Team32Red Report (MPNPT Tallinn)
It’s good to be back
This was the third visit of the MPN Poker Tour to Tallinn, and the reason for that certainly isn’t mere convenience. It’s a testament to Tallinn as both a tourist destination and a poker venue that, not only did the members of Team32Red have a great time in Estonia’s capital, but a number of them had a great time for a second or even third year.
And herein lies the point of why we at 32Red strive to give our players maximum opportunities to qualify for these festivals – it’s so much more than poker…
Old, New and Newer
The more you delve into Estonia as something other than just a place to fly to (or sail – the Finnish poker invasion, for instance, came by sea) to only play poker, the more impressive it becomes. As well as trivia nuggets that we might expect, such as the fact that Estonia has the highest collection of written folk songs in the world (around 133,000, in fact), we might be surprised to learn that the country is also the birthplace of Skype, or that Estonia was the first country in the world to adopt online voting (in 2005!).
This mix of traditional and modern is indicative of a happy medium that, as well as forming a successful foundation for society, is mirrored in the ideal way to approach poker. The most successful players tend nowadays to have a practical, realistic approach to the game – with such big fields there are certain pragmatic characteristics that are imperative to achieve a level of continued success. This is also borne out when we see the names of those who cashed in the various tournaments that made up the four-day poker extravaganza.
Let’s get the facts and figures out of the way before moving on to what made Tallinn special…
With the total number of runners 534, and boosted by the flexibility of the action-focused re-entry (up to and including the beginning of Day 2!), the €150,000 guaranteed prize pool was eventually dwarfed by the actual amount generated by a frenzied field eager to make the most of the festival, finally settling at a massive €258,990. In fact, so great was the enthusiasm to play poker (the main Side Event, which spanned two days, also attracted a relatively large field) that at one point the cash machines in the Hilton Tallinn Park Hotel – a fantastic venue – ran out of cash.
It’s standard for Day 1b, which falls on a Friday, to attract a lot more players than Day 1a. Locals tend to prefer to wait until the working week is over, while most overseas players arrive at a time that makes Day 1b a more practical option. So, it was no surprise to see the number 416 keep the more than capable organizing team on their toes when Friday arrived. But what did go against expectancy – with so many more players likely to produce a handful of runaway leaders – was that Maksims Aleksandrovs’ impressive stack of almost a quarter of a million chips (the players started with 25,000) was still way behind the Day 1a leader, Terje Torstensen, who managed to see his total rise to 357,200!
Up there with a more than healthy 137,300 was Julie Whitworth, who couldn’t be a better advert for what 32Red Poker is all about. More about Julie will follow…
The eventual winner was Keimo Suominen of Finland. The top prize had been set at an attractively round sum of €50,000, but the wily Finn, after a marathon tournament, understandably did a deal with fellow finalist, Davis Modans, of Latvia, taking the slightly higher sum of €45,200, the title and the trophy by winning their heads-up encounter.
The Crowd Favourite
Gediminas Kareckas was an impressive 53rd for a tidy €1,245 and Mykhailo Lohvinenko finished 42nd for €1,320. However, the ‘story’ of the week, and topping the Team32Red performances, was the aforementioned Julie Whitworth, finishing what can be described – even in the context of unpredictability that is tournament poker – as un unlucky 13th for €2,590. We have to keep things in perspective and remind ourselves that this is a welcome cash, but as a player succeeds in surviving deeper and deeper into a tournament to the point that the final table – and with it the prospect of a very big win – is literally within touching range, then Julie deserves some commiserations of sorts alongside our congratulations. This is her fifth(!) Main Event cash on the MPN Poker Tour, but one made all the more special when we consider the circumstances that led her to Tallinn. The previous installment had been at Manchester, literally down the road from where Julie lives. But, ironically, she was to miss her much awaited ‘home’ event due to being hospitalized just as the festival was about to start. 32Red proposed ‘rolling over’ her package to Tallinn, which promised to be a trip to remember and, with more irony, she barely got to enjoy any of the non-poker fun and frolics and camaraderie that make these events – especially as a Team32Red member! – so memorable because she was too busy playing like a demon at the tables.
Thanks to a number of good and brave decisions and the usual helping of what Fate has waiting in the wings, she more than just survived Day 1 and, come Day 2, it was more of the same.
Julie turned up for the Final Day with over a million chips, sitting more than comfortably in fourth place and – even in this uncertain poker world – heading for the Final Table… Unfortunately, Fate did indeed have other ideas and, a comeback from cruelly timed reverses notwithstanding, she went out in 13th, her sizable and vocal crowd of supporters on the rail sharing her lack of fortune. But when the dust and adrenaline have settled, this will no doubt be a great memory for Julie, who did 32Red proud…
Meanwhile, Diego Domingo Catalan and Angus Dunnington (who had been going for his 3rd consecutive Main Event cash) battled it out to the last two tables of the 2-day, 237-runner Estonia Cup. This event proved to be a victim of its own success when Day 1 went on for so long that the survivors didn’t have to wait too long for breakfast…
Team32Red favourites, Phill Huxley and partner Fabienne Freymadl, showed that an actual connection can help when sharing a stack by coming 4th in the hotly contested (and very difficult to adjust to) Doubles tournament, and Joel Holmberg cut a path through the jungle that was the Bounty tournament to take 7th.
We’ll come back to a bit more poker later, but here’s what else happened in Tallinn…
When in Tallinn, do as the Romans did…
Before playing in an international poker tournament we should spend an evening relaxing in a spa, with a few drinks and snacks, having a sauna or a massage and generally indulging ourselves with whatever level of pampering that’s on offer. This is the norm, isn’t it? Well, no, it isn’t, but a number of Team32Red players accepted the invitation to enjoy such delights on the first night of the festival, and a good time was had by all. The next time you roll up to a bog-standard poker night at your local casino, imagine arriving at the table the day after being a guest at a luxurious spa…
Poker Players’ Need for Speed
So, you’re at a poker festival and the nerves are starting to kick in – the adrenaline is building to a climactic high because you’re sitting there, hands on the wheel, wiping the visor on your helmet, sounds are magnified, deafening, from your breathing to your engine and those around you… and a couple of seconds later you approach the first sharp corner at breakneck speed and the race is on! Yes – you’re a guest at another special event for Team32Red players on the MPN Poker Tour: it’s time for an afternoon of go-karting.
A 30+ strong team attended what was a very exciting, exhilarating day, albeit one that saw a few crashes and collisions, with 32Red Poker Manager, Nick Diaz, becoming the ultimate champion after winning the Grand Final in masterly style.
After a spa experience and the adrenaline rush of go-kart racing came yet another special event to which our players were invited – beer tasting (obviously). A perfect way to wind down following the emotional, nerve-wracking rollercoaster that is tournament poker, the night provided not only the sampling of a variety of beers, but the introduction of a couple of iPhone games afforded the players’ competitive spirit an outing with a difference. Phill Huxley, for example, showed that his skills certainly aren’t limited to the poker felt by winning the Tap War event…
Memorable Team32Red Poker (and non-poker) Moments
There’s so much more to poker than the hands themselves, of course, but it’s also very often true that the outcome of a hand can determine someone’s fate. Just one card, right at the death of a hand, might at the same time sound the death knell of your tournament.
And sometimes Fate can deal out the cards in the most cruel order possible… When holding 66 and seeing the Flop bring 672, Artur Yarovoy must have been doing the usual ‘control’ tricks to curb any sign of enthusiasm. Finding himself up against KK, the only card he didn’t want to see appear was a King which – surprise, surprise – appeared on the river.
Much of the time when these tournaments get underway, players aren’t too involved and instead take time to settle in – sorting out their chips, their phones and multi-media devices, chair, drink… for the first orbit or so it’s often a case of getting ready for the possibly long journey ahead. For MPNPT regular, Deccy Rice, on the other hand, the event began quite differently. Having already added to his package the night before by winning an extra seat in a satellite, he found himself, on the very first hand, looking down at his hole cards to see AA. When this happens right at the beginning, with the blinds – and therefore a typical pot – being so tiny relative to stack size, nothing exciting happens but, bizarrely, Deccy doubled up. Alas, this certainly isn’t a guarantee that things will continue to go so well, and he didn’t survive Day 1a. Undeterred, he won another seat in another satellite(!), but sometimes it’s just not meant to be…
Daniel Leal might be an excellent poker player, but this is what happened when he visited another kind of gaming table. The Olympic casino, to get players in to the spirit of all things gaming (not that poker players tend to need any help…), gives everyone, on joining, a free €5 chip that they can wager on whatever game they like. Daniel strolled over to the nearest roulette table and didn’t bother breaking his freebie into smaller denomination chips, opting instead to simply bet it on a single number. Of course, being Team32Red to the core, he put it on 32 (red) and, of course, Fate having a sense of humour, the ball eventually decided to settle on number … 32.
A great time was had…
Here are a few comments from our players in Tallinn. Some are veritable veterans of the Tour, others were making their first (and hopefully not last) trip to a live festival. But they all have one thing in common – a very enjoyable Team32Red experience.
Uriy Ivanov (who won his place via a Route 32: Flip Flop to Tallinn promo): “I really liked the 32Red approach, the VIP events, and the goodwill of the 32Red team”
Phill Huxley: “I won a package in one of the 32Red promotions… 4th place in the Doubles with my girlfriend (I busted us!). First place in the Tap War competition! The social activities were top notch”
Richard Ward: “Had a fantastic time in Tallinn… always great hosts and we get really well looked after”
Stanislav Ivanov: “This time I had liked everything even more than last time! Very good organization”
Dmytry Nesin: “I won a package in a satellite at 32Red a few days before the start of the tournament. The tournament format is perfect!”
Next stop: Morocco!
We’d hope that this report is enough to whet the appetite of any poker fan and inspire you to make it your quest to win a place at the first MPN Poker Tour stop of 2018: Morocco. The out-of-this-world Mazagan Beach & Golf Resort will again play host (11-14 January), and at 32Red there are – as always – numerous routes to both a €1,500 package and a €550 Main Event seat.
The package includes entry into the 6,000 MAD Main Event, entry into the 1,100 MAD Side Event, accommodation (including breakfast) for four nights at the Mazagan Beach Resort for you and a guest, €250 towards travel and expenses and a Players Welcome Party invite.
Whether it’s through our monthly Chasing Redbacks and Route 32 promotions, hitting a royal flush in the nightly €3 buy-in Flush Royale tournament or simply via the bankroll-friendly satellite process, we hope to see you for poker by the sea!