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Dutch Poker News: Dom Classics in Utrecht

Poker Tournament a Huge Succes, But Not Without Controversy


While some of our boys were fighting the good fight overseas at the blood-soaked battlefields of Helsinki, Tunica, and Melbourne, most of the splendid Dutch foot soldiers took it upon themselves to defend our nation's pride at the newest international tournament series on Dutch soil, the Dom Classics in Utrecht.

The €1,000 main event would be the third-largest tournament of the country, after the two big no-limit hold'em events that are held in November at the Master Classics of Poker, so a lot of pride was at stake here. Still, it wasn't even close compared to that of the inaugural Dutch Heads-Up Poker Championships, which kicked off the series.

Before the tournament started, the Dutch players secretly met in the back room of the casino, where they swore on their mothers' graves, lives, or in one case, both, that they would do anything they could to make sure that a foreign player wouldn't take home the gold in one of these prestigious events.

So the spirit was set, the knives were sharpened, and the heads-up battle could begin.

While Dutch Champion Steven ten Cate was looking to add another title to his already impressive array of nicknames, players like Woody Deck, Eddy Scharf, Marcel Lüske, Noah Boeken, Abel Meijberg, Jorryt van Hoof, Rolf Slotboom, and Belgian Champion Marc Naalden were determined to prevent him from reaching that objective.

After the first three matches that were played on the first day, the final 16 contained less-familiar faces than expected. Out of the numerous favorites, only Steven ten Cate, Marc Naalden, Marcel Lüske, Marc Dogge, and Rein Zijda were to return for the final showdown on Sunday.

Meanwhile, on the rail people were rooting for a spectacular final between Naalden and ten Cate, to decide once and for all who was the ruler of the Low Countries, until a very dubious management decision made sure that would never happen.

While it clearly said on all the published schedules that the round of 16 would start at 2 in the afternoon of the final day, they moved up the schedule one hour. This would not have been a problem, only they forgot to change that on their website, and on the television screens inside the casino. The only thing they did was announce it inside the casino through the speaker. Of course a couple of players never received that message, because, strange enough, not everyone likes to hang around in a smoke-filled casino all day.

So a couple of players got lucky and received that critical piece of information just in time, but Steven ten Cate did not. When he came to the casino just before 2 p.m., his match was already forfeited. After a heated discussion, the management admitted to its mistake and offered to give ten Cate his buy-in back, but of course he didn't agree to this. After all, the other matches were still in progress, so he could easily still play his match for a place in the quarter finals, but that wasn't allowed.

In the entire casino, there was nobody that could understand the logic behind this reasoning. They admitted that it was their mistake, but they still didn't allow him to play his match at the originally scheduled time? This really made the Dutch Champion feel like he had just been cheated out of the tournament, so shortly after the Dom Classics ended, legal remedies were being pursued in the aftermath. The outcome of this is still unknown as I am writing this, but we will keep you informed.

So once again, a strange incident raises questions amongst the players about whether or not the managers of Holland Casino are organized enough to assume the role of sole provider of live poker in Holland. As successful and well received as their tournaments have proven to be, many areas still exist in which improvements could be made. Consistency in tournament rules, smoking policies, and scheduling all leave something to be desired. As in any monopoly, some things can be very slow in implementation, but the growth of the Master Classics and the sellout in Utrecht show they are doing something right. Only time will tell if things will change for the better, and if they can cope with the growth in popularity of poker in Holland. Of course, we all hope they do.

As for the tournament itself, the final match luckily saw two Dutch players pitted against eachother: Dylan van den Berg, who found a way to beat Marcel Lüske in the semifinals, and Marc Naalden, who had to dispose of Woody Deck to earn his place on the stage. Mission accomplished for the Dutch troops.

In the end it was Marc Naalden who deservingly took home the coveted title of Dutch Heads-Up Champion and left the other players asking themselves "what if" questions for the next couple of weeks.

In the main event, Dutch pride was successfully defended by Silvio Walter, who beat tournament veteran Jan Maarten Cobben heads up to win the title, and a little under €59,000 to go with it.

So, with the sold-out events and the amount of cash game action during the Dom Classics, the tournament week was a big success for Holland Casino. As a result, they are already planning a similar festival for this summer, instead of waiting a whole year.

Will it be even more successful than the Dom Classics? I guess the good people of Holland Casino have it in their own hands.

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