Against the odds Team West have triumphed in the PartyPoker East versus West Team Cup at the Concord Casino in Vienna for the second year running. Apprentice bank clerk Bjoern Kaersten, 22, from Potsdam, an online qualifier from Germany, played the starring role finishing first and winning €10,000. Runner-up was UK qualifier Jack Powell, a 23-year-old online poker pro from London.
Before a card was dealt Team West were 4/5 favourites with PartyBets.com to retain their title with the likes of Dave “The Devilfish” Ulliott, Roland de Wolfe, Ciaran O’Leary, ‘Flying Dutchman’ Marcel Luske, Ian Frazer and Michael Keiner leading the charge. Team East featured Tony G, Alexander Kravchenko and last year’s European Challenge winner Branimir Brunovic. However, none of the stars of the west made the final table leaving five online qualifiers to battle it out at the final table with an east final table line-up that featured both Tony G and Branimir Brunovic. It looked as though the cup was going to go east….
The odds swung further against the west when they lost the first two players from the ten-seater final table. First out was Austrian Stefan Fuchs, followed by Germany’s Benjamin Mirsaidi leaving the east with five players and the west with three. This was an exact repeat of what happened in 2007, the west looked down and out only to decisively strike back. Team East then lost three players in a row. Russia’s Sergey Pevzner went to the rail and was then joined by impressive Estonian Kairit Leibold and then the much-fancied Branimir Brunovic from Croatia. This left five players, three from the west and two from the east. Tony G took on his usual role of table captain but the Lithuanian star played much more conservatively than usual, desperate to avoid defeat for the second year running. Soon it was two against two as Germany’s Jens Litschko busted.
This left Tony G with Polish television presenter and champion boxer Aga Rylik, who after taking lessons from Mike Sexton recently took out the Devilfish and Joe Beevers in Late Night Poker. Tony G was on his bike next, followed by Rylik and the west had triumphed as they had two players standing in Bjoern Kaersten and Jack Powell.
Heads-up Kaersten had 19,600, with Powell 10,400. Powell thought he spotted weakness and tried to make a move by going all-in with 10-4 off suit. He was called by Kaersten with J-8 offsuit. A jack on the river sealed Kaersten’s victory. The young German only learnt the game a year ago through Poker Strategy.
“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. “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! I have to credit my team mate Jack, he was super aggressive and knocked out the majority of the players on Team East. The key for me was doubling up at exactly the right moment, I had the chips to sit back and wait for more hands.”
A PartyPoker spokesman said: “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. Instead it was an apprentice bank clerk who retained the cup for Team West and gets to deposit.”
The €60,000 prize pool for the PartyPoker East versus West Team Cup was an additional bonus for online qualifiers for the European Challenge II. The final table of 10 (5 Team West and 5 Team East) shared €37,500, with Team West getting €22,500 split between them.
The €3000 + €150 buy-in main event, the PartyPoker European Challenge II now gets under way. The likes of Sigi Stockinger, Andreas Krause, Erich Kollmann, Eddy Scharf, Nik Jedlicka, Harry Casagrande, Markus Golser, Philip Marmorstein, Sebastian Ruthenberg, Florian Langmann, Ivo Donev, Christian Toboc, Rino Mathis, Christoph Haller and Katharine Hartree are expected to take part.
PARTYPOKER EAST VERSUS WEST TEAM CUP II – CONCORD CARD CASINO, VIENNA MARCH 10, 2008
1st BJOERN KAERSTEN (GER) €10,000
2nd JACK POWELL (ENG) €7,000
3rd AGA RYLIK (POL) €5,000
4th TONY G (LIT) €4,000
5th JENS LITSCHKO €3,000
6th BRANIMIR BRUNOVIC €2,500
7th KAIRIT LEIBOLD (EST) €2,000
8th SERGEY PEVZNER (RUS) €1,500
9th BENJAMIN MIRSAIDI (GER) €1,250
10th STEFAN FUCHS (AUS) €1,250