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Negreanu Nears Victory In Vienna

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Jan 01, 2011


The PokerStars European Poker Tour pulled into Vienna late October for six days of what would turn out to be some memorable poker action. This was not the first time the EPT visited the Austrian capital, as way back in 2005 when the buy-in was €2,000, Frenchman Pascal Perrault beat 296 players to become the Tour’s sixth champion and take home €184,000. Five years, and 54 champions later, Perrault returned to Vienna along with the Tour in the hopes of defending his title.
This year the EPT took place at the Kursalon in Vienna’s City Park, a beautiful hall normally used for concerts and gala dinners. Other differences were increases in both the buy-in and the turn out. The buy-in fattened up from €2,000 to €5,300, and the field on day 1B in 2010 was bigger than the overall field in 2005. The EPT Vienna 2010 can now be known as the richest poker tournament that Austria has ever seen as it attracted a total of 587 players from 48 countries, creating a prize pool of €2,935,000 including a €700,000 top prize.
The field on day 1A was cut precisely in half by end of play with 117 players left standing. Among those who held the most chips were some interesting characters such as Team PokerStars Pro member Martin Hruby from the Czech Republic, British PokerStars qualifier Stephen Chidwick, and Romanian Mihai Manole. Ukrainian Sergii Baranov was the first of many chip leaders with 183,200 in chips.
Day 1B attracted 353 players, and that number was cut to 161 by end of play, meaning day 2 would see a combined field of 278. There would be many casualties to come however as that number had to reach 80 before the survivors would see any part of the prize pool.
The player with the most chips overall was British pro Laurence Houghton with 190,300. Others through to day 2 were Team PokerStars Pro players Daniel Negreanu, Jose Barbero, and Sebastian Ruthenberg, among many others. Another name to add to the list was Tom Dwan. Dwan didn’t make an appearance on day 1B until after the dinner break, but managed to turn his stack of less than 20,000 into 61,900 by bedtime.
Chaotic Chip Counts
Day 2 was filled with ups and downs as the chip leader board resembled something like a game of musical chairs throughout the day. Laurence Houghton who started off as chip leader took a heavy beating in the first level and by mid-session the Brit was on the other side of the rail. Team PokerStars Pro player Martin Hruby then took over the chip lead but lost it to Jose Severino when the player from Panama six-bet into Hruby for half of his stack, and after some thought Hruby folded only to see Severino turn over Ac 3c. This left him with 122,500, which he managed to double before the end of play.
Severino did not stay too long at the top either with Romanian Team PokerStars pro Toni Judet and Italian Antonio Buonanno edging in front of him. The player causing the biggest stir however was Daniel Negreanu. Negreanu launched into the lead mid-late session with the help of pocket aces three times, and then his pocket tens beat pocket fours and kings when a rivered 10 furthered his lead.
Up to this point, the Team PokerStars pro had never seen the top spot of the leader board on the European Poker Tour and only received his first ever EPT main event cash at the previous stop in London. With Gianni Giaroni running his A-K into Riekus Wijermar’s pocket aces and exiting on the money bubble, Negreanu had successfully made the money in consecutive EPT main events plus finally reached the top of the EPT chip leader board. But the Canadian showed no sign of stopping, and his stack of 893,000 was only going to get bigger.
Before the bubble burst however, a torrent of big names hit the rail including Tom Dwan, who had an up and down day before crashing out, and defending champion Pascal Perrault.
Others making exits with empty pockets were Stephen Chidwick, Barny Boatman, Antony Lellouche, Jake Cody, Tobias Reinkemeier, Alexia Portal, Team PokerStars Pro members Ruben Visser, Lex Veldhuis, Michael Keiner, Jan Heitmann, Sebastian Ruthenberg, Darus Suharto, Pieter de Korver, and PokerStars SportStars Fatima Moreira de Melo and Boris Becker.
The Negreanu Show
Day 3 of the event almost ended in a similar fashion to day 2 with Daniel Negreanu king of the Kursalon Palace. However, PokerStars qualifier Konstantinos “arxigos” Nanos edged slightly ahead after a big hand just before close of play. The Greek pro, who lives in Germany, had a good run late in the day and after busting Ville Mattila with A-K versus pocket queens respectively, he bagged up a nice stack of 2,007,000. The 35-year-old eye doctor turned pro six months previous, and in the past year had accumulated more than $200,000 on PokerStars. Nanos, who has quite a good record in the Tour’s side events, hadn’t seen much success in EPT main events, but that was all about to change.
Negreanu and Nanos led a total field of 24 after losing 56 players on day 3. Among those who hit the rail early, taking home €8,000 for their efforts, were Team PokerStars Pro player Jose Barbero, Maria Maceiras, Jeff Williams, and British youngster Luke Schwartz. Team PokerStars pro Angel Guillen walked away with €9,500 for 52nd place, as did Santiago Terrazas (60th), and Georgios Kapalas (61st). 2010 bracelet winner Tomer Berda managed to hang on a while longer, and finished in 32nd place for €13,500.
Negreanu had enjoyed the heady heights of the upper rungs of the chip leader ladder on days 2 and 3, and wrestled with Greek pro Nanos for the top spot on day 3, falling behind a little at close of play, but day 4 was a different story, with the Canadian solidifying his lead as play progressed.
Starting with 24 players, the penultimate day saw many familiar faces fall at the final hurdle. Mihai Manole made an early exit in 22nd place (€16,000), British pro Surinder Sunar had a harsh early session and finished in 18th (€16,000), Team PokerStars pro Toni Judet followed him shortly after in 16th (€20,000), while Italian Umberto Vitagliano and Dane Morten Erlandsen left in 12th and 10th for €32,000 and €44,000 respectively, both at the hands of Negreanu.
Even Vitagliano’s A♦ K♣ was not going to hinder Negreanu’s charge for gold, as after a raise of 93,000 from Negreanu, Vitagliano moved all in for 462,000, and Negreanu made the call following a little tank time. Negreanu flipped over Q♥ J♥ but the board brought him two little presents when it fell Q♦ 10♥ 5♠ Q♠ K♥ and sent the Italian to the rail.
Erlandsen’s encounter with Negreanu went like this — get moved to the feature table, get pocket aces first hand, move all in from the big blind for 646,000 after a raise from Negreanu in the small blind, get called by Negreanu, get beaten by his pocket sevens when the board is dealt J♣ 9♠ 6♠ 7♦ 3♣. “Pokergirl1” was sent to the rail by “Kid Poker” just two away from the final table.
In the very next hand, Negreanu turned a third seven once more, this time to make a full house and take a chunk of chips away from German Michael Eiler. Kirill Zapletin finished in ninth place for €44,000 when his A-K was beaten by Bruno Launais’ A-8 with a simple eight on the river sending him out on the final table bubble.
The 2010 EPT Vienna Final Table
Daniel Negreanu (Canada) 5,070,000
Konstantinos Nanos (Greece) 3,635,000
Michael Eiler (Germany) 2,160,000
Luca Cainelli (Italy) 1,935,000
Bruno Launais (France) 1,785,000
Matthias Lotze (Germany) 1,210,000
Martin Hruby (Czech Republic) 975,000
Andreas Wiese (Germany) 730,000

Final Run for Glory
With $12.7 million in lifetime winnings, two World Poker Tour titles, and four World Series of Poker bracelets going into the final table in Vienna, two things Daniel Negreanu couldn’t declare ownership of were an EPT title, and the top spot of the all-time money list — the latter he lost early 2010 to the powerful force that is Phi Ivey. The final day of EPT Vienna saw “Kid Poker” get a chance to fill those two gaps in his poker résumé.
Frenchman Bruno Launais was the first to hit the rail after tangling with Italian Luca Cainelli. Launais opened to 115,000 and Cainelli made the call, as did Negreanu. The big blind, Nanos, thought about it and passed. The flop was dealt J♣ 8♥ 2♥ and Launais bet 175,000. Cainelli made it 550,000 and Negreanu passed. Launais made his last stand, shoving all in, and Cainelli made the call flipping over A♣ A♠. Launais revealed A♦ J♥, and the 5♣ turn and 2♣ river did nothing to help. He left the event in eighth place with €60,000 for his efforts.
The short stack, German Andreas Wiese, then doubled through Negreanu after the two got all in preflop with pocket queens versus pocket tens respectively. Wiese made a set of queens on the flop, and then turned his sights on Matthias Lotze. After taking a little beating from Wiese, Lotze got a double up of his own through Michael Eiler with A-Q versus pocket kings. An ace on the turn livened things up a little putting Lotze back in the game.
At this point, Martin Hruby became the shortest stack and actually had not played a hand at the final table yet. He was down to 400,000 when he finally began making some all-in moves. Despite being so low in chips, Hruby was a long time away from making an exit, and it was Lotze who would become the next casualty of the day, at the hands of Cainelli.
The Italian raised to 230,000 from under the gun and Lotze moved all in for 1,065,000. Cainelli went into the tank and eventually made the call with pocket jacks. Lotze’s pocket tens stayed behind on the K♥ 9♥ 3♥ 9♦ K♠ board and the PokerStars qualifier hit the rail with €76,000 for seventh place.
Negreanu then regained the chip lead from Nanos in a battle of wills, just in time to see another casualty. Andreas Wiese moved all in from the cut-off for 705,000 and Michael Eiler made the call. Eiler’s pocket kings were up against Wiese’s A♥ 5♠ and held, sending Wiese out in sixth place, €105,000 richer.
Negreanu and Hruby were successfully chipping up when along came the key hand of the final table. Cainelli bet 290,000 from the hijack, Negreanu called from the cut-off, as did Hruby from the button. The flop was dealt Ks 8h 5h and Cainelli bet 725,000. Negreanu made the call, as did Hruby once again. The 9s was dealt on the turn and then all hell broke loose. Cainelli moved all in for 1,575,000 and Negreanu quickly moved all in behind him. Shockingly, Hruby called all in and the three flipped over their cards:
Cainelli: A♠ A♦
Negreanu: K♦ 9♦
Hruby: 7♣ 6♦
The river was the 5♣ and Hruby took down the whole lot with a turned straight. He stacked up 10,795,000 in chips, while Negreanu fell to 2,600,000, and Cainelli was sent to the other side of the rail with €140,000 for fifth place.
Wanting part of the action, Eiler then moved all in from the button with pocket fours, and was called by the new chip leader, Hruby, in the big blind with A♦ 10♦. The fours held to improve Eiler’s stack and take a little away from Hruby’s ammunition.
Next it was Negreanu’s turn to hit the rail. He moved all in from the button for 1,205,000 and a very active Hruby made the call from the small blind. Negreanu’s Q♠ 8♠ was beaten by Hruby’s A♣ 4♥. Hruby paired his ace on the turn and Negreanu’s hopes of an EPT win and obtaining poker’s triple crown were put on the side burner. Negreanu went home to Vegas with €175,000 for fourth place — unfortunately not good enough to remove Ivey from the top of the all-time money list.
The Chip Counts Three-handed
Martin Hruby — 9,440,000
Konstantinos Nanos — 4,100,000
Michael Eiler — 4,030,000
Hruby continued to further his lead, largely through Nanos, and eventually put the PokerStars qualifier out with K♥ 9♥ versus Nanos’ Q♠ 9♠. The board ran A♠ K♣ 6♣ 10♥ 2♥ and Nanos, who had proved himself to be a force to be reckoned with throughout the event, had to make do with €265,000 for third place.
And Then There Were Two …
Chips began flying back and forth between Hruby and Eiler as the two struggled for glory. One of two key heads-up hands then occurred when Eiler bet 450,000 and Hruby shoved all in. Eiler called and turned over A♠ J♦ dominating Hruby’s A♣ 3♥. The board fell J♣ 6♠ 2♣ 4♥ 3♥ and Eiler took the lead with 9,995,000 to Hruby’s 7,620,000.
Eiler then furthered his lead to 11.9 million with another key hand. Eiler bet 425,000 from the button and Hruby called. The flop came Q♦ 6♥ 4♦ and the two players checked. The 2♠ was dealt on the turn and Eiler bet 525,000. Hruby check-called, and the two saw the 4♣ river. After some thought, Hruby check-called Eiler’s river bet of 1,225,000 but mucked when he saw Eiler’s Q-10.
The final hand of the event came when Eiler open-shoved from the button with A♦ 10♦ and Hruby called for his remaining 3,900,000 in chips with 2♣ 2♥. The flop fell totally in Eiler’s favour – K♦ J♦ 8♦ and Hruby was in need of running deuces, eights, jacks, or kings, to double up. The turn was the 3♠ however, and the useless river was the 4♦. Hruby was flushed away and Eiler became an EPT champion.
German Gold
The explosive final table saw 20-year-old Eiler become the first German winner since Team PokerStars pro Sandra Naujoks won EPT Dortmund in season 5. Eiler began the final table mid-pack with all eyes on chip leader Negreanu but wasn’t to be for the Team PokerStars Pro player this time however as it was Hruby who took Eiler on for the top spot. Hruby had the second shortest stack starting the day but after some small-ball poker and then one giant hand he launched into the lead, only to be stopped by Eiler. Hruby received €470,000 for his runner-up finish in Austria’s richest poker tournament.
The German champ who won his EPT Vienna seat via PokerStars, said, “It was my first EPT but I’m definitely going to play more now. This is really a happy moment for me. The money is great obviously but the title is worth so much to me; an EPT title is a dream for a poker player.”
The Results and Payouts:
1 Michael Eiler Germany €700,000
2 Martin Hruby Czech Republic €470,000
3 Konstantinos Nanos Greece €265,000
4 Daniel Negreanu Canada €175,000
5 Luca Cainelli Italy €140,000
6 Andreas Wiese Germany €105,000
7 Matthias Lotze Germany €76,000
8 Bruno Launais France €60,000