PokerStars Festival Marbella: Side event wins for Poland, France, Romania and Switzerland

Poker is a global game and its language is universal. For proof of that, you need to look no further than the nationalities of the side event winners thus far at this Marbella festival. Yes we might be in sunny Spain but no Señor's or señora's have found their way to the winner's enclosure just yet. But players from Poland, France, Romania and Switzerland have got their hands on a spadie. Without furhter ado let's delve into this side-event round-up.

Michal the master of the massive MegaStack

The festival kicked off with a record breaking MegaStack. Cheep and deep is the order of the day with this event as for €170 players received 50,000 in chips and a generous structure with 30 minute levels.

It piqued the interest of 761 players, making it the biggest MegaStack event in history. 111 players made the money with the likes of Tom-Aksel Bedell (71st) and Giancarlo Santolin (58th) among those who cashed but failed to make the final table.

Originally scheduled to be a two day event, such was the turn out action was paused on day two when the final table was reached and the tournament extended by a day. It was cosmopolitan final table with players from Colombia, Holland, Russia, Spain and Poland. As we reported at the time Michal Janczarski from Poland defeated Spain's Rubén Cortés heads-up to win the first prize of €20,700. It was the biggest score of both players' careers and for Cortés, who picked up €12,600 for finishing second, it was quite the upgrade on his previous biggest cash of €93.

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MegaStack winner Michal Janczarski

Chamorro wins the button and a trophy

Poker pop quiz: when do you want to have aggressive players on your left? If you answered never then it's possible you've never played a Win The Button tournanment. Good aggressive players on your left are usually a recipe for disaster, but in a Win The Button tournament it can often mean you find yourself in late position a lot, whereas if they were on your right you'd be paying a lot of blinds. That can make a big difference.

A total of 211 players fancied a crack at the €220 Turbo Win the Button event and Cristian-Alexandru Bala (more on him later) was one of 31 players who made the money. The Romanian bust 25th almost doubling his money with a €400 cash. The big money was at the final table of course and, just like with the MegaStack, the final table had to be pushed back a day such was the turn out. Denmark, Norway, Spain, Germany, Sweden Belgium and the UK all had representatives at the final table but it was France's Davy Chamorro who took top honours, winning €8,550.

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Davy Chamorro

Year of Romania! Bala tames the turbo

We all know that luck plays a part in our poker fortunes. How much or how little is open to debate but we think it's safe to say that the luck factor increases in a turbo tournament. The blinds go up faster and it makes the stacks shallower which takes away some of the skill edge that a player may have.

This is all a long winded way of saying that the final three in the turbo tournament cut a deal to reduce the variance. They all locked up €5,000 and left €2,150 on the side to go to the winner. The extra euros went the way of Romania's Cristian-Alexandru Bala who defeated Spain's Angel Cobo Garcia heads-up, while Yueng Ming Cheung of Korea finished third.

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Bala out of control!

Piiroinen pulls off Omaha victory

We heard on the grapevine that quite a few players who were entering the €275 pot-limit Omaha event didn't really know how to play the game! That wasn't an issue for Riku Piiroinen as the Swiss player defeated a field of 101 players to claim a top prize of €6,400. The last man he had to get past was Thomas Pedersen and although the Finn came up just short he still picked up €4,400 for his efforts.

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Nick Wright
@PokerStars in Live Poker