Team32Red Report (MPNPT Tallinn)

November 2, 2017 by  
Filed under News

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.

The Results

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 Winner

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.

Terviseks! Cheers!

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!”

Photo Gallery

 

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!

Find out more

MPNPT: Back in the UK!

August 7, 2017 by  
Filed under 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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MPNPT Vienna: Team32Red Report

February 6, 2017 by  
Filed under News

MPN_588x300

 

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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32Red players through to Day 2

January 27, 2017 by  
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Despite the fact that January is the coldest month of the year in Austria, it doesn’t feel like that (unless you’re used to the climes of Gibraltar, of course), which makes exploring the city for players considerably less hazardous than the treacherous conditions allowed the last time the MPN tour hit the Austrian capital.

The roulette wheel at our info desk has proven to be a hit once again, and augurs well for Team32Red’s growing presence at tour events… As for the Main Event itself, most of our players will be going into battle in today’s Day 1b, but yesterday did see a few team members chancing their arm.

The star of the day was Artur Yarovoy of Russia who managed to turn his initial starting stack of 25,000 chips into a eye-watering 256,000! Given that a number of the 49 who made it through the grueling 13 levels hadn’t even seen their stack size double, a ten-fold transformation is all the more impressive.

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Artur Yarovoy

David Lappin delivered once again, amassing 142,000 chips, while Phill Huxley decided, as proceedings finally drew to a close well after the witching hour, that an all-in punt with A4 would be a pragmatic strategy, leaving him with either a healthier looking stack or the ‘luxury’ of being able to plan the days ahead. As luck would have it an ace magically appeared on the flop and he heads into Day 2 on Saturday with 50,000 chips. It goes without saying that Dara O’Kearney went through to day 2, with 69,000 chips…

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Phill Huxley

Meanwhile, the result of an enormous and exciting family pot of various stack sizes left Angus Dunnington wishing he’d ignored his inner voice to heed the advice of the old adage that ‘discretion is the better part of valour’ and instead turned it on its head, the decision to hold back a chunk of his stack denying him the opportunity to win a tournament-changing side pot. He then what he described as the as the comical ‘embarrassment’ much later of his table breaking up and having to withstand the almost pitiful looks of the whole table as he set down his tiny amount of chips (‘stack’ would be a misnomer). Fortunately he bobbed and weaved his way to Day 2 with a comparatively proud stack of 32,000.

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Au Revoir Mazagan!

November 21, 2016 by  
Filed under News

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MPNPT Morocco, 10-13 November 2016
Team 32Red Trip Report

It could be you…

Online poker is great. We get to choose when and where we play, whether it’s in bed during the day (if we so wish), on the train or while watching reality TV with our feet up and an assortment of snacks at hand. But what about ‘live’ play? Some of us try home games and put up with whatever distractions are thrown at us (the only upside of a child gate-crashing the evening or the phone constantly ringing being a ready-made excuse), or we try our luck at a tournament at a local casino which, as many of us know, isn’t always guaranteed to be an enjoyable experience.

It doesn’t have to be this way and, indeed, at 32Red it certainly isn’t! We offer our players opportunities, throughout the year, to win their way to exciting, professionally hosted and organised poker festivals. These are big money affairs that take place around the globe in the shape of the MPN Poker Tour. And the key factor here is to make these great poker holidays available to all players, the emphasis being on catering for the typical poker fan with a modest bankroll.

Our satellite structure, combined with the sheer number and diversity of our qualifying tournaments and general set-up, means that everyone has a realistic chance of winning €1,500 packages or €550 buy-ins for the Main Event of a festival. It’s by no means unusual to win a package for the price of a beer, or even for nothing, whether in a freeroll tournament, special promotion, or by making a royal flush in our nightly €500 Guaranteed Flush Royale tournament!

The Venue: Poker as it should be…

While the prospect of mixing with seasoned locals in the town’s casino might understandably not seem too attractive an environment to play poker, what about this description: ‘Mazagan Beach & Golf Resort is a 5 star hotel located in El Jadida, Morocco. It offers a wonderful, year-round climate, an array of activities and entertainment, including a world-class Spa, a Golf course (designed by none other than Gary Player, and stretching alongside the 7km private beach…), Morocco’s largest Casino, a variety of restaurants serving cuisines from all over the world and endless activities…’

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The Event

Now, throw in a €125,000 Main Event, a juicy side event and a few other tournaments, and the notion that you could win a €1,500 package to a poker extravaganza at one of the world’s most luxurious resorts sounds almost too good to be true. Almost, but not quite. In fact, one member of Team 32Red found himself playing ‘live’ festival poker for the first time in Mazagan, and by virtue of his making a royal flush in the aforementioned Flush Royale tournament (the buy-in for this, by the way, is a mere €3).

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The Welcome Party

TheWelcome Party was held in the plush surroundings of the Alias nightclub. With Redbull as a sponsor, the favourite drink of the night was the poker player’s classic: vodka & Redbull. As can be seen from the photos, Team32Red had such a great time that there were no thoughts of getting an early night ahead of their participation in Day 1b…

 

The Poker

With such spectacular surroundings – as pointed out by one of the players who enjoyed a massage while gazing through the open door of the Spa on to the beach, and the Atlantic Ocean, and beyond – and facilities one could be forgiven for seeing the poker as a distraction. However, thanks to an airy, spacious playing room and excellent, professional organisation that provided friendly, helpful and top level dealers, the playing conditions matched the venue. Providing players and spectators alike with free drinks throughout the festival was another nice touch.

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Thus, for these Europeans (and our own Canadian, Ronald Aldino, who has toured much of Europe thanks to taking advantage of our satellites at 32Red) – despite waking up in November to the luxurious, relaxing sun-lit surroundings that Mazagan had to offer across its 250 hectares of make-believe, the players had plenty of incentive to go into battle at the poker tables.

Even the most die-hard online addict would be hard-pressed to justify forever staying at home playing in his underwear while surviving on the occasional sandwich. If the photos in this report don’t get you chomping at the bit to qualify for our other MPNPT festivals in great venues, then nothing will…

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The numbers

The main Event was split into four days, with Day 1a – not surprisingly, given that many players were yet to arrive – having the fewest contenders. Home player, Soufiane Ouadoudy, ended the opener with a relatively massive stack of 268,200 chips (players started with 25,000), 26 of the 92 entries making it through to Day 2…

Team 32Red players were out in force on Day 1b in a field that more than doubled the previous day’s entries. As another taste of the atmosphere, it should be pointed out that there was a kind of entertainment during the dinner break that, it’s safe to say, isn’t the usual fare in a UK casino – namely, a belly dancer! This happened to Angus Dunnington who, suitably inspired, returned to the tournament after earlier being down to 4K to eventually be all-in heads-up with QQ v JJ in a 110,000 pot (way over double the average stack at the time)… Alas the first card to appear was a dreaded J, and that was that.

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Here are some more numbers: a four-speed 270CC engine, 570 metre long, 6 metre wide track with Formula 1 standard crash barriers capable of absorbing up to four tonnes of shock pressure… Yes – we’re talking another activity for the players, namely a new karting centre where each vehicle comes with a transponder for live timing and race control (enabling, apparently, racers to post their results in real time to their Facebook account or email address; obviously – by this point of the proceedings we were expecting no less!). This would anyway be enough to attract a bunch of competitive poker players but, for good measure, the winner would be invited back as a guest to Mazagan for a Deepstack Poker Tournament! The same prize was also on offer at a Paintball competition! The runners-up, incidentally, each received a bottle of champagne…

 

Meanwhile, back to the poker, and Deccy Rice was the highest placed Team 32Red player in the €550 Main Event, finishing 31st for 13,000 Dirhams. The total prize pool had reached 1,508,350 Dirhams thanks to the popular unlimited rebuy option which continued until the start of Day 2. The eventual winner finally emerged on Sunday, with Sebastien Compte overcoming an initial 6.1:1.7 million chip deficit to defeat Day 1a leader, Soufiane Ouadoudy, and pocket a cool 280,000 Dirhams (approximately €26,000).

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David Lappin won the High Roller event to the tune of 67,000 Dirhams, Dara O’Kearney finishing 3rdPaulius Sabaliauskas was runner-up in what seemed like a marathon MPNPT Mazagan Poker Cup, with Angus Dunnington finishing 11th … and fun was had in both the Doubles event, where the players of each ‘team’ changed over at each new level, and the dog-eat-dog Hyper Turbo Freezeout with which the festival came to an entertaining end.

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Memorable hands

There’s a thin line between glory and bust, as was experienced by Mario Juste Sanchez in the Main Event, when his lower straight ran into a bigger and quite unexpected bigger straight! All the more frustrating considering he’d been utterly card dead – the poker player’s nightmare scenario – for much of the time before this ‘opportunity’ arose.

Volodymyr Pastuschenko, the veteran from Ukraine who has qualified with 32Red for Tallinn (2015), Tbilisi, Vienna, Sofia and Tallinn 2016, went out with AK suited v AA, but had a (quote) ‘Super’ time in Morocco.

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Peter Raynor, another Team 32Red regular, having previously won his way to the last four events, described his exit: “Exit hand in the Main Event was a case of me flopping top two pair and a flush draw… the villain (a local), it turned out, had an open ended straight draw which he got quite aggressive with. We ended up getting it all-in on the turn when he shoved (having made his straight), leaving me with a decision of 16k to win 68k – I went with it and missed all my outs…”

Julie Whitworth, in her fifth MPNPT festival, ran into a higher pocket pair in both events, with JJ into QQ, and then QQ into AA. But “Loved the go- karting and, of course, I enjoyed every minute!”

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That’s exactly what we want to hear at 32Red because, at the end of the day, it’s mainly about having a great time. Obviously, with a lot of money at stake, it’s well worth qualifying for these MPNPT events via 32Red, but what keeps these poker fans striving to win €1,500 packages and €550 Main Event seats is first the holiday experience, and then the poker.

Portrait Pics

 

Landscape Pics

 

Play at the next leg of the MPN Poker Tour in Vienna

Vienna 2016 was so good that the tour is returning in 2017! The Montesino Casino in the Austrian capital will again play host to what promises to be a great poker festival, one reason being the guaranteed €200,000 prize pool for the €550 buy-in Main Event. Qualify for peanuts – or even nothing at all! – at 32Red, and win a fantastic €1,500 MPNPT package to this major poker city that just happens to be one of the most picturesque, welcoming, culturally rich cities in the world!

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Sunday isn’t a day of rest in Mazagan

November 13, 2016 by  
Filed under News

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Today is the final table of the Main Event and, while no Team32Red players remain in the hunt (last man standing was Declan Rice from Ireland, who finished in 31st place to win 13,000 Dirhams), it’s still been an exciting Sunday at this amazing venue.

After the very popular Go Kart racing yesterday came another special event which the winner will be invited back for more luxury poker in the sun (in the shape of a Deepstack Poker package) – and this time the challenge was to emerge victorious in a Paintball competition!

Meanwhile, Christmas came early last night for David Lappin when he won the High Roller event to the tune of 67,000 Dirhams, and Angus Dunnington managed to survive to the money in the MPNPT Mazagan Poker Cup despite a seriously depleted stack in a tournament that seemed to go on and on (and on). And there’ll be more opportunities for Team32Red today thanks to a Doubles event, where the players of each ‘team’ change over at each new level, and a Hyper Turbo Freezeout that promises to end the festival with a bang…

Live Events

Day 1B update – swings, roundabouts and belly dancers

November 12, 2016 by  
Filed under News

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We all know poker is a cruel game, but it’s always worth mentioning because this truism will, inevitably, help describe the manner in which a few Team32Red players met an untimely end as Day 1B drew to a close.

The numbers were significant yesterday, with over 200 entries being more than double what we saw on Day 1A. The organisation has been as impressive as the surroundings – both inside and out. Certainly, nobody can use the venue – including the spacious, airy playing hall itself – as an excuse to add to the usual bad beat stories.

Even the dinner break provided those players who were savvy enough to avoid the mad rush to the buffet with some welcome entertainment. It’s not often during a poker tournament that a belly dancer appears and rattles off a fantastic routine – as you get stuck into a tasty stew – within a couple of metres of your table! This happened to Angus Dunnington who, suitably inspired, returned to the tournament after earlier being down to 4K, to be all-in heads-up with QQ v JJ… Alas the first card to appear was a dreaded J but, as we said at the beginning: poker is indeed a cruel game.

Meanwhile, a quick update as a long Day 1B ended and Day 2 begins (* Team32Red):

Name Country Chips
Ayoub Khlifi Hajji 276,300
Soufiane Ouadoudy Morocco 268,200
Abdelaziz Bouraouais 211,000
Alexander Hart 173,300
Fouad Bourhani 166,500
Kamal Atoui France 152,700
Slimane Mameche Algeria 146,700
Anas Tadini Morocco 145,400
Mohamed Lebbar Morocco 134,200
Achille Voltolina Italy 130,000
Alan Hayter 127,500
Daniel El Keslassy Morocco 121,200
Deividas Kvaselis Lithuania 119,500
Donatas Grabarciukas Lithuania 114,500
Edgaras Bucinskas Morocco 114,300
Mehdi Hsissen Morocco 114,300
Mathieu Papineau France 114,200
Abdelmajid Es Safi 112,500
Paul Johnson 107,200
Tristan Forge Morocco 107,100
Mouad Benharmach Morocco 105,100
Lewis Spratt 102,100
Tarek Bzioui 100,000
Mohamed Fetni Morocco 95,600
Alex Dubuisson France 94,500
Houcine El Othmani 93,300
Assane Ly Senegal 92,800
Kamal Sefrioui Morocco 90,000
Said El Youssi Morocco 90,000
Fouad El Mouhajir Morocco 88,400
David Duoek 88,100
Vitorino Guerreiro Portugal 87,500
Holm Erdmann Germany 84,600
Mohamed Selmon Morocco 82,000
Mohamed Bennani 81,900
Paul Kirwan 80,000
Rakesh Lalwani India 79,800
Robin Lacey Ireland 77,800
Mohamed Ali Houssami Morocco 76,000
Declan Rice* Ireland 74,100
Nordine Akrab 72,500
Ruslans Nagornijs Latvia 71,600
Amer Benmoumen Morocco 71,200
Mohammed Sekkat Morocco 70,000
Matthew Page UK 69,200
Mohamed Mahalleg France 69,000
Toufik Ouirini 66,300
Dzimitry Stukach Belgium 66,200
Ismo Kero Finland 65,900
Ronald Alino* 65,700
Driss Filal Morocco 63,700
Fouad Zouiten 62,400
Moncef Karoui Tunisia 61,100
Abdessamad Lassi Morocco 58,800
Abdelhadi Kondah Morocco 58,000
Dieter Aebi Switzerland 54,800
Mehdi Lahrichi Morocco 54,700
James Price UK 54,700
Dara O’Kearney* Ireland 53,300
Najib Bennis 53,200
Walid Azouz 50,700
Moustafa Boukri Morocco 50,000
Dominique Leger 49,300
Amine Lamdakri Morocco 48,900
Mohamed Sabir 47,700
Rebecca Gerin France 46,800
Anne Meri Finland 46,000
Yassir Libi Morocco 45,800
Mohamed Ayadi Tunisia 44,900
Dwayne Sluis Netherlands 44,800
Mo USA 44,500
Rachid Rami Morocco 43,900
Frederic Daoud France 43,600
Mohammed Mechiche Alami 41,200
Roger Hairabedian France 40,100
Phillip Huxley UK 39,700
Zoubir Mahi 39,200
Mustapha Bouzid Morocco 38,200
Richard Ward 38,100
Jonathan Kemsley 37,500
Mounir Zitouna 37,200
Mantas Urbonas 36,900
Hafida Jammou 36,200
Abdellah El Ghrari Morocco 35,100
Abdelouahab Zizi Morocco 32,800
Mehdi Bennani 32,500
Ainar Karlson 31,800
Karim Bouzham 31,700
Mohamed Hmoura 25,000
Jukka Olive Ylinen Finland 24,900
Mario Sanchez* 24,600
Sebastien Compte 24,300
Gaspar Diogo Regerio Portugal 24,200
Laurent Roffe 22,600
Yassine Adib 20,600
Jawad Bentahila 20,600
Mathieu Fogacci France 19,600
Einars Muhajevs 17,000
Ghali Bennani Morocco 16,500
Amina Benkirane 8,900

 

MPNPT Sofia Trip Report

May 17, 2016 by  
Filed under News

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There’s more than a touch of irony that one of the great benefits of modern online poker – a technological advancement that allows us to play not just at home but at any time, anywhere – is the facility to qualify for ‘live’ poker festivals around the globe. Poker fans who have never set foot in a ‘bricks & mortar’ casino, nor ever expected to, can now win their way to international, big money events – and for less than the price of a coffee!

Culture, Cafes & Poker

As it happens, Sofia is the perfect place to sit in the sun having a coffee, taking in the view of the nearby mountains that encircle this 7,000-year-old city. And with such a player/bankroll-friendly satellite structure at 32Red Poker a host of players won their way to Bulgaria’s ancient capital for the latest €150,000 leg of the MPN Poker Tour.

There’s a buzz associated with these tournaments that’s well worth making the effort to experience, and if you’re sitting at the table when the cards are being dealt having won the €550 buy-in or even a €1,500 package it’s all the more enjoyable. Not surprisingly, our numerous qualifiers who become part of Team 32Red continue to make the most of qualifying opportunities, and we want all our poker enthusiasts to get involved and join the tour – even our nightly €3 buy-in €500 Flush Royale tournament, for example, has a special prize of a €1,500 MPNPT package for a royal flush!

Home success in Main Event

The MPN Tour has been an enormous success and Sofia was yet another instalment that saw the size of the field generate more prize money than the guarantee which, this time, was €125,000. In fact, over the opening Day 1a & 1b there were 263 entries and an additional 39 re-entries, boosting the total prize pool to €146,470, with a juicy €35,000 for the eventual winner.

With bagpipes (called ‘gaida’) being a national instrument, a public holiday dedicated to St George and a popular Irish pub, Sofia’s perhaps surprising links to UK and Irish players could have led to this particular visiting contingent taking home a chunk of the booty but, as it turned out, the Main Event proved to be a home success. Bulgarians took the top prizes, with Stefan Genchev emerging as the eventual winner.

However, there were a couple of notable results for (Bulgarian!) Team 32Red players, with Edmondi Mkhitaryan winning a tidy €2,700 for finishing in 9th place, and Stanislav Ivanov earning €2,200 for an impressive 16th.

‘Ever growing, never old’

That’s the memorable motto for Sofia which, incidentally, is the Greek word for ‘wisdom’ – we could do worse than apply these words to how we approach poker. Big money festivals are indeed exciting, not least because every player will at some point be within a big hand or a stroke of luck of making a concerted stand for glory. The flip side, of course, is that we are also a big hand or a cruel, ill-timed moment of poor fortune from a painful exit. This, as all poker players eventually realise, is simply part of the game that we need to accept and from which we have to move on without letting the experience taint our future experiences…

Players’ Thoughts

No doubt those players who won a €1,500 package to Sofia will have enjoyed their stay at the Radisson Blu Grand Hotel that was both very well situated and, conveniently, adjoining the host casino. Catering for so many players and dealing with the logistics of organizing such a big event is bound to present a problem or two, and the fact that smoking was allowed understandably didn’t go down well with the vast majority of players from countries where times have changed considerably since ‘smoke-filled rooms’ was the stereotypic norm. But, as the old adage goes, you can’t please everyone, all of the time and, overall, Sofia provided players with an interesting taste of both poker and culture.

Team 32Red qualifier Knut Berntsen’s experience was typical – he had a couple of suggested improvements but also had this to say: “On the positive side, I loved the atmosphere in Sofia, with a good mix of online qualifiers and locals in a friendly environment. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, which is always nice to see in an event like this! Moreover, one important reason I started to play satellites for the MPNPT is that the tour offers stops at locations where you normally won’t find bigger poker tournaments. Please continue to do so in the future, as it is a great opportunity to travel to new places and get to play some poker as well…”

Bouncebackability

‘Bouncebackability’ is a word first championed by a UK television sports show to describe the ability to take bad results and disappointment in one’s stride and bounce back to success. Our Poker Ambassador, Angus Dunnington subsequently adopted it in his psychology oriented poker musings and, fortunately, our Team 32Red players demonstrated this capacity to dust themselves off and climb back on the proverbial horse in Sofia.

Phillip Huxley (England) – “Bad beats on me in the Main Event. Bad beats given out in the Bulgaria Cup!”, 32Red’s indefatigable Poker Manager Nick Diaz (Gibraltar), Vyacheslav Blazhko (Ukraine) and Asif Warris finished 11th, 19th, 22nd and 23rd respectively in the €135 buy-in Bulgaria Poker Cup.

On the last day of the festival Nick did the poker equivalent of striking while the iron is hot. With a dozen or so players left in the €100 buy-in Sunday Showdown, Oliver Fabian was hoping his small stack would see him into the prizes when Angus Dunnington took a stand with AQ but was knocked out by a pair of sevens in a typical make or break hand. Some adventure later, and Oliver’s ‘chip and a chair’ story earned him 4th place, while Nick won the trophy! Modest to a fault, here is Nick’s version of his success: “I’m a lucky fish… had good cards at the beginning so that played out well for me. I made some sneaky moves early on which played out well, too, and had four times the starting stack by the first break. Then I went card dead so shifted down gears, and picked up the pace towards the final table. In the very last hand I had KQ and my opponent 3x raised with 44 – I shoved and a king appeared on the flop…”

And there we have it. Another interesting poker tour stop for 32Red Poker players, who proved once again that there’s more to poker than winning. Here are some words of wisdom from Team 32Red qualifier Andre Silva (whose qualifying quest began with a €3 satellite!) that put the game – and these trips – perfectly into perspective: “Got eliminated with AA against 32 – never slow-play Aces…”

Photo Gallery

 

Next stop on the MPNPT – Tallinn

Be a part of the next leg of the tour by qualifying for the Tallinn event (11-14 August). Win a fantastic €1,500 package that includes the €550 buy-in to the €125K Main Event, €100 buy-in to €15K Side Event, four nights (for two) at the Hilton Tallinn Park Hotel and €250 towards travel and expenses. Satellites start at only 25 cents!

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Team 32Red does Vienna

February 5, 2016 by  
Filed under News

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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.

Team 32Red

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.

Oh Vienna!

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!

 

‘Live’ Poker

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!

 

Results

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.

 

Next Stop

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!

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Vienna Calling… MPN Poker Tour News

October 14, 2015 by  
Filed under News

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With Team 32Red, groups of online qualifiers, having represented 32Red Poker at the first three MPN Poker Tour events – the most recent being Dublin in September – we’re already building up a formidable looking band of raiders for the next stop on the tour, which will be Vienna, 21-24 January 2016.

Given that the Main Event – held at Montesino Casino in Austria’s grand capital – will have a guaranteed prize fund of €200,000, yet the qualification process starts at a minuscule 25c, it’s a no-brainer when it comes to giving the satellites a go and earning your place at what promises to be a fantastic poker festival.

Up for grabs are €1,500 packages, which include – amongst others – buy-in, hotel and expenses, as well the €550 seat. Winners (aliases in brackets) thus far from 32Red Poker are:

Package Winners

Vladimir Pastushenko (DNIPRO2010)
Matti Sahinoka (guizilla94)
Phill Huxley (Rixdorf)
Adrian Nica (Lawliet1)
Dara O’Kearney (HopAlongHnsn)
Andrew Bell (andybell1977)
Frank Taal (minnekus)

Seat Winners

Angus Dunnington (AngusD)
Adrian Nica (Lawliet1)
Dara O’Kearney (HopAlongHnsn)
Juliano Sabino de Figueiredo (Hinode)

 

We can now add Paul Aitken (MaoTseTung) to the package winners’ list. There are numerous ways to find yourself in Vienna by playing at 32Red Poker, and Paul, from Glasgow, managed to earn a €1,500 package with a single hand, having hit a royal flush (on the River!) in our nightly €500 Guaranteed Flush Royale tournament, which guarantees this star prize if you hit the magic poker hand.

Join the quest to Vienna now, and win your way on to Team 32Red!

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