Team PokerStars Pro William Thorson has won the second PokerStars Baltic Festival for more than 1.2 million Estonian Crowns - approximately €80,823. Thorson bested a field of 222 players to take his first major No Limit Hold'em title, writes Mad Harper.
The €1,400 Main Event at the luxurious Swissôtel in Tallinn, Estonia was the richest poker tournament ever held in the Baltic States and attracted players from 21 countries around the world, creating a total prize pool of more than 4.8 million Estonian Crowns - approximately €310,857.
Close to tears, the 27-year-old Swede - who has made four EPT final tables but never won a title - said: "I've been waiting for this so long. I'm so happy you just can't imagine it. This means so much to me.. it's unbelievable. I really wanted this title." Thorson beat Lithuanian pro Dominykas Karmazinas after three hours of heads-up play to take the title when his pocket jacks stayed ahead of Karzaminas' deuces.
Thorson has made well over $2million playing live tournaments around the world and was last season's EPT Omaha Player of the Year after winning two Omaha side events during EPT Season 6. As part of a "last longest" promotion (for wearing the PokerStars logo), Thorson also won a €6,000 package into EPT Tallinn, the debut event of Season 7 of the PokerStars.eu European Poker Tour which takes place in the Estonian capital from August 11-16.
Karmazinas, 22, came third at the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo in April for €700,000 and also had several other EPT side event cashes in Season 6. He is an EPT regular and runs his own poker team known as Domcee Poker.
The PokerStars Baltic Festival took place in Tallinn from June 16-19, 2010. Among the 26 players who cashed at the event, held in conjunction with Olympic Casino, was PokerStars qualifier Mathias Hoog. Hoog was one of more than 80 players who won their seat on PokerStars and takes 58,34 EEK (approx €3,730) back to Sweden for 17th place.
The longest surviving female player was 25-year-old Kristiina Illak, an internal comms manager from Tallinn who won her seat in a satellite run by the Swissôtel for its clients and has never played a major tournament before. She came 12th for a 72,927 EEK payday (approx €4,663).
Among those who competed in Tallinn were Finnish Formula 1 powerboat world champion Sami Seliö, new Team PokerStars Pro Ville Wahlbeck, Martin Müürsepp, the PokerStars-sponsored NBA player, PokerStars Team Online's Grzegorz Mikielewicz, Eurovision Song Contest star Maarja-Liis Ilus and Mart Mardisalu from Estonia, both sponsored by PokerStars.
Team PokerStars Pro Marcin Horecki won the €110 No Limit Hold'em Turbo event, beating a field of 63 players to take down the last side event of the Festival for nearly €4,000.
PokerStars Baltics country manager Tomas Larsson said: "This is the second Baltic Festival tournament and it's been a great event with the largest prize pool in Baltic history. It's also really set the scene for a great EPT here in August. People have seen what a superb venue this is and can't wait to come back."