EPT10 Vienna: No one can catch Katchalov in either marathon or sprint

There's no two ways about it, winning poker tournaments is fun--and the Team PokerStars Pro Eugene Katchalov will not let anything stand in his way.

In order to triumph from the £2,000 Eureka High Roller event here in Vienna this week, Katchalov not only needed to beat 455 players, he also had to stay sharp for what turned into an extraordinary marathon.

Originally scheduled to be a two-day event (and, most likely, expected to draw about 200 players), the tournament ended up lasting double that, including a 24-hour hiatus as both Katchalov and Nikolaus Jedlicka, his heads-up opponent, played the EPT Main Event.


Eugene Katchalov: champion

They had played down from 455 to 66 on Day 1 but were still nine-handed at about 10pm on Day 2. It was gone 3am by the time Katchalov and Jedlicka were the only two remaining, and the pair opted to pause the proceedings and play the Main Event on Monday, with the promise to finish up when they got the chance on Tuesday.

Both men were eliminated before the end of Day 2, so reconvened to decide their winner at 9pm, when the stacks were 5,030,000 to 4,080,000 in favour of Jedlicka. It took another four hours before they had all finally made their way over to Katchalov's side of that table, but it was finally the man from Ukraine with the title.

"There is always the feeling of incredible accomplishment to be the last one standing among so many good players in the field," Katchalov said today, offering a more measured response to his emotion-fuelled dispatch to Facebook late last night. "I win!!!!" Katchalov had written then. "4 hour super tough battle where I was down most of the time but pulled through in the end. Thanks to everyone for the support!"

Katchalov has won more than $2m in live tournaments and this result, decided after an ICM deal with Jedlicka, does not feature in his top five if you sort by prize money. (He has twice won more than a million in a single event, and the $2.5m he won with his WPT title remains by far his biggest score.) However this was actually the second-largest field he has ever defeated, which is no mean feat given the strength of all gatherings at EPT festivals.

Dominik Panka was also at the final table, finishing eighth. Katchalov's Team PokerStars Pro colleagues ElkY and Max Lykov both made the money, as well as the likes of Jeff Rossiter, Martin Jacobson, Shayam Srinivasan and Aku Joentausta. Jedlicka, of course, is a known heavyweight both live and online.

But Katchalov, who famously also won the first Super High Roller event at the PCA, couldn't be denied and claimed his maiden Eureka Poker Tour title. It was worth the wait.

Date: 22-25 March, 2014
Tournament: €2,000+€200 Eureka High Roller
Players: 455
Total prize pool: €882,700

1 - Eugene Katchalov, Ukraine, Team PokerStars Pro, €149,400
2 - Nikolaus Jedlicka, Austria, €127,600
3 - Lars Tungel, Sweden, €77,250
4 - Mikhail Korotkikh, Russia, €61,400
5 - Clement Thumy, France, €48,100
6 - Daniel Melten, Germany, €37,700
7 - Viktor Chiginev, Russia, € 28,350
8 - Dominik Panka, Poland, PokerStars sponsored, €20,150

Day 3 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