MPNPT Vienna: Team32Red Report
Vienna is a fantastic city, so it won’t have come as a surprise to many that the MPN chose to return to the Austrian capital for the Tour’s first venue of 2017 – another reason, of course, being the fact that the city is a well respected poker venue.
Back in January 1981, Ultravox released the song ‘Vienna’ which, over 30 years later, was judged in a poll to be the greatest song never to reach the top of the UK charts, having been prevented from the coveted No.1 spot by a novelty song entitled ‘Shaddap You Face’… Much of the atmospheric video was shot in London, with the band visiting Vienna only for a day, dashing around the city by taxi with the help of a guide book.
Fortunately for those players who qualified for Vienna by playing at 32Red, as well as the €550 buy-in, their €1,500 package included four nights in a hotel in the trendy Gasometer district. This was literally round the corner from the Montesino Casino – a specialist poker venue that the players were impressed with last year – and just a few stops from the heart of Vienna. So, playing MPNPT Vienna gave Team32Red players plenty of time to see one of the world’s most culture-laden cities, not forgetting the abundance of food and drink that Vienna has to offer. One such is the famous Wiener Schnitzel which, apparently, is made only from veal and no other meat, as dictated and protected by Austrian law! That’s a bit of trivia you can impress people with at the dinner/poker table, as is the fact that the founder of the German sports car company, Porsche, was the Austrian Ferdinand Porsche, who also designed the Volkswagen…
The Poker: Part 1
Poker enjoys varying degrees of popularity around the globe, so it stands to reason that some venues will attract more players than others. No surprise, then, that Vienna (Austria, in fact) – which is also a relatively easy destination from many European destinations – is always going to guarantee a certain number of entries.
The field on Day 1a tends to have a higher ratio of ‘locals’ to foreigners, mainly due to the fact that players from other countries don’t arrive early enough. There’s also the matter of the MPNPT Players’ Party, which takes place on the night of Day 1a and has become increasingly popular to the point of being unmissable (see below).
Despite the fact that most of Team32Red would be joining the fray on Day 1b, a few jumped straight into battle. As it turned out it was quality over quantity in terms of 32Red making a statement of presence, because emerging as the opening day chip leader was 32Red debutant, Artur Yarovoy, of Russia, who set off like the Usain Bolt of poker and never looked back, his stack after what seemed like 13 increasingly long levels transformed to over 10 times the initial 25,000! To better put this in perspective, some of the 49 who survived to Day 2 had barely increased their chip count.
One might be foolish to bet against Irish tournament specialists David Lappin and Dara O’Kearney keeping their respective heads above water, and they managed fine with 142,000 and 69,000 respectively.
Meanwhile, Phill Huxley – who, almost reluctantly, goes by the name The Huxinator – was riding along on the roller-coaster that is tournament poker on the proverbial seat of his pants. Thusly, with play about to come to an end for the day, and looking at the same amount of chips with which he’d started many hours earlier, he chanced his arm by pushing everything over the line with A4. The bad news was his being called by JJ. The good news was an ace appearing, doubling up the Huxinator at the expense of an opponent who, it’s fair to say, wasn’t afraid to show his frustration.
Finally, Angus Dunnington was involved in a very complex family pot where by far the biggest prize was the side-pot between himself and one of the other three players. He regretted not fully committing as soon as he’d made his play and, sure enough, won the ‘nowhere near big enough’ side-pot, insult being added to injury when he was on course to pocket all of the booty until the river card helped one small(er) stack leapfrog him to two pair (all-in with Q7…) and the other fill a straight. A later all-in brought him all the way down to a few thousand, but he rallied to scrape through to Day 2 with 32,000 chips.
This description is by no means untypical of how things can go in a tournament like this – fortune comes and goes, the ‘accuracy’ of a decision can be problematic to weigh up while contemplating your next move and, not surprisingly (given those pesky unknowns that poker is littered with), virtually the same path can lead to the next stage or the exit…
Originally, the MPNPT party might have attracted a few players happy to turn up for a quarter of an hour or so for a few free drinks and snacks. Things have changed, and it’s indicative of the Tour’s success that the party, henceforth known as The Party, is now an event in itself, and something players don’t want to miss.
This time the venue was the bowling alley a couple of floors down from the casino. A lot of players turned up, including the Team32Red contingent, and the evening’s entertainment was, of course, ten-pin bowling. Remember that we’re talking poker players here, so it wasn’t going to be a simple case of it being ‘the taking part that counts’ – there had to be something to win! And indeed there was, the prizes well worth winning, in fact. Having already won a €550 Main Event ticket in a satellite at the casino, 32Red and MPN Tour regular, Bruce Shannon, continued at the bowling alley where he’d left off at the poker table – a winner. This time he was the recipient of a €200 MPNPT ticket, while Simon Millard and Joel Holmberg won tickets for €80 and €22.
The Poker: Part 2
A number of our players tried their luck in the €20,000 guaranteed Austria Poker Cup, with Norway’s Knut Berntsen earning €580 for finishing in 11th place, and Peter Raynor €310 for 22nd.
Dara continued his good run in the High Roller event, reaching the final three places of this €1,100 buy-in tournament to find that, rather bizarrely, the remaining protagonists he was up against were a couple. Chopping seemed like an appropriate end, and the tournament specialist added another juicy prize to his long list of accolades.
Meanwhile, only Joel Holmberg (140,700) and Michal Jurgielewicz (84,100) survived Day 1b – both would at least enjoy some success during the festival… With just short of 550 entries it was never going to be easy making the money, and the play became predictably tense as the bubble approached, followed by the equally predictable collective sigh of relief for those who managed to finish among the 62 paid places. Our Team32Red players who emerged from the battle with a cash were:
Michal Jurgielewicz (Poland; 20th) €1,750
David Lappin (Ireland; 27th) €1,750
Mario Sánchez (Spain; 36th) €1,550
Angus Dunnington (England; 54th) €1,230
Stick an Irish pub on the moon and it could well start attracting clients (when that finally happens, remember that you first saw the idea here…). People from around the globe seem to gravitate to Irish pubs wherever they may be, and Vienna is no exception. Continuing the theme, a cosmopolitan bunch of Team32Red players spent Saturday night at one such convivial establishment. Young people in Vienna are bestowed certain rights earlier than many of their European counterparts. Ironically they can vote in elections at 16 and, bizarrely, can also drink at 16 yet not receive a driver’s license until 18 (at least this should mean there’s not a drink-driving problem for Austrian teens…). The average age at this particular Irish bar probably increased a little when our players turned up, but a good time was had by all, including Declan ‘Deccy’ Rice being able to order genuine Irish sausages – you could be forgiven for thinking that a sausage is a sausage, but you’d be wrong, as it happens. Perhaps a possible way to rattle Deccy at the poker table would be to bring this subject up, although he has a great sense of humour and the quickest wit, so it may well backfire… A few of this group didn’t let the time prevent them from forgoing sleep for a return to the casino, making their presence felt at the tables, including a strange Hold’em themed game that seemed to have a mysteriously player-unfriendly house edge…
Poker: Final Day
So it was that, after a grueling two days, the Main Event renewed on Sunday, and the seemingly unstoppable Artur Yaravoy showed that his initial success certainly wasn’t a fluke – the wily Russian had ended Day 2 second of the 14 remaining contenders, with a 1,883,000 stack! He eventually exited the tournament in 5th place after pushing with A7 and losing to Kilian Kramer (who would go on to win the event’s top prize of €50,000) who called with KQ and made a straight. Artur had won €13,960 – perhaps now is a good time to point out that he won a €1,500 package for Vienna by hitting a royal flush in the €3 buy-in Flush Royale, our exclusive nightly tournament that is great fun, has a €500 guaranteed prize pool and is responsible for sending a lot of players to MPN Tour events simply because they made a royal flush!
Doubles & Hyper Turbo
One last snippet of Team32Red results: Julie Whitworth and the aforementioned Peter Raynor won €435 for finishing 3rd in the Doubles event, which saw players take it in turns to play a single stack. This is easier said than done, by the way, as it’s difficult to find a balance between playing your natural style and feeling responsible for your team-mate, too. Finnish duo Joel Holmberg and Teemu Toikkanen each won €120 for placing 6th.
Finally, well done Keith Cummins of Ireland who trousered a tidy €900 for finishing runner-up in the €50+10 No Limit Hold’em Hyper Turbo!
Memorable Hand: Friends & Poker
Many players find it awkward playing at the same table as their friends. Knowing exactly how it feels to lose makes you more conscious of the potential significance of a pot in which you’re involved with a friend, and it’s difficult to not experience some level of distraction.
Here’s Phill Huxley describing a crucial heads-up hand with his friend, Angus Dunnington:
‘32Red Ambassador Angus Dunnington was moved to my table at the very beginning of day two. He’d already doubled up and the first hand he played he ran a very big river bluff when his straight and flush draws missed. His opponent folded and he showed the bluff, much to the consternation of the other player. I’d always thought of Angus as a pretty tight player but I now saw him in a new light.
A couple of hands later I opened with pocket aces from middle position (first time I had aces the whole tournament) and Angus defended from the big blind. Flop was 779. Angus checked and, somewhat wary of his new ‘wildman’ image after that big bluff, I decided to check behind. The turn was a ten, bringing a flush draw, and Angus led out with a large bet. I certainly couldn’t fold here, calling seemed like the only play. The river was very innocuous – all the draws had missed and Angus asked how much I had behind. I showed him my stack and he put me all in. 32Red on 32Red violence!
Maybe, just maybe, if I hadn’t seen that bluff directly before I would have found a fold as I’d always considered Angus as a tighter, more solid player. But now… against ‘Crazy Angus’ after his big bluff I just couldn’t let it go. After thinking for about two minutes I called. Angus exhaled, shook his head and looked like someone had just run over his cat. In my head I was fist-pumping, thinking “Yes! I caught him bluffing” – sadly it was not the case and he turned over 79 for a flopped full house. Angus was genuinely upset that he busted me and apologised many times. I almost felt bad!’
C’est la vie, as they say. We’ll let Phill’s final comment on the event sum up the general thoughts of 32Red players:
‘…I have to say that it is refreshing the way 32Red treats its qualifiers. Not only trying their best to give them a good experience on and off the tables, but also fostering a team spirit and helping to build friendships and friendly and fun rivalries between the players. Certainly noticeably better than experiences of qualifying for tournaments with so-called bigger sites. It really makes a difference and also stokes my enthusiasm for playing more on 32Red in general’
So there you have it – another successful MPN Tour stop, and another Main Event which saw the guaranteed prize pool increase due to its popularity with players. The next stop is Malta, April 27-30 and, as always, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to qualify at 32Red. Good luck, have fun, and we hope to see you in the sun!