26/03/2013

Rozvadov is Always Worth a Poker Trip

Christian Zetzsche

So far I have been invited about 10-15 times to visit the King's Casino in Rozvadov, a little town in Czech Republic pretty much next to the border to Germany. Until last week there was unfortunately always another live event or business trip at the same time and I had to kindly say no. Finally the time had come that I was asked to do the German live reporting on behalf of Pokerfirma for the most recent Eureka Poker Tour stop powered by Pokerstars.net and I immediately agreed since there wasn't really any other tournament I had to take care of.

Now how do you actually get there since no train station is really nearby? I was in touch with the Casino Hotel Manager and he arranged a shuttle service from Weiden, which showed up exactly on time. To my surprise I was greeted by a black Mercedes, quite a decent start of the work trip to say the least. Unfortunately my hotel was on the German side and not in walking distance, but the casino offers a free shuttle service and I was told they were available 24/7 - "just tell us when and we will be there".

Upon arrival the evening before the first starting day I bumped into some familiar faces and among them was also Tournament Director Teresa Nousiainen. In case you don't know her, she takes care of EPT's, IPT's and Eureka regularly and I consider her as one of the best TD's on the circuit. The Casino had just installed new routers and Wifi enhancements, the wireless internet is available for free to all customers and it was a pleasant surprise to work at a poker event where no issues with the internet occurred at all. So far I thought that would be a fairy tale, but then again we bloggers tend to complain about the internet during tournaments all the time anyways.

The 1,100€ Main Event ran smooth and despite a rather low number of participants on Day 1A it turned out to be the second biggest Eureka Event ever with 421 runners. Considering that Prague last December had a huge Poker Festival around with WPT and EPT, it was in fact a more than decent turnout and owner and Highroller Leon Tsoukernik was quite happy with the outcome. Despite a slight overlay for the 500,000€ guaranteed prize pool he even covered the usual 3% deduction for dealer and staff himself and half a Million Euro was shared among the top 48 spots. He even offered a side bet with 8:1 odds to get up to 800 runners if they run the event again with the same format but change the starting time to 17:00 and Day 1A and 1B on Thursday and Friday.

Germany was dominating the overall field with almost 50% of the runners and it was no surprise to see 5 of them making it to the Final Table. Other familiar faces were also in it to win it: Sandra Naujoks, Team PokerStars Online Pro DaWarsaw, Christophe de Meulder, Jan Heitmann, Michael Keiner, Gerald Karlic, Erich Kollmann, Martin Stausholm, Vojtech Ruzicka, Snowfest Champion Marius Pospiech and EPT winner Vladimir Geshkenbein to name just a few. Kollmann busted just before the Final Table and in Heads-Up 21 year old Belgian Bart Lybaert defeated Fabian Leib to score a payday of 115,000€.

Personal Highlights of the event:

  • Leon Tsoukernik himself flying in via Helicopter
  • free shuttle service and 24/7 complimentary buffet
  • Dutch Blogger friend Mark Roovers finishing 2nd in two Side Events
  • PokerStars presenter Natalie Hof finishing 2nd in the Mini Eureka Main Event
  • a bottle of Dom Perignon sponsored as extra prize by the Casino for the media / staff event

Of course not everything was perfect, for example a big hotel next to the casino is missing so far and some of the dealers were fairly new and sometimes had problems with counting the stack. The very obvious dresses for some of the servants reminded of Las Vegas in the 70s and one of the players even called it "Roz Vegas" - kinda fitting if I dare say so.

But you also have to respect the courage of Leon Tsoukernik to create his own little poker paradise and he is willing to invest time, money and efforts in order to consistently improve it. Give the whole King's Casino team more opportunities to host big events and gain further vital experience, because they already have the capacity for it as biggest card room on continental Europe.

In a nut shell - if you plan to go on a poker trip, check out the schedule of the King's Casino Rozvadov and add it to your list of places to visit. For me it was the first time there but most definitely not the last one. And I don't just write this because there are so many cute female dealers and staff ;)