EPT10 Vienna: Volatile start denies Lodden third EPT final

The first 20 minutes of play featured two hands, a redraw and two eliminations. First went Mike Adamo. Then Patrick Fasching.

There were only three Austrians in the field at the start today, now there are just two. Crucially they didn't count on the one Italian, Umberto Vitagliano, who shoved, holding a pair of kings but had a feeling things were about to go his way. Fasching then called for his tournament life with ace-jack of clubs.

Like many Italian players, Vitagliano had an anonymous cheerleader somewhere in the tournament room, a voice booming out from a direction nobody could quite pinpoint. I don't really know what "Vi!" means, especially when it's shouted several times at great volume, but whatever it meant its intention was to jimmy Vitagliano along. It worked brilliantly.

The flop came ace-queen-ten, putting Fasching ahead ("Vi! Vi! Vi!"). But while the turn was an irrelevant three the river wasn't ("Vi! Vi!"). A jack made Vitagliano a straight, simultaneously reducing the Austrian contingent by a third.


Umberto Vitagliano... hang on, maybe "Vi!" is short for...

A delighted Vitagliano was apparently heard to say the he knew it was coming. Perhaps that's what "Vi!" means. Perhaps it's Italian for "I knew it!" or "here' comes the jack!" Either way, Vitagliano is in good shape. Not so the voice of his mystery admirer, who by now could only whimper "Vi... vi..."

The explosive start continued with Johnny Lodden's departure in 15th place.

Lodden was indeed, for most people, the only familiar face left in the field. But then, some say that the penultimate table is typically a Lodden graveyard, the place where Lodden fans go to cry. Perhaps his departure wasn't that surprising after all.

The numbers do seem to support this thesis. During a live career now spanning a decade, Lodden has recorded 13 cash finishes on the EPT, eight of which have come from the last three tables of a main event. It's enough to make some people think he's one of the most unlucky players on the tour.


Johnny Lodden

But then that doesn't quite ring true. Of those cashes Lodden has reached two final tables, finishing third in the Grand Final last season. And of course, for every elimination there's the untold story of how that position arrived in the first place.

Bad luck? Sounds more like the performance of a great player. That said the tournament is now poorer without him.

Vi! Lodden. Vi! Vi!

Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.