he MPNPT Vienna Main Event is in the bag! As glorious victor Kilian Kramer hoists his trophy and rolls around in piles of money (metaphorically speaking), it’s time for us to reflect on what has been in all respects a corker of a poker festival.
The €550 + €50 unlimited rebuy NLH Main Event drew 543 entries over the two start days – so many that the Montesino casino in Vienna’s fashionable Gasometer district was filled to absolute capacity with a mix of online qualifiers, keen locals and international poker nomads. Among those who graced the field were many familiar faces, including Surinder Sunar, David Lappin and Dara O’Kearney.
The mammoth field generated a prize pool of €271,500, and a total of 62 places paid out, ranging from €1,100 for a min-cash right up to the mouth-watering €50,000 that Kilian Kramer gets to take home.
It wasn’t just about the Main Event, either. Side events included the €1,000 + €100 High Roller event – incidentally chopped by Dara O’Kearney – as well as the €20,000 guaranteed MPNPT Austria Poker Cup, the doubles event and several turbo events, and the ever-popular Playstation FIFA Challenge in the bar. Schnitzel wars were fought in the excellent casino restaurant, and players were also treated to what turned into a pretty wild party at the bowling alley – we understand that the Prosecco flowed from bowling pin-shaped bottles until the wee hours and beyond.
By Sunday afternoon, though, hangovers receding, all eyes turned back to the Main Event. The bubble had already burst midway through Saturday’s Day 2 – Michael Welland ended up occupying the unluckiest spot, although his pain was mitigated by the gift of a seat to MPNPT Malta in April – and incidentally, in a rare example of karma doing its thing, the first player in the money, Severin Schleser, was the same guy who bubbled this event last year. Pleasing.
By the start of the final day, just 14 players remained, with WSOPE finalist Kilian Kramer in the lead. A flurry of early eliminations meant that within just a couple of hours, the field had whittled itself down to a final table, with Kramer by now in second place, the chip lead having been snatched by Day 1a chip leader Artur Yarovoy. All hopes of a swift denouement to the tournament, however, would be dashed – it would be more than 10 hours before a winner was crowned.
Zdenko Slavic busted in ninth place within minutes, smacking A-Q into Johannes Hubalek’s A-K; it was several hours before the next bustout, that of Adem Marjanovic in eighth, took place. Johannes Hubalek, who’d been responsible for the elimination of Zdenko Slavic, was himself the next to depart in seventh place, running pocket nines into Andrius Chmieliauskas’ pocket tens; some time later, Chmieliauskas was also responsible for Marko Maher becoming our sixth place finisher with K-9 versus Chmieliauskas’ A-5.
Artur Yarovoy, chip leader when the final began, was next to depart in fifth place, pushing with A-7 over a raise from Kilian Kramer. Kramer called with K-Q which made a straight, and Yarovoy was gone. How the mighty have fallen. Fourth place went to Juraj Valasky, who got rather unlucky when his A-J was outdrawn by Chmieliauskas’ J-8. Chmieliauskas claimed another scalp, and then there were three.
They remained three for more than three hours, the chip lead changing several times, although Kramer did seem to occupy the top spot for the majority of that. Eventually Andrius Chmieliauskas succumbed in third place, his A-T getting outdrawn by Ben Middleton’s highly speculative J-2, and Kramer and Middleton went heads up, Middleton now with a slight chip advantage.
It would still be an hour and a half before the tournament yielded a winner. The heads up match was aggressively and closely fought, both players taking their turn at the top, and the blinds had reached the dizzying 200k/400k level before Kramer finally overcame his opponent to win the €50,000, the trophy, and a place in MPNPT history. It is worth noting that the near 11-hour final took its toll on the rail – the casino bar managed to run out of vodka, largely the work of an enthusiastic and dedicated rail.
As our winner, railers and staff stumble out into the icy Vienna night, all that is left is for us to thank all at the Montesino and the MPNPT for a glorious, memorable festival. We’ll be back in somewhat sunnier climes this April, 27th – 30th 2017, when we’ll be enjoying the blue skies and balmy nights at MPNPT Malta. Qualifiers are running now across the Microgaming Poker Network – see you there!