Having already visited Tallinn in Estonia, Vilamoura in Portugal and London in England, it was now the turn of Vienna in Austria. This leg of the EPT was held at the Kursalon Palace. Some of poker’s biggest names were lured to the tournament such as Daniel Negreanu, Sandra Naujoks and Johannes Steidl. Daniel Negreanu had a special interest in this tournament because if he was to win he would surpass Phil Ivey’s lifetime earnings record and win his third title of the tournament. So there was another agenda for the Canadian in Austria.
The buy-in for the EPT main event was €5,300 with an estimated total prize pool of close to €3m! With 578 buy-ins and 80 pay outs, this was an event with everything to play for. It was played over 5 days and the action was intense from the start.
Day one saw some familiar faces turn up and make an impression whilst other recognizable names flattered to deceive. Pieter de Korver and Pascal Perrault, the title holder, were making positive early starts whilst former tennis player turned professional poker player Boris Becker was clinging on for dear life. It was the less identifiable Laurence Houghton who ended the day on top of the pile.
The second day of proceedings saw the cream rise to the top. Houghton maintained his strong position but Daniel Negreanu started to make his impact and show exactly why he is considered to be one of the greatest living poker players of all time as he finished the day on top. He had a pair of Aces to get into the big stack position but was slightly luckier when he hit a three of a kind on the river to eliminate two rivals and send himself clear of the field.
The following two days were a two horse race between Negreanu and unknown online qualifier Konstantinos Nanos. The battle raged on for two whole days with Nanos gaining the lead on day three, before Negreanu regained his pole position and went into the final day with a lead.
Day five, the final day of the main event, saw a final table that included a relatively low key list of finalists. Negreanu was leading but Michael Eiler and Konstaninos Nanos were hot on his heels. Eventually, it was the Sunday Million victor Michael Eiler who prevailed victorious by defeating Martin Hruby thanks to hitting a flush on the flop compared to Hruby’s rather modest pair of deuces. Eiler walked away with €700,000 in prize money. The economics student is fast making a name for himself on the live scene.
The next stage for the European Poker Tour is Barcelona in Spain and it shall run from 22nd November, 2010 until 27th November, 2010. Negreanu has undoubtedly got his heart set on Ivey’s record as well as becoming a triple crown winner. If this leg of the EPT was anything to go by, it’s going to certainly be a tournament to keep watching because anything seems possible and the big guns are definitely taking it seriously.