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The countdown is on to the PartyPoker European Challenge II, which starts next Tuesday at the Concord Card Casino in Vienna during the Spring Poker Festival. First, though, there’s the matter of Monday’s PartyPoker East versus West Team Cup II. Coverage of both events will be first broadcast on ITV4 in the UK and then distributed internationally.

The PartyPoker East versus West Team Cup II kicks-off with 30 representatives of Eastern Europe taking on 30 from Western Europe in a €60,000 freeroll. The 30 players are made up of online qualifiers and well-known pros.

Leading the field for the west is Dave “The Devilfish” Ulliott, recent Premier League Poker runner-up Roland de Wolfe, Irish bracelet holder Ciaran O’Leary and Ian Frazer. The east features the prowess of Tony G, top Russian Alexander Kravchenko and last year’s European Challenge winner Branimir Brunovic.

The €60,000 prize pool for the East versus West Team Cup is an additional bonus for online qualifiers for the European Challenge II. The final table of 10 will share €37,500, while the winning team will get €22,500 split between them, so even if a player goes out first hand they could profit from successful team mates.


Tony G and Team Cup winner Thomas Jensen

Thomas Jensen, a 31-year-old online qualifier from Denmark, was the star of the show last year as Team West grabbed glory. The butcher for a major supermarket from Odense diced his final table opponents to bag first prize. Bookmaker rate Team West favourites to retain the Cup at 4/5 with Team East at evens.

The €3,000 + €150 buy-in main event, the PartyPoker European Challenge II, starts on Tuesday 11th and is the highlight of the 14th annual Austrian Spring Poker Festival.

Amongst those who will play include the stars of the East versus West Team Cup, Sigi Stockinger, Andreas Krause, Erich Kollmann, Michael Keiner, Eddy Scharf, Nik Jedlicka, Harry Casagrande, Markus Golser, Philip Marmorstein, Sebastian Ruthenberg, Florian Langmann, Ivo Donev, Christian Toboc and Katharine Hartree.


Feeling chipper: Branimir Brunovic

In 2007, Branimir Brunovic, a trainee lawyer and online qualifier from Croatia, took the European Challenge title and won €190,160 after a tense heads-up battle with top European pro Andreas Krause. In 2006, local star player Sigi Stockinger, who has a fantastic record at the event, took home first prize.

A PartyPoker spokesman said: “Vienna is a great place for poker and there will be no shortage of side action. We’re expecting a good turnout for the European Challenge. The East versus West Team Cup is likely to be a tightly fought and noisy affair with Devilfish and Tony G reacquainting themselves with each other over the felt.”

PartyPoker online qualifiers who are making their way to Vienna won a great value $7,500 package that includes a $4,700 buy-in to the main event, six night’s accommodation, transfers to the casino, a special welcome event and $1,100 spending money. In addition, all European-based qualifiers get the €1,000 freeroll in the form of the PartyPoker East versus West Team Cup.

4/5            TEAM WEST


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