Michael Eiler waltzes to EPT Vienna title
We came to the final day of EPT Vienna for a coronation. We very nearly got a velvet revolution.
But instead we had the first German EPT champion since season five; 20-year-old Michael Eiler transferring Sunday Million success into the live world, a transition worth €700,000 and some EPT silverware.
While all eyes were on Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu to win all sorts of accolades tonight, Eiler did what even Negreanu believed him capable of doing; play solid poker, avoiding dangerous mishaps along the way, to secure a first live title.
EPT Vienna winner Michael Eiler
Not quite for Daniel Negreanu
Eiler's success came at the expense of another Team PokerStars Pro, Martin Hruby. The Czech Pro, who faced Eiler heads-up, so nearly won his first major title tonight, but was unable to prevent the German stealing the advantage Hruby had won in a sensational three-way all in hand that had changed the course of the tournament a few hours earlier.
That hand would result in Italian Luca Cainelli's departure in fifth, and at the same time cripple Negreanu. Cainelli moved in with aces, Negreanu with two pairs, but Hruby topped them both with a straight.
Negreanu had led up to that point, his pre-ordained success - a Triple Crown and an ascent back to the top of the All-Time Money List at stake - was shattered, and his $13 million worth of tournament experience could do little to prevent his elimination within half an hour.
Negreanu would depart in fourth place
This had proved the main feature, to an undercard of three earlier eliminations. Bruno Launais, Matthias Lotze and Andreas Wiese had been on the back foot from the off, departing in eight, seventh and sixth respectively.
With Cainelli and Negreanu gone Konstantinos Nanos, who had led earlier in the week, fought on, but was first crippled by Hruby's full house, then busted out to the Czech's king-nine when he called all-in with queen-nine.
It's worth paying tribute to Hruby's performance before the fate of the runner-up is forgotten in favour of the winner.
At one stage Hruby had been reduced to just six big blinds, but mounted a remarkable comeback. Heads-up though, despite his two-to-one lead, he was unable to stop Eiler. Now the short stack, Hruby called all-in with deuces against Eiler's ace-ten of diamonds, only for the German to flop the nuts. It was over.
The moment of victory
So congratulations to Michael Eiler, thanks for the ride Daniel Negreanu, and you'll get them next time Martin Hruby. That brings EPT Vienna to a close.
1st - Michael Eiler, Germany, PokerStars qualifier, €700,000
2nd - Martin Hruby, Czech Republic, Team PokerStars Pro, €470,000
3rd - Konstantinos Nanos, Greece, PokerStars qualifier, €265,000
4th - Daniel Negreanu, Canada, Team PokerStars Pro, €175,000
5th - Luca Cainelli, Italy, €140,000
6th - Andreas Wiese, Germany, €105,000
7th - Matthias Lotze, Germany, PokerStars qualifier, €76,000
8th - Bruno Launais, France, €60,000
Catch up on all the action from today, the eliminations, double-ups and what could have been, at the links below.
Our thanks to our foreign blogging colleagues, working in German, Dutch and Greek, but not necessarily in the language in which they were supposed to write. A last thank you to photographer Neil Stoddart, whose entourage of Sherpas, mounted on elephants, to carry his equipment, arrived earlier today ready for their overland journey across the Alps, then across the Pyrenees into Spain.
One last point to think about in the time until EPT Barcelona in three weeks time. In the four events so far this season, three of the winners; Toby Lewis, David Vamplew and Eiler, are not yet old enough to buy drinks in the United States.
With that, thanks for following our coverage from Vienna. We'll see you in Barcelona. What it doesn't have in schnitzel it makes up for in tapas. For now though, so long, farewell, au wiedersehn, adieu.
Photography (c) Neil Stoddart.