May 28-31, 2015
Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, played host to the latest leg of the successful MPN Poker Tour, with the €500 buy-in Main Event promising a guarantee of a cool €250,000 to those who made their way to this historic city.
Legend has it that in the 5th century King Vakhtang Gorgasali went hunting and shot a pheasant, which fell into a warm spring, and he was thus inspired to found a city right there, the name coming from the Georgian word tbili, meaning warm.
Our 32Red Poker qualifiers certainly found a warm welcome after taking the trip from the airport, down George W. Bush Avenue(!), and into the city. Read on for a players’ eye view of ‘live’ festival poker…
Day 1A attracted a total of 387 entries for the $550 Main Event, all well hosted at the Sports Palace in May Square. As play got under way and the live blog kicked off, various questions were asked from those following proceedings who had not managed to win their way into this big money festival. One such enthusiast, clearly a fight fan, asked for confirmation that champion UFC fighter Nick Diaz was in Tbilisi for the event… in fact he wasn’t, rather his no less worthy namesake Nick Diaz, 32Red Poker Manager, was in town (and meaning business)…
32Red Poker Qualifiers – Day 1a
Vladimir didn’t have much luck this time around, as the following hand demonstrates. Dealt 10, 10, he was more than happy to see a flop of 10, J, 4 … but the inner smile will have diminished when the Turn and River brought 9 and 8, and then disappeared completely after losing the pot to an opponent holding Q, J! He later busted out when his nut flush ran into a rivered full house. C’est la vie.
Dimitri Tsereteli, who online goes by the name didro8888, qualified via one of our many satellites, and has the experience of participating in four live events. He had positive thoughts regarding the festival as a whole, and this despite busting out of the event after seeing his aces losing to 4, 7!
Mikhail Logvinenko, aka Samopomi4, is a freeroll fanatic and qualified in one of our Saturday Surprise tournaments. His key musings were that Tbilisi is a beautiful city, and that the tournament had a good blind structure – these thoughts were no doubt reinforced by his being the only surviving 32Red player from Day 1a…
The Main Event prize fund, which had been guaranteed at $250,000, now promised a massive $306,350, thanks to the sheer volume of entries and the fact that this was a ‘no fee’ event, with the whole of the $550 buy-in going into the prize pool!
Thus the Main Event payouts list was as follows:
32Red Poker Qualifiers – Day 1b
Phillip Huxley, aka rixdorf, was a PocketFives package winner and is a seasoned player with plenty of hours spent at countless poker tables around the globe. After busting out on Day 1a he dusted himself off and rebought into Day 1b, without success.
Meanwhile, Phillip also chose a memorable hand from which he withdrew: “…in the side event I bet the KT6 Flop with KQ and there was a raise and then a shove, so I felt pretty certain I was behind. It turned out to be straight and flush draws, and Q-high ended up scooping a huge pot…”
Nicolae-Alexandru Preda (aka all3css11) started, and exited, on Day 1b, as did his brother, Andrei, who was adopted by the 32Red Poker squad and who, unfortunately, suffered the same fate. Starting his qualifying quest in a freeroll, ‘all3css11’ won a €80 ticket and parlayed this to winning a package final. He has played in more than 10 such international festivals. It’s interesting that, when asked about a memorable hand, one that stayed with him was an instructive example that isn’t typical of tournament reports. Having being dealt pocket aces and opening the betting he took with him a single caller to the Flop, which came 7h, 8s, 5h. He made a continuation bet, was called, and the Turn brought the 9h. Another bet, another call … River 5c and after an understandable check he was put all-in, at which point he folded. Fastforward… all-in very short-stacked with 77, called by one of two limpers on K, 10 and the Turn threw up a 10 and that was that.
Quite a few 32Red Poker regulars will have sat at the same virtual table as lil_J over the years. His real name is Ronald Alino and he hails from Canada. Perhaps surprisingly for such a ‘veteran’ this was his first ‘live’ poker event, having won his place for a mere €5 or so in a 32Red Poker exclusive €1 rebuy satellite.
A ‘funny’ hand that Ronald wasn’t in saw A8 all-in against a short-stacked JJ. When the Flop brought AKx the latter stood up and was, of course, ready to leave… Turn J … River J!
Timo Rissanen, aka marrikkassi, is another player for whom an international poker festival is new territory. His successful qualifying quest for the €1,500 package began with a tournament that cost a mere €11! He was pleasantly surprised by the city and enjoyed the hotel. Alas he busted out when two pairs ran into a bigger pair…
Mikhail Logvinenko had cut his path through the jungle that was Day 1a to emerge with 162,000 chips, and he continued his good form to make the money, pocketing over $1,000!
Let’s leave the last words to Phillip Huxley: “It’s great that the tour took a risk to come to such a new unusual place. Feel very lucky to get the chance to come here as I probably never would have visited otherwise. Well done on looking after your players and introducing them to each other. A lot of sites don’t seem to make any efforts with online qualifiers any more, so the efforts of you and 32Red are very welcome, thanks!”
It was a pleasure, Phillip – see you soon on the MPN Poker Tour…