($3.7 million). The tournament featured a wealth of international stars including seven members of Team PokerStars Pro and World Series of Poker champion Peter Eastgate.

Bonavena, who was the short stack at the start of Day 3, made an incredible recovery to reach second place at the start of the final table. He finally triumphed when his 8-7 gave him top pair which Massimo Di Cicco was unable to beat with his A-4.

Bonavena, who will also be competing at the PCA in the Bahamas next month, said: "I'm really happy but it hasn't sunk in yet. I actually feel like crying.  It's one of the best days of my life because I have done something no other Italian has done. I feel very proud."

The ($7,180) buy-in tournament, hosted by Golden Prague Poker at the Hilton Prague Hotel, attracted a record field from 40 countries, including 88 players who won their seats online with PokerStars.

Countless stars took part in the Prague event, including Team PokerStars Pros Noah Boeken, Dario Minieri, Marcin Horecki, Luca Pagano, William Thorson, Alex Kravchenko and Katja Thater. PokerStars sponsored player Juan Maceiras, from Spain, finished 12th for €30,400 and German ShootingStar Sebastian Ruthenberg came ninth for €42,800.

The EPT founder John Duthie said: "EPT Prague has been a remarkable tournament and, as always, world class poker has been displayed by players who have travelled from all over the world to take part. It's also been great to witness the growing number of good players coming out of Eastern Europe. Poker is really taking off in this region."



Final table/payouts:





PokerStars status



Salvatore Bonavena


PokerStars sponsored player




Massimo Di Cicco


PokerStars qualifier




Andrew Chen






Konstantinos Alexiou






Francesco Cirianni






Fredrik Nygard






Nasr El Nasr






Raul Mestre






The next stop on the EPT is in the Bahamas for the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. This spectacular Festival of Poker which will include the $10,000 buy-in main event, a string of side events, the Battleship of Online Poker, the World Cup of Poker Final and a special $25,000 high roller event. The PCA takes place January 5-10, 2009, at the stunning 5* Atlantis Resort and Casino on Paradise Island. For more information on the European Poker Tour, please visit www.ept.com

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