EPT10 Vienna: Celebrating ten years with a smug scoot around the city

This time last week, if you had asked me to get on a Segway, I'd have told you in no uncertain terms where you could shove your two-wheeled, self-balancing, battery-powered electric vehicle invented by New Hampshire entrepreneur and inventor Dean Kamen in 2001. Sideways.

But a few hours ago, a nine-person fleet of Segways, including various tournament officials and the Team PokerStars Pro Ville Wahlbeck, set off on a tour of Vienna, zipping along the cobbled streets, weaving through terrified tourists and sampling the wonderful architecture of this most outstanding city.

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Ville Wahlbeck: A break from the nosebleeds

And I'll happily admit it: I'm a Segway convert. You can keep your horse-drawn carriages and Ole Schemion skateboards. The only real way for the urban smug to travel is via this particular mode of transportation.

Lean forward to go, lean back to stop; cling on for dear life and hope for the best. Segways roll!

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The Red Spade Segway fleet

The complementary Segway rides through Vienna are the latest perk available to players as the EPT celebrates its tenth season. There was an ice-rink in Prague and an arcade in Deauville, but these Segways take the cake.

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Our merry band of Segway-ers

Under the expert guidance of Pedal Power Vienna, we were strapped beneath skid-lids and given a quick tutorial in the basics of control. Then we were let loose through the courtyards of the Hofburg Palace and beyond, learning all the historical tidbits you can fit between squeals of "Oh my god, I am fearing for my life!" "How do you stop this thing?" and "I keep trying to go left and it goes right!"

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Lee Jones signs his life away

Perhaps the best thing to say is that nobody died, and we are all at least slightly better informed as to our surroundings. The Hofburg Palace, we learned, is the largest in the world (in terms of rooms at least); many of the buildings that seem ancient are actually only about 130 years old; and the sculptor of the second horse statue outside the door killed himself because he couldn't figure out a way to balance his horse on only two legs.

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Segway, statue and Ville Wahlbeck

We bowed on our two wheels in his honour, but found of course that that was the motion to get the things started again, and off we zipped. It was clear evidence, though, that it's not the destination that counts but the journey.

Day 2 of EPT Vienna is under way. Click through to the main EPT Vienna page for all the action.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour