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Shooting Stars headline EPT Dortmund
The PokerStars.com European Poker Tour returns to Germany this week with a cadre of hometown heroes set to play in Dortmund.
PokerStars might have a corner on the playing field in Dortmund, but organizers expect plenty of local players to sign on, and some from other poker sites as well.
Soren Kongsgaard, 2007 European Rookie of the Year and newly anointed Full Tilt Poker pro, said he and eight of his friends drove in from Denmark for the event.
"I am really confident I will do well in Dortmund. After I was disappointed about the way I played last year, I have been working very hard on my game this year," Kongsgaard said.
"I have been grinding a lot of hours online, mostly at Full Tilt. Right now I feel more and more confident every day, and I really expect to do well here."
The tournament kicks off on Tuesday afternoon from the Casino Hohensyburg on the outskirts of Dortmund, an industrial mecca in Western Germany.
Last year's event saw Canadian Mike "Timex" McDonald take down the title, winning €933,600 and his first EPT prize in what amounted to a coming-out party for the young online pro.
McDonald, who was only 18 at the time of his win, showed the poise of a live tournament veteran, making a number of spectacular reads while outlasting a final table that included American online presence Christian "charder" Harder and the aforementioned Strassmann.
"He wasn't playing to make it into the top four or top three," McDonald said of his German rival. "He came to my room at like 3 a.m. [the night before the final table] and was saying he wanted to win this tournament on his home turf, so he wasn't playing for second place."
While Strassmann would make a number of plays that seemed to betray a touch of nerves, McDonald would show no such fear, and after Strassmann flamed out in sixth, he'd quickly take over the chip lead and cruise to victory over runner-up Andreas Gülünay.
With a larger €7,700 buy-in and a January start date, last year's event attracted 411 hopefuls and split €3,164,700 among the top 40 finishers.
Among those to cash were Ramzi Jelassi, Steve Jelinek, Brandon Schaefer, Marcel Luske, Heitmann, Dan Carter and Danny Ryan.
This year's action begins Tuesday at 2 p.m. Central European Time and continues until Saturday's final table. You can catch it all in the Live Tournaments section.