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Team West triumphs in PartyPoker event
There's been plenty of poker in Vienna, Austria, this week with the PartyPoker East vs. West Team Cup and the European Challenge II both taking place.
First up was the Team Cup, bringing players from Eastern and Western Europe to face off against each other at the poker felt.
Team West was favored 4-5 over the East before the event began. Along with the online qualifiers, the team was led by Tony G, Alexander Kravchenko and last year's European Challenge winner Branimir Brunovic.
None of the stars on Team West made it to the final table, leaving five online qualifiers to battle at the final table against Tony G, Brunovic and the rest of Team East.
It wasn't looking so good for a repeat for Team West when it offered up the first two players to hit the rail. Austrian Stefan Fuchs was out first, followed by Germany's Benjamin Mirsaidi.
Then Team East lost three players in a row: Russian Sergey Pevzner, Estonian Kairit Leibold and Brunovic. With five players left at the table, that put Team West back in the lead.
It became two against two, however, when Jens Litschko, from Germany, busted. That left Tony G and Rylik on Team East against Bjoern Kaersten and Jack Powell for Team West.
It must not have been in the cards for Team East this year. Tony G was the next to go, and Rylik was right behind him, leaving the two Team West players to finish out the game.
In heads-up play, Kaersten had $19,600 in chips left against Powell's $10,400. Powell made a move by going all-in with 10-4 off-suit and got a call from Kaersten who was holding J-8 off-suit. A jack on the river gave Kaersten the victory and the €10,000 first-place prize.
"Roland de Wolfe made a bet with Tony G that the West would win; it was great that he believed in us. It feels great to have won; this is my first live tournament - I usually play low stakes online," said Kaersten, from Germany. "Tony G had position on me on the final table and Ian Frazer and Marcel Luske were on my table in the qualification so I'm really pleased to have achieved this!"
Kaerston also credited Powell for the team's success.
"He was super-aggressive and knocked out the majority of the players on Team East," Kaerston said. "The key for me was doubling up at exactly the right moment; I had the chips to sit back and wait for more hands."
There was a €60,000 prize pool for the PartyPoker East versus West Team Cup, with the final table sharing €37,500.
The final-table payouts were:
As the winning team, Team West received €22,500 to split between its members.
"We congratulate Team West on their victory. We could have sworn that Team East was a banker for victory when it got to the final table," said a PartyPoker spokesman. "Instead it was an apprentice bank clerk who retained the cup for Team West and gets to deposit."
Dave "Devilfish" Ulliott may not have made the final table for Team West, but he did pocket a little cash for his efforts and now he's making up for his Team Cup performance in the PartyPoker European challenge.
The Challenge's €3,000 main event kicked off earlier this week and has whittled its way down to the final nine, one of whom is the Devilfish.
"The Devilfish has been one of the biggest supporters of our events for years, but has never won one despite his outstanding success elsewhere," said a PartyPoker spokesman. "He's been with chips and without chips all week and even serenaded the card room with a version of 'My Way' last night."
Ulliott enters the final table with 293,500 in chips, enough to keep him off the bottom of the pack, but still a way behind the 769,000 in chips held by Alex Leviev.
This is Leviev's second year in a row making the European Championship final table. He finished in third in 2007.
The final-table players are:
They will be battling for a first-place prize of €165,520.