Travel Diary: EPT Berlin
I adore Berlin. It has such an edge of coolness about it I was so excited to return there for the penultimate EPT of the season. Having a good friend living there also helped me to enjoy the experience much more. Before the Main Event kicked off, I went out to celebrate my German friend's birthday and get to know the Berlin way of life a little better than I had done before. It was a Sunday night and apparently the best night of the week to go out (that was a statement from a Berliner, so it's pretty concrete.) We started in a Swiss restaurant called 'Helvetia' in Kreuzberg where we ate a cheese fondue. It was insanely tasty and cheap. In fact, I wasn't really looking forward to it so much, I mean, how can a bit of bread and cheese be that great? But trust me, it was. I couldn't stop dunking my bread into the hot runny cheese sauce. Just thinking about it now is making my mouth salivate, so really, if you come to Berlin, you must try and find Helvetia of you like cheese. The address is Mariannenstrasse 50, 10997 Berlin. Go. Go. Go!
After stuffing ourselves silly, we went out for a few more drinks and the others carried on to a club a little later, but having Day 1a the next day, I thought I better go with the sensible option and opt for an early night, well 2 a.m.
The day before we had also gone out to explore the city and all its history. There was of course a lot of history and I always loved coming to look at some of the old pieces of the Berlin wall that were still visible for the world to see. We had never visited the TV tower before, so felt we should take in the whole experience and see Berlin from up in the clouds and from a 360-degree view. There's no need for you to do the same though, as it's all here for you to take a look in the welcome video!
We knew Berlin was going to be a huge field right before the Grand Final and we weren't wrong. We played 10 levels on both Day 1a and 1b, which was pretty unheard of. Yet, it meant the total field of 750 players had been reduced to 102 by the end of Day 2, so ultimately it was a good thing.
A number of Team PokerStars Pros had gathered at the felt to try and conquer EPT Berlin, but it was not to be. German Team Pro Jan Heitmann made it the furthest by coming 29th and taking home €17,500. It was such a pleasure to see Jan as well because he was such a great person and didn't frequent all the tour stops. In fact, I think it had been a whole year since I had seen him at last EPT Berlin. He was willing to get involved and make my videos fun, including making a rather silly video, which showed off his piano talents a lot more than mine. I should have, however, received the EPT Oscar after making this video with him ;)
As we got closer to the final table, although no Team Pros remained, we did have the chance of a double crown champion as former EPT Berlin Champion Kevin MacPhee, EPT Copenhagen Champion Anton Wigg and EPT Snowfest Champion Vladimir Geshkenbein all remained in the final 19 players. However this hope was also short-lived, as MacPhee busted in 19th, Wigg in 14th and Geshkenbein in 10th, even though the Russian did have his lucky monkey looking after his chips and his token alcoholic beverage next to him.
However, the final table was still an exciting one, with Canadian Andrew Chen and Belgian Davidi Kitai being the two players with most notable performance history and indeed making it to heads-up. Kitai held the chip lead for most of the day though it did pass to Chen a few times once the players had reduced. It was not a particularly long heads-up battle either, which was great seeing as our video team had to leave Berlin at 5 a.m. to get to Monaco (with a 4 hour stopover in Dusseldorf - its not all glamour!!) Davidi Kitai had become the first ever Belgian EPT Champion and the Belgians were having a great run recently for sure. He spoke to me after play and here is his interview:
So onward bound to Monaco, with no break in between Berlin and The Grand Final. I had my bags packed full of food as I had heard it was a little pricey in this glamorous principality. I just hoped it didn't all fall out on the flight and smother my dresses! I leave you with some of the outtakes from EPT Berlin (which went out the video before the winner interview). Yes, we are a silly bunch! Until next time. Auf Wiedersen!