The MPN Poker Tour has proved to be a tremendous success, with the festivals giving players the opportunity to enjoy the thrills and spills of live poker in a varied selection of venues around the globe. The excitement of poker is one thing, but it’s quite another to be able to experience the different cultures and history that cities such as Tallinn and Tbilisi (places that most of us might not so readily choose to visit) have to offer. Throw in the craic of Dublin and the grandeur of Vienna, and it’s easy to see why record numbers of 32Red players found themselves in the Austrian capital after winning seats or packages through our extensive qualifying process.
Held at the Montesino Casino, 21-24 January 2016, the festival attracted an impressively large field. A total of 431 players took part in the €550 buy-in Main Event and, with 52 re-entries, this made for a tasty prize fund of €241,500. This more than comfortably surpassed the guarantee and produced a first prize of €54,000 for the eventual winner, with a further 52 places being paid.
Over 30 of the field came from the now visibly noticeable Team 32Red. Poker is indeed an ‘everyman’ (and woman!) game, and this couldn’t be reflected any better than in our group of players. Coming from across the globe, our qualifiers made the most of their time in Vienna, both on and off the tables.
32Red’s Jakob Anyszka (a Vienna native) was able to put his local knowledge to good use… How we perform at the tables has a lot to do with what we get up to when not playing, and our players certainly had an edge over the opposition when it came to making the most of what the city has to offer – as the photos show!
Some of the more experienced 32Red players – such as Vladimir Pastushenko (aka DNIPRO2010), Phill Huxley (Rixdorf), Adrian Nica (Lawliet1) and Angus Dunnington (AngusD) – have considerable ‘live’ poker experience, including the MPN Poker Tour. For others, Vienna was the first time they had found themselves actually sitting at a table with their opponents rather than playing in the quite different online environment. It’s interesting how most players who have hitherto not played live (or not, at least, at such a big festival) can feel more than just a little apprehensive but, in a surprisingly short time, not only get used to it but feel quite at home.
One point made by Simon Millard (Bada_Bing72) – for whom this was his second time at such an event – was that it had taken him a while at the tables for his game to loosen up to the same level as it is online, while others mentioned how there being fewer hands per hour took some getting used to. These same players, it has to be said, performed well, which serves to confirm that, generally, the transition from online to live tends to prove a natural one.
Live poker nowadays wouldn’t be the same without its growing contingent of online players (whether serious or recreational), and it’s good to see 32Red so well represented in the live festival arena. Having established a genuine, impressive presence at international festivals – particularly bearing in mind that we have such a varied group of players who also appreciate such events – we can look forward to similarly positive experiences being shared in the future. With this in mind we will endeavour to continue providing opportunities to qualify for prestigious events through our player/bankroll friendly satellites and other tournaments – the knowledge that a couple of our players were even able to enjoy their trip to Vienna after having hit a royal flush in our Flush Royale tournament, for example, is what makes it all worthwhile!
It’s not at all a clichéd approach to say that it’s not the winning but the taking part that counts, so while it would be great to announce that a Team 32Red member took home the first prize of €54,000, this was not to be – an Austrian by the name of Jannis Brauer emerged victorious. However, we did have a number of players cashing in the Main Event, with Canadian Ronald Alino – continuing his tour of Europe that sees him essentially following the MPN tour with each successive satellite qualification – finishing 28th for €1,410 and Peter Raynor (38th), Nadeem Nazir (49th) and the wily Phill Huxley (52) each collecting €1,150 for their efforts.
Others, of course, came close and ran well, and a special mention goes to Martyna Makarove who adapted well to the new surroundings of live poker to cash in the 185-player Austrian Cup!
Exits & Memorable Hands
Nobody likes either to hear or have to tell a so-called ‘bad beat’ story so here is a selection of hands with which some of our players exited tournament play in Vienna – the point being to illustrate the thin line that can mean the difference, for example, between a veritable hat full of chips and a potential big win, or none at all.
Diane Duncan (POKERLADY25) went all-in with AJs but ran into pocket tens after an impressive international poker debut. Pocket tens, meanwhile, is the very hand that Dionne Cowley (RangerMcFriendly) took a stand with, losing to KJ. We all accept the luck factor in poker but, for Dionne, her poor fortune manifested itself in falling ill during her stay. This clearly didn’t help concerned husband Richard, either, so here’s hoping they’ll be back with a vengeance at future tour events.
Short-stacked Simon (Bada_Bing72) Millard put his faith (on 16BB) with K9o, was called by A9 and AT, and that was that. He later remembered that this was the very same hand with which he’d been eliminated on his tour debut…
Satellite ‘killer’ Dara O’Kearney (HopAlongHnsn) shoved with AJs versus QQ, then noticed he’d actually put his remaining chips on the line with J4s! Funny old world.
Finally, even funnier – although not necessarily in the ‘hahaha’ sense for Ivan Damyanov… He went all-in pre-flop with kings, ran into aces and duly walked away, not realising that he still had 2,000 in chips still on the table. Two hours later a sole chip remained.
We hope to see Team 32Red similarly represented at the next stop of the MPN tour, which will be in Sofia, 21-24 April. Once again it will be possible to win both €1,500 packages and €500 seats in our satellites and special tournaments, so check out the Poker Lobby and start your quest…
Good luck, and see you in Sofia!