EPT Player of the Year contenders scrambling for points
The EPT Player of the Year race saw the main contenders in a mad scramble for points at EPT Campione - making it a very close race with just two events to go. Czech pro Ondrej Vinklarek hung on to the lead despite valiant attempts by his nearest rivals to grab the #1 spot.
There's no doubting his determination though. Even the temptations of stunning Lake Lugano and glorious weather weren't enough to keep him from the tables. As he posted on facebook last Friday: "really tired from being committed in EPOY, such a nice day and I have to play Win the Button!"
As it happens, Win the Button got Vinklarek nowhere but the €5,000 NL Turbo event played a significant role for him and several other POY contenders. Vinklarek came third for €18,200 and 225 points, EPT Prague champion Martin Finger came fourth for € 12,150 and 210 points, and Team PokerStars Pro Eugene Katchalov came fifth for €9,700 and 195 points. (Thanks also to his min-cash in the Main Event, Finger has now jumped from fifth place to third in the POY fight.)
For American Bryn Kenney, the €5k Turbo was just one of several cashes which helped propel him from 16th place to sixth. He had a stonking week in Campione - finishing fourth in the €10k High Roller (for €27,400 and 210 points), sixth in the €2k Turbo Bounty (€5,000 and 300 pts) and runner-up in the €5k Turbo (€32,700 and 270 pts). Not only did this put more than €65,000 in his wallet, but it also earned him 780 Award points - more than he'd have gained even if he'd finished third in the Main Event. Kenney has also been crushing it in MTTs online... winning $269,767 in March alone on PokerStars and $450,01 since the beginning of the year. The night before Campione began, Kenney notched up more than €70,000 including third place in the $530 event.
Another player to keep an eye on as we head to the final two events of Season 8 is EPT stalwart Govert Metaal. The Dutch pro has a bunch of EPT side event cashes this year including sixth place in the PCA High Roller event. The drama was certainly on in Campione where he had to fight a six-hour heads-up battle against American Steve O'Dwyer to take down the €10,000 event for €110,000 and 300 points. This puts Metaal in the POY top ten for the first time. Meanwhile O'Dwyer retains his fourth place in the POY race thanks to his €10k runner-up finish. The POY contenders who made the least progress in Campione were EPT7 Prague champion Roberto Romanello and Nick Yunis from Chile, who both min-cashed the Main Event for 100 points apiece.
Online Qualifier of the Year:
This is another race that saw dramatic changes at Campione with Main Event champion Jannick Wrang, who won his seat in a €109 rebuy on PokerStars, jumping straight in to the #2 spot. EPT Prague champion Martin Finger is still in the lead but there are now only 100 points between him and Wrang, who says he is known as the "Satellite King" back home as he qualifies for every live event he plays. EPT Loutraki champion Zimnan Ziyard and EPT6 Berlin winner Kevin MacPhee are still contenders and Team PokerStars Pro Pierre Neuville, who won the title in Season 6, is now in third place.
Simeon Naydenov, the first Bulgarian to be sponsored by PokerStars, helped keep his country in the lead with his ninth place finish in the Main Event. Bulgaria now have 19% cashes to entrants ratio while the USA has crept up to second place with 17.3%. Spain, which held the lead for most of this season, is still in fifth place with 16,3%. Ireland - the current Country of the Year - is still a danger however. Just two more cashes and Ireland will be able to enter the race and defend its title.
Satellites for EPT Berlin and the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final are running now. For full details, visit the EPT Awards page.