National mishmash at Euro Challenge

Zagreb, Croatia: hardly known as being a breeding ground for emerging poker talent, but it is where you'll find 32-year-old Branimir Brunovic, winner of the 2007 European Challenge, predicting a surge of poker play in his homeland.

The trainee lawyer and part-time poker player took down the tournament Saturday at the climax of the Spring Poker Festival at the Concord Card Casino in Vienna, Austria.

The Croat won the championship title and €190,160 after qualifying online.

There, Brunovic met noted German pro Andreas Krause in heads-up and, following a prolonged session of final table play, cleaned house with an A-8 to Krause's K-J.

"I play in as many tournaments as I can, but this was the greatest experience and by far the biggest win I have had," said Brunovic in a release.

Though perhaps a surprise victory given that Brunovic isn't a regular on the European tournament circuit, he is, nonetheless part of small contingent of Croatian poker players making names for themselves in the industry.

"Poker has a big future in Croatia and is growing bigger every day," he said. "We have a good set of players who are playing regularly. It started with just a few of us, but the group is getting larger all the time."

The final standings of the European Challenge are as follows:

1stBranimir BrunovicCroatia
2nd Andreas Krause Germany
3rd Peter Gelencser Hungary
4th Jonathan Dweck Canada
5th Juris Bonders Sweden
6th Katharine Hartree Great Britain
7th Kondratas Aruydas Lithuania
8th Gerald Ringe Great Britain

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