At first I was disappointed not to make it to Brussels for the first WPT stop on Belgian soil because quite a few familiar faces and friends were participating there, but I didn't mind the little break to take of things at home after the recent business to London either. I left for Vienna one day early and witnessed a friend going deep and reaching the Final Table of the Montesino Open, always a nice perk to be able to catch those memories with the camera 🙂
The day after on February 19th I took the complimentary shuttle bus from the WPT to Baden and checked into my lovely little hotel near to the Kurpark about 10 minutes away from the Casino. There was some snow already but the following days it would turn into a winter wonderland when we got 50cm within 48 hours on Friday and Saturday … fun to stomp back through the park way after midnight :)))
It was not surprising to see just 104 Entries for the first starting day of the 3,300€ Main Event given the fact that it was moved from the Montesino to the Casino Baden less than 2 weeks prior to the start. Though there was some quality players in already and the coverage started slowly as usual in the early stages of a tournament – who is in, what's the plan for the day and by chance you catch an interesting hand where one player manages to donk off 300 Big Blind in the first level at Blinds 50-100.
There were two Poker770 Pros in that I had to take care of, but I obviously also included some poker players that I already knew from previous events. Matthias Kurtz unfortunately didn't have his best day and he busted without ever get going, but Stjepan Jokic had two very strong levels towards the end and finished in 3rd place to make for a good story of the day. On the second starting day Julian Herold had a similar experience and ended his roller coaster ride with a top 20 position for Day 2. Besim Hot, Michael Mizrachi and a few other players thought it was possible to re-enter the same day and this misread cost them the event – "The Grinder" in fact solely lasted 45 minutes.
Day 2 got us down to 44 players and only the top 27 spots got paid, both Stjepan and Julian were still in and should also make it into the money on Day 3. It was painful to see Kara Scott bust just two spots away from the payout after she fought bravely as shortest stack going into Day 3 only to see her luck and vast majority of the stack fading away with A-Q versus a donkshove by a young Finn with Jh 8h. Andrew Hulme busted the very same minute and all of a sudden we were on the bubble, which was cracked by Stjepan with Pocket Nines against the Sevens of Stefan Rapp. Of course this had to be in dramatic fashion, as a Seven showed up on the Flop and the River brought the two outer.
Towards the end of the day, Julian busted in 22nd spot and Stjepan got rather short, he was the first one out n 20th spot when play resumed for Day 4. Bodo Sbrzesny's attempt to reach back to back Final Tables after his 3rd place in Prague last December came to an end in 11th place, the other big story was the potential 3rd WPT title for Marvin Rettenmaier in less than a year. Vladimir Bozinovic and Paul Berende were the two Chipleaders after Day 3 and they would repeat the very same scenario for Day 4 as well to reach the Final Table of Six. Though Marvin had some luck against the Serbian to double through, he played his usual aggressive play and this would backfire on the final day hen he busted in 5th place – no regrets by him though.
In Heads-Up the very experienced Paul Berende and Vladimir Bozinovic battled for the title and 185,000€ as well as the $25,500 ticket to the WPT Championships in Las Vegas. I barely remember a better hand holding up on the feature table when we got to an all-in showdown and the Serbian crippled Berende with QsJs against A-Q when he rivered the straight. The very last hand was an Ace Rag war and this time the As 9s of the Serbian held up against Ac 8c to scoop the title and trigger massive cheers from the rail.
Even though it was a rather small field, the quality of play was nice … and the typical long Day 4 would not disappoint either with the usual 2.15am finish. Were there any highlights? Of course:
- Bodo Sbrzesny hits a Royal Flush on Day 1B. his opponent gets it in drawing dead on the Turn and stands up "woah thats amazing", takes a picture of the Board and left the tourney area 1 minute later after bowing down to the German – pity it was not caught on tape lol
- Gina Slegl qualifies for Day 1A and 1B, despite no luck in the Main event she came 2nd in the 330€ WPT Experience and won a tournament at the Montesino shortly after – very aggressive female player and damn cute for pictures 🙂
- Seeing the WPT and Royal Flush girls again and taking some fun pictures
- Lee Davy – even more dedicated and crazy than me, great blogger and person, happy to have met him to get additional inspiration and keep on going
I think that covers all for now, as I wrote this I was already on the way to Berlin to cover the Triple A Series in the Spielbank for Pokerfirma and will spend countless hours until Sunday evening by writing and taking pictures. Not sure yet if I will head to London for UKIPT and EPT, though there is a specific person working there that I would love to see. In late March there is the Eureka in Rozvadov that I will most likely cover and Dublin is calling for yet another trip (the Irish Open this time) at the end of the month as well. Keep on moving and never look back … best of luck everyone on and off the tables.
P.S. I am writing too much :p