Chasing Redbacks: Mission 2 Morocco

November 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Featured, News

If you think of various ingredients that go together to make the perfect poker holiday, then sun (especially in January), sea, beautiful sandy beaches, a choice of swimming pools, excellent playing conditions, lots of prize money and a venue hotel so luxurious and exclusive it’s a favourite of the rich and famous, then you’d be describing the Mazagan Beach Resort in Morocco, which will once again host the MPN Poker Tour (11-14 January).

And you could win yourself a place on Team32Red and take part in what promises to be a fantastic poker festival by… simply playing as usual at 32Red, thanks to our Chasing Redbacks: Mission 2 Morocco promotion, which runs throughout November…

It’s easy-peasy, which is how promos should be – not least because it’s always good to know that we can get our hands on big prizes for little effort. In this case no extra effort is necessary. Just have fun moving around 32Red Poker, racking up Redbacks as you play Cash, Sit & Go games or multi-table tournaments, and that’s it… At the end of the month, depending on how many Redbacks you’ve collected during the promo, you’ll receive a free MPNPT ticket that could be worth a €550 Main Event seat or even a €1,500 package to Mazagan!

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.

So, as you hit the tables during the dark and rainy days of November, think of the miles of perfect beach that could await you in Mazagan… make the most of your free ticket, or earn a package! Have fun…

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MPNPT Morocco Poker Festival

October 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Featured, News

Sun, sea, luxury and big money poker – that’s what awaits you at the palatial Mazagan Beach Resort, Morocco, which will host the MPN Poker Tour for a second time (18-21 January). The first edition proved that Africa is just as much an appropriate setting for poker as Europe, while another reason to try to win your way to this prestigious event is the place itself – a far cry from the clichéd image that springs to mind when people hear ‘poker’ of smoke-filled back rooms.

32Red offers an unrivaled, user-friendly, bankroll-friendly qualification set-up, with the satellite quest starting with a buy-in of only €1! You can go to Tournaments > Satellites in the Poker Lobby for a full tournament schedule to find a route that suits you best.

Meanwhile, the Route 32 and Chasing Redbacks promotions offer additional ways to get your hands on €1,500 packages and €550 Main Event seats, and a royal flush in the nightly, fun-filled €300 Guaranteed (€3 rebuy) Flush Royale tournament is worth a €1,500 package!

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.

So, what are you waiting for? Start your quest, and become a proud member of Team32Red in Morocco!

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MPNPT: Back in the UK!

August 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Featured, News

Good things come to those who wait, as they say, and after a break of three years the MPN Poker Tour finally touched down once again on UK soil when Manchester’s Grosvenor Casino played host (20-23 July).

Having visited various parts of the globe, from Vienna to Morocco, the festival tour retained a distinctly European feel, with the already cosmopolitan flavour of the city being added to by the sound of (amongst others) Scandinavian voices.

Mad for it in Manchester

‘Mad for it’ is a typically Mancunian phrase which typifies the vibe that came out of a city that brought the musical world the likes of the Happy Mondays, Stone Roses and Oasis. But there’s so much more to this Northern powerhouse that helped forge the industrial revolution. For example, it’s the only place in the world where you can obtain a degree in Mummy Studies, the University of Manchester having facilities specifically aimed at the study of ancient Egyptian mummies…

Manchester also has the dubious distinction of being nicknamed ‘The Rainy City’ which, taking into account the UK’s reputation for rain, is already a little unfortunate, but especially so when, in fact, it is actually one of the drier cities in the country.

Alas, poker is an indoor pursuit, so in some ways the weather didn’t really matter, as a total of 288 entries in this war of attrition and patience (or, for some, multiple rebuying) took advantage of the excellent facilities of one of the UK’s biggest poker venues.

 

The Poker (Day 1A)

Day 1a was expected to see fewer players than Friday’s Day 1b, and Angus Dunnington survived the long-haul journey (12 levels) that saw 17 of the 74 entries make it to Day 2, turning his initial stack of 25,000 chips to 111,000. His friend and fellow Team32Red player, Phill Huxley, playing at the same table, was eliminated in a tricky hand, returning with another ‘bullet’ but not finding the poker gods on his side.

Angus spent the last few levels at a table – after being moved there – with a dynamic quite different to what he’d grown used to for several hours, with the mix of short and big stacks giving the game a greater sense of urgency. Sure enough, a massive pot with the typical scenario of a big hand – KK – versus a big draw seeing the latter catch a tournament-saving flush on the river proved to be crucial for two of the big stacks. This exciting episode encapsulated just how thin the line is between success and failure, as the tournament-saving river card in fact proved to be the stroke of luck that saw experienced Finnish player, Jari Hurri, ending Day 1a as the chip leader with 190,600 chips rather than – had fate been less generous – on his way out.

 

The Party

Meanwhile, Phill’s partner, Fabienne Freymadl (also part of the 32Red Live Streaming team) was impressing fellow revelers and spectators at the MPNPT Party in the casino. This has become a must-go event in itself, with a different theme at each festival.

This time, Fabienne and other brave souls who were capable of activities more immediately physically demanding than poker were trying to outdo each other at a game called ‘Batak Pro’… As you can see from the photos, this is a grown-up version of the children’s game that sees cute little animals being hit on the head with a rubber mallet as they briefly pop up. Batak Pro takes that up a few notches. Anyway, a good time was had by all as the free drinks flowed, snacks were eaten and fun was had both participating in and watching this test of reaction speed and physical endurance. Of course, with numerous prizes on offer, including a £150 side event ticket and 5 drink vouchers for the winner, and a £110 side event ticket and drink vouchers for the runner-up, that competitive edge poker players would be lost without added an entertaining slice of excitement to the mix…

 

The Poker (Day 1B)

Vegetarianism might nowadays be a worldwide choice of millions but, as it happens, appears to have officially originated – at least as an actual ‘movement’ – in Manchester. The Reverend William Cowherd (truth is indeed stranger than fiction) was waxing lyrical about the vegetarian diet down the road from where the Grosvenor now stands over two centuries ago, his followers going on to form the Vegetarian Society.

The atmosphere during Day 1b, however, was incredibly bloodthirsty, with take-no-prisoner knockouts and subsequent re-entries guaranteeing that, compared with Day 1a, many more chips would be in circulation. Some players contributed to the chip pool more than others, with David Lappin, for example, having several bites of the proverbial poker cherry. His fellow Irishman and good friend, Dara O’ Kearney – armed with a supply of Main Event seats – would even decide, after failing to survive Day 1b, to take advantage of the option afforded those players with both the inclination and the means to re-enter at the beginning of Day 2…

As it turned out David was able to exploit his extra lives and reached Day 2 with a stack of 75,000 chips. He was joined by other 32Red qualifiers, Matti Sahinoja (Finland; 102,000) and Mark Dyson (England; 37,600) among the 43 who would join the previous day’s 17 for a step up in gear on Day 2.

As was suggested above, the fact that there were many more chips flying around meant that the biggest stacks on Day 1b were much higher – the overall chip leader was Yiannis Liperis with a massive 328,600!

 

Day 2

The 60 players gunning for a cash (35 prizes) increased to 63 on Saturday when three more re-entries tried their luck, one of these being the aforementioned Dara. In fact, at one point, he, Angus and Matti were at the same table, sharing the unenviable experience of having to put up with Liperis and his mountain of chips, which was mercilessly being put to good use.

Not surprisingly, this proved to be a tough day, and the sole Team32Red player to cash was Angus Dunnington, whose feelings were mixed. He had been eager to make amends for the Vienna leg, where he had also cashed but after losing an enormous pot with KK v QQ at the critical, juicy stage of the tournament. Day 2 this time was his most frustrating, but a cash is a cash, and his patience ‘honed’ after years as a professional chess player saw him get the most out of what had become a very short stack.

 

Congratulations to Tim Chung on taking top honours and the 1st prize of £29,900 – a performance all the more impressive when we factor in how short-stacked he was at the beginning of the Final Table action, and how quickly he saw off the opposition.

 

The Players

You could be forgiven for thinking that poker festivals are characterised chiefly by such obvious things as cash, chips, bad beat stories and so on because conversations and thoughts will invariably feature these clichés. Indeed, that is often the case, but our aim when coming up with the various avenues through which players can be part of Team32Red and attend international poker competitions extends to more than the turn of a card. Here are examples of 32Red players who illustrate that there’s more to being a poker player than chip counts:

Luck – or, more significantly, bad luck – is something that poker players become used to and philosophical about but, for 32Red and MPNPT regular, Julie Whitworth (aka Ladydriver), fate dealt a particularly cruel blow before Manchester. For Julie, a popular Team32Red member who encapsulates what poker should be about, this was to be her ‘home’ event. Having cashed in Malta she was looking for a repeat success here but, unfortunately, was taken ill.

But that doesn’t mean she didn’t play a role, supporting her fellow players from her hospital bed. Here’s what she had to say: “As part of Team32Red, I was unfortunately taken into hospital the night before I was due to meet up with everyone… I was taken aback on Sunday afternoon by a visit from Nick Diaz, Angus Dunnington, Phill Huxley, Fabienne Freymadl and Sean Ainsworth, delivering some beautiful flowers and a card signed by lots of my fellow MPNPT companions. I may not have been there in body but my spirit was with the team. Thanks to all for the good wishes, and I will be with you in Tallinn!”

Get well soon Julie!

 

Phill Huxley is a great example of how to get the most out of 32Red Poker. In his own words, he ‘loves promos’ and makes sure not to waste any opportunities. He qualified for Manchester by winning a Route 32 promotion. These revolve around collecting starting chips for a Final proper in nightly ‘Flip’ qualifiers, which put everyone all-in every hand until the winners emerge, require just a few raked hands to register, and are completely free. He made a point of fulfilling the easy daily entry requirements, took his chances in the Final (knocking out his friend, Angus Dunnington, in 4th place in the process; note that the runner-up wins a €550 Main Event seat…) and bagged a €1,500 package.

 
Add to the mix Phill is an excellent player, and it’s a recipe for success. He didn’t make Day 2 in Manchester (but cashed in the Manchester Poker Cup), but poker is the ultimate ‘long’ game, and he’ll be a danger, as always, in Tallinn

Another 32Red qualifier whose journey to Manchester is the perfect incentive for all players is Andrew Talbot. He is one of a number of people who have the good fortune to win a fantastic €1,500 package by hitting a royal flush in our daily Flush Royale tournament. Having never taken part in a poker tournament before, he was expecting to find the situation and environment potentially difficult but, in fact, found himself feeling quite calm. This is a common and pleasant surprise for many in this context, and Andrew’s positive experience should serve to help ‘new’ players decide to make the most of our promotions and qualify for poker festivals.

Finally, Gerard Molloy sums it up perfectly: “My feedback is very positive regarding the MPNPT. I won my package (my first MPNPT event) online at 32Red. I didn’t win at the tables but the experience was amazing… I would very much like to qualify and take part in future events, so hope to see you again soon…”

Memorable hands

A memorable hand doesn’t have to be a devastating bad beat on the river or someone flopping four aces, and even when we are involved in a ‘big’ hand it might not be the one we find the most significant.

Phill Huxley, for instance, found the hand which saw him eliminated from the Main Event as ‘pretty funny’ and, importantly, this highlights the pragmatic, must-have-a-sense-of-humour attitude that is common amongst players. Phill had AK and found himself all-in and up against two opponents. AK is the kind of holding that should give you a fighting chance, but in this particular case Phill’s opponents had as their hole cards a pair of Kings and a pair of Aces! Phill: ‘I couldn’t have got it in much worse…’

Matti Sahinoja of Finland qualified for Manchester via a satellite at 32Red, having already played in MPN Poker Tour events in Vienna and Sofia, as well as the Irish Open (again through 32Red). He managed to go deep into the Main Event, at one point having quite a big stack. But navigating a safe route through the jungle that is tournament poker is never straightforward, and he ultimately fell short of the money.

As far as ‘memorable hands’ is concerned, what stuck in Matti’s mind most is when he faced an all-in bet while holding middle pair. This is always a difficult spot to find yourself in, not least in a big money festival, overseas, with your tournament life effectively on the line. The decision-making process can be hampered by the prospect of calling and finding that your second pair is, in fact, the second-best hand. He called, and had indeed made the correct decision, which is one of those poker experiences that never ceases to feel very satisfying…

Dara O’Kearney suffered a typical curse that the poker gods tend to dish out to those in possession of big pocket pairs. He three-bet Kings over an under-the-gun raise and was called. The Flop brought 10 8 7, both players ended up all-in and his opponent had – you guessed it! – J 9 (off-suit).

The Ginvitation

‘Made-up’ words can often be better than existing ones. Another is Gincident. Both feature the word ‘gin’, around which a special event was held for those players who fancied doing something different on the Sunday evening to round off the Manchester festival in style.

A dozen or so players took up the invitation for a barge cruise down the Manchester Ship Canal, where they were treated to as many Gin & Tonics and imaginative, tasty cocktails as they wanted, as well as endless platters of food, a fascinating, entertaining history of gin and a unique view of the city (such as Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United) from the traditional barge as it chugged along the canal…

 

Next Stop: Tallinn

If the MPNPT had a Walk of Fame, then Estonia’s picturesque capital, Tallinn, would take pride of place, being the most visited venue of the Tour thus far. If you haven’t yet enjoyed the poker festival experience this would be a great time to start, and at 32Red we have numerous, player-friendly ways for you to book your place at the €150,000 event (19-22 October), with €1,500 packages and €550 seats to win. Check out how to qualify, have fun, and we hope to see you there!

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Summer Sales (31 Jul – 6 Aug)

July 28, 2017 by  
Filed under Featured, News

There’s a great promotion taking place between 31 July and 6 August that is sure to be a big hit with tournament regulars and newcomers alike – make the most of the Summer Sales as August kicks in!

Contrary to what some people might believe, poker players have an eye for a bargain, ‘value’ being a key part of any serious player’s vocabulary. With that in mind, the Summer Sales promo is good news on two levels because we’re making player-friendly adjustments at both ends of the tournament experience.

On each day of the promotion four of our most popular tournaments will have their buy-ins reduced, while the incentive to perform well will be higher than ever because we’re adding extra funds to the prize money!

For example, the Jungle Jim tournament usually has a buy-in of €10 and a €1,500 guaranteed prize fund, but the edition at 8:30pm GMT on 31 July will instead have a €5.50 buy-in and a prize pool of €2,000.

So, there you have it – reduced buy-ins and increased prize money, four tournaments per day for a whole week. Good luck, and have fun!

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Route 32: All-in to Tallinn

June 30, 2017 by  
Filed under Featured, News

After the route to Manchester, the next phase in our mission to populate the MPN Poker Tour with Team32Red qualifiers is Route 32: All-in to Tallinn. The top prize is a €1,500 package for the Tallinn leg of the MPNPT (19-22 October), while the runner-up will receive a €550 buy-in for the €150,000 Main Event in Estonia’s capital. There will also be an additional 30 prizes up for grabs!

The package includes the €550 buy-in for the €150,000 Main Event, entry to the €110 Side Event, four nights (for two, including breakfast) at the Hilton Tallinn Park Hotel, €300 towards travel/expenses and an invite to the ever-popular Players Welcome Party! It’s all-in to Tallinn!

The idea behind this promotion, which runs throughout July, is that – other than the Final (1 August) – no actual ’playing’ is necessary in the 31 nightly ‘Flip’ qualifiers (all at 10pm BST). It’s free to take part, and all you need to do to register is play the number of raked hands corresponding to the event in the previous 24 hours – so Route 6 will need six raked hands, for Route 19 you’ll need 19 raked hands and so on.

Once you’ve registered, the software at 32Red does the rest for you because in Flip tournaments everyone is automatically all-in every hand until the winners emerge. In this case the top eight finishers in each of the 31 Route tournaments win starting chips for the Final. So have fun at the cash tables every day, register, win starting chips and get ready for the Final…

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Festival of Speed

June 8, 2017 by  
Filed under Featured, News

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Festival of Speed (8-25 June)

Poker is no longer about grinding away for hours with the intention of securing a few big blinds’ worth of profit. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with such an approach, but most people have a limited window in which to enjoy time at our poker tables, which is why the emphasis nowadays is increasingly on having a good time. Poker is entertainment, after all.

With this in mind, our Festival of Speed, which will run between 8-25 June, is sure to set the pulses racing because it’s all about speed. Time – more specifically, what we can achieve in a limited amount of time – is a key factor of modern-day online poker. It’s always interesting to see how differently we perform when this particular element is tweaked – can we make the same, tactically sound decision whether we have a minute or seconds in which to think? Do we become so impatient while waiting around to get involved in a hand that, as soon as we fold, we’re so eager to taste the action that we find ourselves committing chips with mediocre cards?

The Festival of Speed covers both these subjects, in fact. First, we have a Super Turbo Multi-Table Tournament Series – a juicy 39 very bankroll-friendly events where speed is of the essence and the more you can put yourself nicely ‘in the zone’ while those around you struggle, the better chance you have of helping yourself to a share of the €50,000 in guaranteed prize money on offer in the series.

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We’ll also be rolling out a 32Red favourite in the form of Blazing Cannon. For those who have not yet had a go at this dinky game, it runs alongside our speedy Blaze Poker format, which is designed to do away with waiting around twiddling our proverbial thumbs by transporting players automatically to a new table and a new hand immediately after each hand ends. No delays, no hanging about for a hand to finish, but straight back into the action. Then, when you’ve won/shared a pot in 20 raked hands you’re brought to the Blazing Cannon video game, the task being to knock down a stack of cards with a burning chip fired from a cannon, with a chance of winning €1, €10 or even €100 in cash. Poker is never boring at 32Red!

The third part of the festival is Added Money Turbo SNGs. Quite simply, SNGs with buy-ins ranging from €1 to €20 will have money added to the prize pool, so it’s just a matter of heading to the Sit & Go section of the Poker Lobby and keeping your eyes peeled for the specials.

And, finally, don’t forget to make the most of the Bonus Promotion: Fire the Blazing Cannon twice, play 10 Festival of Speed events and play 15 Festival of Speed SNGs and you’ll earn exclusive entry to the €5,000 Festival Flash Freeroll (2 July).

So there you have it… poker goodies coming at you from all directions between June 8-25. Enjoy.

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€50,000 Cash Drop (May 4-31)

May 8, 2017 by  
Filed under Featured, News

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Sometimes something good just falls right into your lap, and this is what happens during our €50,000 Cash Drop promo – every five minutes we’ll be ‘dropping’ €5 into a player’s account, at random, for the rest of the month!

Numbers-wise, this will mean giving away €40,000 in total by the 31st, and to be eligible to receive a cash drop the criteria isn’t rocket science: simply play at our cash tables. All our promotions are fun and interesting, but this particular one is fantastic in its simplicity because our players benefit by virtue of the fact that they’re just enjoying themselves playing cash poker.

It’s also important to note that this is very player-friendly in that poker fans who play a single table are equally likely to be the recipient of a cash drop as those who multi-table!

Meanwhile, if you’re wondering what the other €10,000 of the promotion is for, there’s another element in the form of a €10K Cash Drop Leaderboard. With each cash drop received you’ll earn one point towards the Leaderboard table, and at the end of the month those who have accumulated the most points will win a share of the booty – the more cash drops you get, the bigger your ultimate prize. And that’s not all – to spice proceedings up a bit we’ve added two special additional prizes: a €1500 MPNPT Package and a €550 MPNPT Seat will be awarded to the winner and runner-up respectively.

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So, if you’re already a cash games player, then carry on doing what you do best and, if you’re new or inexperienced as far as cash games go, remember that we have bankroll-friendly limits as low as €2 max tables.
Have fun, good luck and see how many cash drops you can collect between now and the end of May…

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32Red regular wins Fish Party Jackpot

March 6, 2017 by  
Filed under News

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The Sit & Go format has been popular since the beginning of the online poker boom for more than one reason. A key attraction is that players can enjoy the atmosphere of a tournament in a matter of minutes, while being up against a limited number of opponents also increases the likelihood of winning a prize.

The word ‘prize’ has taken on considerably more significance now that players are enjoying the fast-paced, three-player Fish Party Sit & Go tournaments because, thanks to the set-up revolving around progressive jackpots, the prizes at stake could be literally tens of thousands the size of the buy-in.

This happened yesterday when, while the players of a €5 tournament watched the mini Fish Party slot feature determine how much they were playing for, the amount the reels produced was a staggering €128,126!

Most of the time there’s one prize, which starts off at twice the buy-in, but with such an enormous jackpot all three players are guaranteed a chunk of the cash. As it turned out it was a 32Red Poker regular, Ronald A (aka fini00) who beat his two rivals to take the lion’s share – €64,063 to be precise. Not that the others will have been complaining to earn €38,437 and €25,625 respectively for their initial €5 buy-in…

Here’s what Ronald had to say…“Ever since the €1 Fish Party jackpot had been hit I started playing the €5 Fish Party tournaments a lot more when I could. I would play up to 8 tables at a time but I found that I couldn’t play any other tournaments because of how quick they go, and a €5 loss here and there can add up when you have a small bankroll as I did. Less than two weeks ago the €10 Fish Party Jackpot hit, and it was just a matter of time before somebody would hit the €5 jackpot.

On March 5th I played as usual. I was concentrating more on my multi-table tournaments rather than the Sit & Gos when out of the corner of my eye I saw the first fish party symbol pop up. I jumped out of my chair because I knew that the prize is determined based on the first symbol. My sound was off on my laptop so I don’t know what new sound I would hear. My heart started racing. I only dreamt about having a chance to play for the jackpot and with my luck over the past few months, I never thought that it would happen to me.

I ended up sitting out on all the other tables because a mis-click here would be devastating. I had to close the chat because I tried to type and play at the same time. Bad idea. I was nervous until I lost with AK to some hand that I don’t remember. I was down to 170 in chips. I was able to double up a few hands later and then put my tournament on the line with KQ all-in pre-flop against AJ. I had even more luck on my side and I survived. From then on I think I played as well as I could. I had over a 2 to 1 chip lead and was faced with a call this time with KQ. Blinds were high at this time and it seemed like my opponent was getting restless. I called, and he/she showed Q4 or K4 unsuited I believe. My hand held and I won. I checked my account a few times to make sure it was real. It’s hard to describe the feeling.”

Following on from another recent hit, when a €10 game paid out a whopping total of €207,438 (with the winner receiving €103,719), this is sure to attract even more players to what has already established itself as a fun way to spend a poker session.

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MPN Poker Tour: Malta

February 7, 2017 by  
Filed under News

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Just as the return of the MPN Poker Tour to Vienna (see report) is a testament to the Austrian capital’s standing as a global poker venue, selecting Malta as the second host of 2017 is indicative of how popular the tiny Mediterranean island proved the last time the MPNPT enjoyed the hospitality of this popular tourist resort.
 
Taking place at Casino Malta in the picturesque St George’s Bay, 27-30 April, the festival will boast a Main Event with a guaranteed prize pool of €150,000 as well as other interesting events for players to stick their teeth into. One such is the MPNPT Casino Malta Poker Cup, for which the €150 buy-in is included in the €1,500 package that can be won at 32Red for pennies!
 

As always, the qualification process is very player-friendly. Of course, it’s possible to simply buy a package or the €550 Main Event buy-in directly via 32Red, but it’s a great feeling to sit down at a big money tournament knowing that you earned your place as part of a poker holiday for a mere 25 cents…

In addition to the conventional qualification process that features regular qualifiers for packages and seats, with cheap ‘feeder’ tournaments every day, players can also win the whole package by hitting a royal flush in 32Red’s exclusive €3 buy-in Flush Royale tournament, which runs every night, and has a €500 guaranteed prize pool.

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The Package

The Package, valued at €1,500, consists of the following:

  • Entry into the €550 Main Event (€150,000 Guaranteed)
  • Entry into the €150 MPNPT Casino Malta Poker Cup
  • 4 nights, including breakfast, at the Be Hotel (for you and a guest)
  • €400 for travel/expenses
  • Welcome Party

 *You may transfer your side event ticket to a guest if you wish. If you do not transfer your side event ticket but are unable to play because you’re still playing the main event, we’ll refund the buy-in/s to your MPN account. Otherwise, the side event entry is not refundable or exchangeable.

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MPNPT Vienna: Team32Red Report

February 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Featured, News

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The Venue

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…

 

The Party

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

 

(Irish) Sausages

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…

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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!

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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!’

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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!

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