Saturday, February 02, 2008

EPT Dortmund - the main event

After days of impatient waiting and anxious thumb-twiddling, the EPT Dortmund main event - the EPT Media tourney - finally kicked off last night at 11.15pm. The record starting field of 44 players included some of the hottest names in European poker and created a record prize pool of 880 euros.

Among the international stars taking part were Henning Pohl of Hochgepokert (3rd at the PCA), Marc Convey of Gutshot (who had cunningly bribed the dealer to ensure Aces every hand for the first 80 minutes), Swedish blogger Lina Olofsson and Kjetil Flaten from Norskmagasin who superbly co-organised the event and came up with a structure which absolutely nobody complained about (a record in itself), some unbelievably good-looking guys from Ace magazine, Conrad Brunner ( Head of Communications, EMEA - 2nd at EPT Dublin), Benjamin Gallen - rising star of EPT Live (in French), a couple of cowboys, EPT official photographer Neil Stoddart, the legendary Barry Martin, Owen and Martin from PokerListings, Robin and Rikard from PokerNews, Julien Brecard, Pierre Barnasson, the super-guapo Linderoth brothers from near the Arctic Circle, Klaus from intellipoker and many many more.

Sadly two of the biggest names couldn't take part: Stephen Bartley, our PokerStars blogger, actually had to do some work, and Emanuel Adam from has been posted on permanent laptop security detail in the media room and is never allowed out ever again.

Nevertheless, the field was so intimidating that Annette Obrestad asked if she could deal rather than play - this despite her earlier surprise victory in the 100 euro Heads-Up against Rury "I'm gorgous" Mason from (now planned as a regular EPT fixture). Plus, she's not a journalist, so WTF.

While random Germans looked on in an agony of envy from their fearsomely dull cash games, the EPT's media contingent then proceeded to order massive amounts of drinks as they fought it out for a 320 euro first prize. One by one, the big names fell by the wayside (or were violently pushed) and suddenly we had a final table.

To the amazement of the entire German nation, Mad Harper was on it. Players and railbirds alike were totally stunned. There had not been one single hand that I had played correctly - this being pointed out to me every single time I ever had to show my cards.

I was in the money, and the champagne was flowing. More players were keeling over, I busted Benjamin Gallen, a few more players faded away and then it was heads-up. By this point, neither I nor my lovely opponent Kjetil Flaten gave a damm who won. It was a bit like when Mark Teltscher played his best friend Sander Lylloff heads-up at EPT Barcelona but with slightly less garbling.

I played hand after hand in the worst possible fashion - over-raising, bluffing with nonsense cards in an nonsense fashion etc and grimly held for another 20 minutes or so.

Lina recorded some of my best quotes and more pics on her blog. These (apparently) included: ""Why is it so important who's first to act?", "It's all fine, I have my Swiss account" and "Im so good at heads-up, I have him in a bag". I don't remember saying of these things but Lina is a superb reporter and incredibly accurate so I guess I did.

Then with my 78th absurd bluff of the evening (Kjetil can read me like a book but one of those ones with lots of pictures), it was all over. Kjetil is the new EPT Media champion and I am ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY EUROS RICHER for second place.

Huge thanks to all those who took part and especially Casino Hohensyburg for letting the event take place.

Play resumes at 3pm (the EPT German Open final table, a side event that John Duthie has insisted on fitting into the schedule) and Dortmund has never looked lovelier (now it's covered in snow).

(Corrections to follow)