EPT Berlin 2013 – the third time is a charm for Daniel Pidun

The European Poker Tour has finished its latest season full of records with the Grand Final in Monaco and I was fortunate enough to work at the penultimate stop of Season 9 in the Grand Hyatt Berlin. Despite many victories on the Highroller circuit, Germany has been waiting impatiently for another EPT Main Event Champion and Christopher Frank came close in London by bowing out in 6th place. On home soil however the advantage would be much bigger as the largest fraction of the starting field would be sporting the German flag. And it indeed turned into the second biggest ever EPT Germany with 912 runners and more than 2500 players in total for the Poker Festival, much to the delight of the Spielbank Berlin as host, PokerStars as sponsor and the EPT team.

It was not really a fortunate 5,300€ Main Event for the players I had to cover because both Matthias Kurtz and Julian Herold were eliminated on Day 2 already, but Julian at least finished 3rd in a Seven Card Stud Side Event to save the trip. As we got closer and closer to the more serious business in the 5,300€ Main Event, three big stories developed: A couple of former EPT Main Event Champions were still in and attempted to write history by winning a second title, however Kevin Stani finished 17th after being the only of them to reach the penultimate day. Three female contenders made a deep run and reached Day 4 – Sandra Naujoks, Liv Boeree and Natalie Hof – of which Hof's 39th place was the best finishing position.

The big story however was Daniel Pidun. Not because he ended up winning and securing a German double victory by truly demolishing the field on the Final Table but by his incredible consistency. He pretty much plays one tournament a year and that is the EPT Berlin, he played 4 EPT's and it was the third EPT Berlin where he cashed in a row with a 9th and 17th place in the last two years. On the six hour long marathon bubble to get down from nine to eight, he was looking down on his fate Pocket Queens and as we all know, women can get very expensive. But he survived and the next day he never looked back as soon as the cards were back in the air to set in stone a remarkable winner story.

Among the plethora of Side Events, one particular obviously also got plenty of attention and that was the 10k Highroller. To the surprise of everyone, three Germans cashed but were not involved anymore when seven players returned for Day 3 to determine their winner. Griffin Benger scored a double up just before the end of the previous day and would tear up the Final Table and score his biggest payday on the live circuit so far – Phil Ivey definitely knows who to recruit for his TeamIvey.

Now that all was over, I got next to the one and only Neil Stoddart – EPT's #1 photographer – to snap some shots and Griffin Benger thoroughly enjoyed the most funny winner picture session I have seen in quite some time on the live circuit. Celebrating with him was online MTT wizard Calvin Anderson who just finished 10th in the Main Event and both celebrated the results and their respective birthdays the very same day! Who said variance always has to be a bad thing, eh?

After the more than well deserved and overdue win from Steve O'Dwyer at the Grand Final, the live poker circuit now focuses back on the Mecca of Poker in Las Vegas with the WPT Championship and the start of the World Series Of Poker at the end of this month. Damn time flies by so quickly … . Hopefully I will be in Sin City soon as well, one thing not to miss at the end of the article is the "personal highlight section" to give a quick summary to all TLDR's:

  • 912 runners and second biggest EPT Germany ever – who said the poker boom is gone?
  • German double victory on home soil and well deserved win for Daniel Pidun after finishing 9th and 17th the last two years
  • Excellent 39th place for TV presenter Natalie Hof in the Main Event
  • Griffin Benger takes down the 10k Highroller and cracks up the winner picture session