Our live stream is about to go live for the last time this week – we believe it’s going to be €2/€2 4-card PLO/5-card PLO round-of-each. Players include Acroud Charity Tournament winner Ylva Thorsrud, who’s anxiously asking around if it’s true that players will be getting free drinks at the feature table, and our own Mauritz Altikardes. Commentary will be provided by Deepstack champion JJ Hazan (who’s also on the alternates list) and Jason Glatzer. There’s a 20 minute delay, so click here in about half an hour to watch all the action.
“These aren’t my staff,” the floor told me as I wandered in to see what was going on in the staff tournament, “These are fucking animals.” A player came by the reg desk to rebuy. “How many bullets?” Franke asked him. “Seven,” came the reply. I believe it’s a €10 buy-in with €500 added to the prize pool, but mostly it’s chaos. Good luck everyone!
The Kings Of Tallin supersat is just about to go on break, and it looks like with top-ups they’re going to be awarding two Main Event seats, not just the one guaranteed. Also you can tell that Franke’s still in this – witness the current view from the media desk.
Wow – from (almost) zero to hero! Former EPT poker dealer turned recreational player Martin Mauthner battled his way from a short stack coming into the final table to ending up the last man standing, an unlit cigarette hanging rakishly out of the corner of his mouth all the while. The sling on his raising arm apparently not holding him back any, he bested a field of 621 entries to take the inaugural Festival Series Main Event trophy and the biggest chunk of the €294,975 total prize pool.
A deal was done three-handed when Mauthner was the shortest of the three, meaning that Mauthner walked away with a little less than the official top prize of €59,000 – but we don’t think he’s too upset about that.
Mauthner to us in the bar last night that he was only here because he lives an hour away and his old friend, tournament direct Gerard Serra, had badgered him to come. Regardless, Mauthner looked like he was having the time of his life throughout the tournament, and he’s walked away with by far the biggest tournament win of his career, plus the incalculable honour of being the first ever winner of a Festival Series Main Event.
The final table was originally scheduled for tomorrow, but the 31 players who returned for Day 3 busted so fast at the start of the day, a decision was made to play down to a winner today.
This festival is far from over, though. JJ Hazan is currently in the bar celebrating his win in the Pokerlistings Deepstack event earlier this evening, and elsewhere we understand that one mystery individual won all three of the sportsbetting freeroll, lowroll, and highroll contests – who could it be?! More on that tomorrow.
In light of the unexpectedly early conclusion of the Main Event, several events have been added to tomorrow’s schedule, including a €100 + €10 Shortdeck NLH event, a satellite for a Kings Of Tallinn package, and some sort of “surprise tournament”, which is honestly worrying us a little but Franke seems very excited about it.
We’ll be back tomorrow with a full interview from our glorious champion Martin Mauthner, plus some updates from the various other shenanigans around Banco Casino. Until then – you know where we’ll be. 🍻
The €100 + €10 Pokerlistings Deepstack has been won by JJ Hazan after a deal was done with Dan Olin heads up. Hazan, chip leader for most of the final, was at a 2:1 chip disadvantage when they went heads up. The deal gave €6k to Hazan and €7k to Olin, with €1,400 and the trophy to play for. Despite Hazan, “Not really having any hands,” he doubled up with A8 v JJ, and won the final hand with the mighty 2 7 to take home €7,400. Congratulations sir!
Over in the Deepstack, JJ Hazan is absolutely dominating – with four players left, he’s got well over half the chips in play. The other three still hanging on are Dan Olin, Jason Kiselis and Yannick Schumacher. There’s €8,845 up top for the eventual winner.
The action seems to have slowed somewhat in the Main Event – to be fair, there’s huge difference between the €1,000 min-cash and the €59,000 up top. Elsewhere in the building though, the €100 + €10 Open Face Chinese Pineapple Shootout has attracted 27 runners including Sviten Special runner up Rolf Galaasen, Jone Kyte, and our own Franke von Zweigbergk, despite, or perhaps because of, being an extremely silly game. The €200 + €20 Pokerlistings Deepstack is also underway with 134 entries currently listed on the board. Registration for that is open for another two levels.
By the way, our live stream is up and running, currently showing the Pokerlistings SNG, with players including Mauritz Altikardes and Kresten Hougaard. Commentary by none other than Franke von Zweigbergk. Click here to watch it live.
At this stage in the event, there are quite a few haggard faces in the field – the cash games have been pretty insane, and there have been more than a few epic parties going on long after the tournaments have ended for the day. The best excuse I’ve heard for looking a bit rough this morning though comes from Bobby James, who informs me that he was up until 5am playing high stakes Countdown. Yup. He says he won €450. Your faithful blogger is hoping for a slightly lower stakes rerun of that tonight – I quite fancy my chances in that game.
The €225 + €25 Blackjack Championship was won yesterday by none other than The Festival’s own Andreas Hoglund, which doesn’t look like a fix at all. In his own words:
“The day 2 and the final day 3 of the BJ tournament was merged into one since all players wanted to free up time to play other things tomorrow, seems like the Festival concept is working…
So 8 players first played down to 6 before we had our final table set. There all players again started with 10k chips and a total of 60 hands was to be played before we crowned a winner who would walk home with the check of 1800€ At first it was a pretty tight field playing almost only mimimum bets through the first three 15-hand levels. As the minimum bet continued to rise though, the players got a bit more aggressive and we lost our sixth place finisher around hand 40.
Fifth place finisher went out just after that and the four remaining players battled for the 3 prizes. Among them was Ruben from Acroud and Andreas “Wiseguy” from the Festivals media team who you might have seen doing interviews and clips this week. With six hands left we had a finnish player all in, he stood on 17 but the dealer drew 19 and we were in the money. Tactics and betting order got really important in the end and the players counted each others chips numerous times to find the best way of beating the others. With two hands left Andreas went all in while the two others made min.bets, with Andreas winning that hand he went from third to first with only one hand left… He made a min bet, forcing the other two to go all in to have a chance at victory, and when the dealer pulled 21 for the very last hand it sealed the faith of Ruben and (xxx??) and Wiseguy was the winner of the inaugural The Festival Black Jack Tournament !
The only question now is, who will do the winner interview….??”
We’re taking applications now, if anyone is interested…
Day 1c of the €500 + €50 Main Event is over, with 90 players making it through from a field of 245 entries. They will join the 38 Day 1a survivors and the 54 from Day 1b in Day 2 tomorrow at noon. Registration in this event is far from over though – Day 1d begins shortly (10pm) and will take a turbo format, and if you still fail to finish the day with chips, don’t forget that you can still buy in until the end of Level 12, two levels into play tomorrow.
Today’s Day 1c chip leader is Timothy Härold on 179,000, but Day 1a’s Pavol Melichar is still the overall leader on 223,000. Full chip counts may be found below.
Elsewhere around Banco Casino, the €225 + €25 Blackjack Championship was won by Andreas Hoglund, whom you may recognise as the presenter of our delightful daily recap videos. Live blackjack is rigged! Mauritz is so far insisting that Hoglund isn’t allowed to take the trophy home, but we’re assuming there’ll be some sort of audiovisual celebration of his victory available to us in the morning.
The NLH/PLO Round-of-Each is ongoing downstairs, with 23 players remaining of 79 entries; eight players are also still battling it out for the three guaranteed seats in the last supersat. The Roulette Championship final has also just begun, and will be crowning a champion before the night is out.
We suspect Day 1d, still half an hour away from starting, may run late, but we’ll have full chip counts from all the survivors for you by the time Day 2 begins tomorrow. Until then – see you in the bar!
Meanwhile the €100 + €10 NLH/PLO Half-and-Half is well underway with 54 players currently seated out of 79 entries so far. Players include Jon Kyte, Ylva Thorsrud, JJ Hazan (already on his second bullet), Tiikka Tiensuu (recently ejected from the Main by Franke’s straight flush as per below), and The Festival’s own Mauritz Altikardes.
Absolutely standard – very little was going on around the casino and there was a break in the Main Event so your bloggers though it was safe to go to dinner, only to discover on our return that while we were gone the inaugural Festival Series Blackjack Championship reached what we presume was its thrilling denouement. We’ll have the name (and hopefully a photo) of the glorious winner for you very shortly!
After one hour the blackjack event is still at 8 player. Ruben Gräve eventually showed up and is no longer blinding down. The players will play until 2 players are busted. The remaining players will go through to the final which will run tomorrow.
We’re up to 134 entries in Day 1c now, of whom 125 are currently seated at the felt. Recent arrivals include Pokerlistings’ own Kresten Hougaard and Sviten Special runner up Rolf Galaasen, the latter of whom was definitely among the attendees at last night’s cabare-xtravaganza of which I have only slightly fuzzy recollections.
Away from the Main Event, today’s schedule includes the €100 + €10 PLO/NLH round-of-each at 5pm, as well as Day Day 2 of the Blackjack Championship (already underway) and Day 2 of the Roulette Championship at 7pm – spectators are strongly encouraged for those.
Franke’s currently delivering his daily his daily pep talk to players, encouraging them to download the app so they can be kept abreast of important announcements like crazy cabaret outings, free fizzy wine and so on. We encourage you to do likewise.
Meanwhile the 2nd day of the blackjack event started in the side area. Out of 14 starters 8 are left and today those 8 will play down to the final six. This means they’re playing until two players are busted today.
This elimination might become extra spicy because one of the players – Ruben Gräve – is awol and will be blinded down until he comes to his place.
By the way, we now have prizepool info for the NLH Knockout event. There were 124 entries, generating an €11,103 prizepool, plus the same again in bounties. The top 15 places will pay out in the following amounts:
I just got my exercise for the day hunting for the PLO High Roller event – there’s a clock running for it in the poker room in the casino, but the dealers down there told me it was in the upstairs tournament room I’d just come from, which it wasn’t. However, I have now been informed that in around 15 minutes’ time they will be livestreaming the eight-handed final table, gods willing (we are crossing fingers that yesterday’s technical issues have been resolved). Please stand by…
Meanwhile there’s a smallish overlay in the final supersat to the Main Event – with 72 entries and 79 required to meet the five-seat guarantee, the 29 players still in are getting a bit of extra value this evening.
Elsewhere, the Blackjack Championship final starting flight is already underway, but there’s still time to enter the €225 + €25 Roulette Championship at 9pm, and at 10pm we’ve been promised NLH stand ‘n’ go flips at various buy-in levels, although we’ve yet to receive any more info on where/how that’s happening…
The other side event that launched this evening is the €220 No Limit Texas Hold’em Knockout Event. Half of the prize pool is reserved for knockout bounties and the other half is played out regularly.
After the first four levels 91 players have registered and with the main event in the same room having almost 80 players left there is quite some clacking and shuffling of chips to be heard. This feels like a proper poker event now, something that many players here have not experienced in the past 18 months. It was about time!
While we had a quick dinner break, the €1,100 PLO Highroller event commenced with 8 players. One of those players was the German Julian Herold. He busted within the first 2 levels, re-bought immediately and now the count is up to 9 entries. Among them are Shane Dempsey, Jon Kyte and Viktor Aakerlund.
We’re just 20 minutes away from the start of two more side events – the €100 + €100 + €20 NLH Progessive Knockout, and the €1,000 + €100 PLO High Roller. Late reg is available for the first six 20-minute levels in the Knockout event, and the first four 30-minute levels in the PLO. You know what to do.
We assume everyone knows how poker tournaments are run and we have explanations for Roulette and Blackjack tournaments on our site. But what about a sports betting tournament?
If you have never participated in a sports betting tournament before, we have got you covered with a freeroll starting today. The gist is rather simple. You bet a set amount of chips on the results of a sports event – usually those are football games. But you’re not betting alone, you’re betting alongside many other punters. All players that get the correct results share the chips that were bet on the game. In case no player has the correct result, the players closest to it share the chips.
In our tournaments you bet on several games and your goal is to accumulate most chips.
If you want to get some sports betting tournament experience for free, check out our freeroll which starts today.
The Festival in Bratislava is launching two competitive sports betting events this Saturday here at Banco Casino – with one event at €30 and the other at €250, there’s something to suit every pocket. Even better though – you can bag yourself a ticket to the €30 event online for absolutely free right now!
Don’t worry if you’re not already in Bratislava, rest assured The Festival Series has your back and will give you €30 in credit at one of the many online partners of The Festival Series or at our next live event.
“This time we are testing your knowledge of European football leagues,” said The Festival Series Sportsbook Tournament Director Mark Joa to PokerNews. “We have some big matches in there but we keep in mind that this festival is very multicultural, so we have some interesting matchups from 10 different leagues around the continent.”
Beyond the Main Event, today’s schedule is absolutely packed with diverse events to suits every taste and every pocket.
At 3pm there’s another €30 + €5 supersat to the Main Event, and then at 5pm you have the choice of the €100 + €100 + €20 NLH Knockout or the €1,000 + €100 PLO High Roller event. At 6pm there’s the third and final start day of the €225 + €25 Blackjack Championship, and then at 9pm it’s your last chance to join the €225 + €25 Roulette Championship. If you’re still looking for action after that, at 10pm there’ll be Stand ‘N’ Go Texas Flips, at a variety of buy-in levels – plus don’t forget we’ve got 24/7 cash games going on downstairs in the casino.
Today saw the commencement of the Main Event at the The Festival in Bratislava. Day 1a of the €500 + €50 event attracted 108 entries, with local player Pavol Melichar topping the chip counts at the end of play with 225,000. Other notable players who survived Day 1a include Jon Kyte and JJ Hazan; please find full chip counts below. A total of 38 players made it through Day 1a and will proceed directly to Friday’s Day 2, where they will presumably be joined by many more once tomorrow’s Day 1b and Thursday’s Days 1c and 1d have played out. Day 1b will start tomorrow at the slightly earlier time of noon.
Meanwhile in the side events, the Sviten Special was won by George Sandford for €2,882 after he bested long-time chip leader Rolf Galaasen heads up. Ylva Thorsrud took down the Acroud Charity Tournament, as documented below, and the PLO Masters continues as I type, with 7 players remaining from a total 48 entries. Day 1b of the utterly delightful Blackjack Championship saw Ilmari Sukanen and Elias Hesikanen both progress to Day 2; as regards the Roulette Championship, there are still three players with chips in Day 1b and 30 spins still to go.
Today’s Main Event supersat has smashed the five seat guarantee, just like yesterday – there are currently 107 entries and rising – and we’re fully expecting the fields for Days 1b and 1c/d to dwarf today’s. See you then!
The Acroud Charity Tournament is over and has been decisively won by Norwegian scene stalwart Ylva Thorsrud. The final hand, relegating Kresten Hougaard to second place, looked like so:
Thorsrud: 8 2 Hougaard: 5 5
Board: A-9-2-8-2 making Thorsrud a full house.
Thorsud and Hougaard split the 8k prize money 60 / 40. Her share (€4,800) will go to SOS Children’s Villages and Hougaards share (€3,200) will be donated towards the Shelter for Abandoned Animals in Malta.
I lamented to Thorsud that we were unable to watch her victory owing to a faulty livestream. “That’s so typical,” she exclaimed, “The one time I win! Normally I bust out first. But it means we can drink a lot.”
While we’re waiting for the chip counts, thanks to Lina Olofsson (recently busted from the PLO) for sharing a slice of this extraordinary pizza with your faithful blogger. Those toppings are:
– ham – olives – pineapple – chilli – blue cheese – mozzarella – tomato sauce – egg
I think that’s all of them. Anyway, this combination obviously shouldn’t work, but somehow the many and varied flavours seem to sort of cancel each other out, which the net result that it just tastes kind of like… pizza. 7/10.
As you may have noticed, some gremlins have got into our live stream. We’ll have them exorcised hopefully in time for tomorrow’s Sviten Special final. Meanwhile, the Acroud Charity SNG continues to play out irl downstairs in the casino, where they’re down to three players: Kresten Hougaard, Peter La Terra and Ylva Thorsrud, following the elimination of Bengt Sonnert in fourth place.
While the Main Event ticks towards the final level of the night and we all get ourselves up for the shouty adrenaline-fuelled glory of the Roulette Championship at 9pm, the PLO event currently has 19 players remaining of 48 entries. The biggest stacks in the field right now are these:
The winner of the event can name a charity of his choosing and 8,000 Euros will be donated to the charity. One of the players, Bengt Sonert from the Gambling Cabin, vouched to donate to charity regardless of his result in this event!
Our Charity Event will start with a slight delay. We will be live with the €8k event at around 7:30 pm. The aim of this event is to entertain and raise money for a charity of the winner’s choosing. You can follow the event no our live stream page or on Twitch.
Meanwhile, located conveniently close to the media desk, the €200 + €20 PLO Masters is now underway. From here I can already see Sviten Special runner up Rolf Galaasen and seventh place finisher Matteo Crapanzano among the 18 players currently seated. There have been 19 entries in total so far – we understand that Rolf Galaasen has been putting his Sviten Special winnings to good use and has already busted out and fired a second bullet at this.
Rolf Galaasen had held a massive chip lead since there were 13 players left, but he held a substantial chip disadvantage against George Sandford by the time I wandered down to the casino to watch the heads up (reigning Swedish Sviten champion Hanna Arnesson having succumbed in third place just before I arrived).
Galaasen, a glass of red wine on the side table to his left, raised to 50k from the button, the blinds at 10k/20k. Sandford (two beers and a whiskey on his side table – good man) called, and they saw a 4 Q 10 flop. I’m not sure who did the shoving and who the calling, but the chips were soon in the middle. Both players drew two cards, and the turn and river were dealt: 7 and 4 , respectively.
Galaasen: K J 9 3 2 for king-high on the draw hand, and a straight draw that never came in on the Omaha side Sandford: 9 J K Q 7 for king-high, better kicker on the draw, and two pair, queens and sevens for the Omaha hand
And with that, it’s all over! We assume a trophy will be awarded shortly…
The last hand before the first break of the day saw Tobias Hausen in an unfortunate 3 way all-in with Rolf Galaasen and Hanna Arnesson. While Rolf had a flush on the hand and took down the draw side of the pot, Hanna had two pair in the omaha hand to win the other side pot. Tobias who held unimproved Jacks was left with no chips after this hand and left with €550 prize money – at least he made twice the buy-in.
There’s been an elimination in the Sviten Special – Matteo Crapanzana has succumbed in sixth place, which was meant to be the bubble but following an agreement between the players, the payouts have been revised thus:
By the by, today’s not just about the Main Event – we have a veritable cornucopia of side events to keep you occupied once you’ve gone through your two Day 1a rebuys.
First up is the €200 + €20 PLO Masters at 5pm, swiftly followed by Day 1b of the intensely amusing and somewhat experimental €225 + €25 Blackjack Championship. At 7pm the Acroud Charity Tournament kicks off – sadly that one’s invite only, but we’ll be livestreaming all the action for your entertainment right here on The Festival site via Twitch. And at 9pm, you have the choice of either the €30 + €5 supersat to the Main Event, or – and this is my personal favourite – Day 1b of the high-volume, adrenaline-fuelled shouting match that is the glorious €225 + €25 Roulette Championship. Take your pick!
Drawmaha is a split pot game. And the pot is split almost every hand. This makes it difficult for players to bust and the 6 Sviten Specialists that are still battling out the (soft) bubble cannot find a bust despite being having been all-in repeatedly in the past minutes.
One of the larger confrontations this level saw three players all-in. The flop showed A Q 3 :
Tobias Hausen drew 2 cards and showed K-K-K-9-5
Jens Riis was at risk and showed A-A-T-T-K. He had a flush draw on the board along with his two pair and stood pat.
Hanna Arnesson took three cards and showed 9-6-6-4-4
The board ran out 6 10 and the pot was split between Hausen who won the draw hand and Riis who won the omaha hand.
On the 2nd day of the Sviten Special Side event 7 players returned, but only 5 of them should make the money. Rolf Galaasen started the with a massive chip lead and extended his lead even further while Peter La Terra busted quickly. With only 6 players remaining a soft deal was struck quickly. Without touching the 1st place money, the players agreed to award the next player to bust 150 Euros.
Meanwhile downstairs in the Sviten Special, Peter La Terra has just busted in seventh, and although officially it only pays five places, it sounds as though we’re now facing a soft bubble as some sort of deal has been done between the remaining six players – more info on that soon…
Day 1 of the inaugural Festival in Bratislava in collaboration with Banco Casino went off with a bang today, with three novel and hilariously entertaining events.
The opening event, the €200 + €20 Sviten Special, drew 37 entries, generating a €7,030 prize pool, with five places paying out. Already down to our seven-handed final table, this is now a two-day event rather than the advertised three days. The final looks like this:
Seat 1: Tobias Hausen – 116k Seat 2: Rolf Galaasen – 380k Seat 3: Matteo Crapanzana – 62k Seat 4: George Sandford – 147k Seat 5: Jens Riis – 48k Seat 6: Peter La Terra – 242k Seat 7: Hanna Arnesson – 106k
Meanwhile the €225 + €25 Blackjack Championship attracted eight runners for Day 1a, at least one of whom admitted to never having played blackjack before. Of those eight, four players progress to Day 2:
Carlos Pezzia Matias Alanko Andreas Hoglund Fernando Carrillo
The €225 + €25 Roulette Championship also experienced the first of its three starting flights today – five players entered, but eight entries were registered, as Carlos Pezzia went through an impressive three rebuys on top of his initial entry before finally qualifying for Day 2, along with Matias Alanko. The absolute maximum of adrenaline-fuelled shouting at the wheel on every spin made it by far the most entertaining event so far from a spectator’s point of view, and we are all looking forward to more of that in the days to come. There are two more starting flights planned for both the blackjack and the roulette events, at 6pm and 9pm respectively, tomorrow and Wednesday.
While the numbers for the side events were on the modest side (it is Monday, to be fair), the Main Event supersat drew 123 entries, smashing the five seat guarantee – we suspect a sign of things to come when The Festival really gets into the swing of things tomorrow. Day 1a of the €500 + €50 Main Event begins at 1pm tomorrow – the first of four start days – and we’re expecting some serious numbers over the course of the week. Can’t wait. Until then – to the bar!
After almost an hour of chopped pots, we’re down to seven players in the Sviten Special. Rolf Galaasen, already massive chip leader, knocked out Markus Pitkanen with a flopped Omaha full house and two pair in his draw hand, and is now in possession of more than a third of the chips in play.
When play resumes tomorrow at 1pm (this time downstairs in the casino), the seating and stacks will look like so:
Seat 1: Tobias Hausen – 116k Seat 2: Rolf Galaasen – 380k Seat 3: Matteo Crapanzana – 62k Seat 4: George Sandford – 147k Seat 5: Jens Riis – 48k Seat 6: Peter La Terra – 242k Seat 7: Hanna Arnesson (who incidentally won the Swedish Sviten Special Championship in Tallinn last month) – 106k
Five place pay out, and this is what they’ll be playing for:
A quick update from the Sviten Special – they’re down to eight players now and have gone on a quick break before they play down to seven. Chip leader Rolf Galaasen just now dropped by the media desk, red wine in hand, to tell me a fun story – already the chip leader with 13 players left, he then proceeded to knock out the second chip leader, his buddy Jon Kyte, and has been sitting on 320k ever since. At this stage we’re quite comfortable declaring that Galaasen will be the chip leader heading into tomorrow’s final table.
Wow, that went faster than expected. The chaos that was Day 1a of the Roulette Championship is over, according to participant Franke, after four players went all in on spin #21. There were only five players, but shout out to Carlos Pezzia who went through three buy-ins before finally qualifying for Day 2 on his fourth bullet. He will be joined on Day 2 by Matias Alanko.
We’re reeeeally looking forward to Days 1b and 1c of this ridiculous, high-speed, high-volume event – try your luck for just €250 at 9pm tomorrow and again on Wednesday.
Well, all that talk of an overlay was for naught, as there are now 120 entries in the Main Event supersat, which is now paying out seven seats. Forty-four players are currently still in the running.
Over in the Sviten Special, we’re down to 12 players on two tables. Chip leader is Norway’s Rolf Galaasen, on around 160k. “You should mention I just sucked him out for a two-outer,” piped up tablemate Jens Riis, currently hanging on by the skin of his proverbial teeth – just 37k, with the blinds going up to 2k/4k. There followed some good-natured Scandi-v-Scandi banter, including an unlikely story about the Norwegian government offering half its oil in exchange for shares in Volvo from chip leader Galaasen. We’ll be playing down to a final table of seven players tonight, with five places paying out tomorrow.
The Roulette Championship is now underway, with five players currently huddled around the table, assortedly shouting, “Six!! Fifteen!! Eleven!! Ohhh motherf**cker!!” etc at the wheel. Someone is playing some gangster rap on their tinny phone speaker for atmosphere. They’re only three spins in and there’s already been a rebuy. Everyone is having LOADS of fun.
As with the blackjack event, the event has three starting flights (Days 1b and 1c are running tomorrow and Wednesday, respectively), and has a shootout format. Re-entries are allowed for the first round (30 spins), and there’s a dealer button moving around the table for the purpose of assisting in balancing tables (this will come in handy on Days 1b and 1c when we suspect there’ll be several tables’ worth of players).
Returning to the casino following a delightful dinner of traditional Slovak potato dumplings stuffed with smoked meats around the corner, I can now report that four players have progressed to Day 2 in the Blackjack Championship; they are:
Carlos Pezzia Matias Alanko Andreas Hoglund Fernando Carrillo
If you fancy trying your luck at what honestly looked like hilarious good fun, registration is open for tomorrow’s Blackjack Day 1b and Wednesday’s Day 1c.
Meanwhile, Day 1a of the €225 + €25 Roulette Championship is just getting underway!
Meanwhile downstairs in the casino, the numbers in the Main Event supersat have swelled to 55 entries – at this rate, there might not be an overlay after all. Players trying their luck at a cheap ticket into the Main include (unsurprisingly) an awful lot of local players, plus 2019 Irish Open Seniors champion JJ Hazan.
Meanwhile downstairs in the casino, there’s a serious whiff of overlay in the Main Event supersat – there are five €550 seats guaranteed, and there are currently only 12 players registered with 15 minutes left before play starts. Well worth the €35 entry fee if you’re at a loose end right now…
Over in one of the smaller conference rooms, the €225 + €25 Blackjack Championship has begun. I entered to find Franke delivering a pep talk to the eight runners registered so far.
“We have no idea what we’re creating,” he told them, “So we’re trying to work out what we’re doing, with you as the test, er, rabbits.”
“So do you know what we’re doing?” a player asked.
“No,” said Franke decisively.
“Thank you for being rabbits,” fellow organiser Mauritz Altikardes chimed in, “And also paying for it.”
The players are now seated at two tables, many of them resplendent in their The Festival baseball caps, and they all seem to be having a lot of fun – even the one player who confessed to me she’d never played blackjack before and had no idea what the rules are. The main difference between this tournament and regular casino blackjack seems to be the introduction of a dealer button, to eradicate the advantage a player seated in the last dealing position would otherwise enjoy when playing against other players rather than just the dealer. There have also been a couple of tweaks to the published rules – most notably they’ve binned the three additional hands that were supposed to be played after each three rounds, and the top two players from each table (or 50%, with a maximum of two) will go through to the next round rather than just the top player from each table.
Martin Trang has just become the second player to bust the Sviten Special. “Out!” he called over to the media desk on his way out of the door, “One hand!” No more details than that, I’m afraid. We’re certain we’ll be seeing more of Trang in tonight’s Roulette Championship though…
It turns out that, in addition to the scheduled events, there was a bit of a pool championship earlier today – which was ultimately won by Bobby James and Peter La Terra. Congratulations, boys! Both of our pool champions have now dived straight into the Sviten Special – which now boasts a total of 26 runners, and is currently playing Level 3, blinds 200/400.
Incidentally, James and La Terra beat Franke von Zweigbergk and Daniel Pilgrim in the second round of the pool. Pilgrim jumped right into the Sviten as well – and has just become the first player to bust.
We’re up to 20 runners in the Sviten Special now, including a classic late-ish entry from The Festival head honcho Franke von Zweigbergk. He’s currently seated to the immediate right of Kresten Hougaard, who looks like he might be developing a migraine already.
Elsewhere in the tournament area, beers have begun to materialise on side tables – indeed, this doesn’t really seem like a game that’s best played sober, and we fully expect the entertainment value to increase in line with the participants’ blood alcohol levels.
The field is comprised of just 16 at the moment, but the €200 + €20 Sviten Special event is now underway. For those unfamiliar with the game, aka Drawmaha, it’s a cross between five-card draw and PLO, where the pot is split between the best Omaha hand and the best five-card hand. Good to know the dealers are being kept on their toes.
Here’s an in-depth rundown of the rules of this aggressive, and often hilarious game:
After months of planning and preparation, we are mere minutes away from kickoff at The Festival’s inaugural event in the beautiful city of Bratislava! Dealers, staff and media are buzzing around the floor of Banco Casino and the Crowne Plaza hotel’s conference rooms just upstairs, putting the finishing touches to the various tournament areas before an as yet unknown number of players arrive for a full week of poker, parties, and more.
The €300,000 guaranteed Main Event doesn’t start until tomorrow, but today’s schedule is packed with novelty and the non-traditional. At 4pm we’ll be witnessing the start of the three-day €200 + €20 Sviten Special event – a particular favourite of The Festival mastermind Franke von Zweigbergk. Then at 6pm, Day 1a of the €225 + €25 Blackjack Championship commences; and should you still be hungry for some gaming action after that, Day 1a of the €225 + €25 Roulette Championship commences at 9pm.