Peter Gelencser, a trainee journalist from Budapest, Hungary, scooped €165,520 and first place at the PartyPoker European Challenge II at the Concord Card Casino in Vienna.
Gelencser, 20, reached the final table in the same event last year and with a big chip lead was the favourite to win but ended up finishing third behind eventual winner Branimir Brunovic of Croatia and top German pro Andreas Krause.
Sigfried Rath, Peter Gelencser and Josef Klinger
This year he was not such a dominant force at the final table from the start – but quite quickly looked like the eventual winner.
“I’m very happy,” said Peter. “I was disappointed not to win last year but to win this time feels fantastic. I was in a strong position going into the final table but couldn’t help but think it would go the same way as last year. Thankfully, it didn’t – I had such fantastic support from the rail and am glad I didn’t let anybody down.”
There must be something about Vienna for Gelencser as his only success between his 2007 third place and victory in 2008 was a win in a €500 event in the same city. “Vienna is a good place for me,” he added. “Poker isn’t that big in Hungary yet but we have some excellent players coming through.
A PartyPoker spokesman said: “Peter looked like the obvious winner in 2007 so we are happy he finally converted a dominant stack into a title in 2008. There’s little doubt that he is one to watch and we expect him to be even more successful in years to come.”
Peter beat local pro Josef Klinger heads-up, and went into the one-on-one with an overwhelming chip lead. Gelencser had in the region of 2.4 million while Klinger had 200,000. Klinger, however, was another who has form at the Concord after winning the title in 1999 and 2003 – and he embarked upon a remarkable comeback.
He kept doubling up and amazingly got himself almost even in chips before the Hungarian struck the hammer blow. Klinger’s A-J offsuit lwas on top all-in against Gelencser’s 9-9 after J-10-8 on the flop. The turn brought an ace, but the river card was a seven, giving Peter the straight and the title.
First out on the final table of ten was German online qualifier Benjamin Mirsaidi, who went into the showpiece horrendously short-stacked but can be impressed with his performance as he made the final table of the East versus West Team Cup as well. The actual winner of the team event, Bjoern Kaersten from Potsdam also ran deep in the main event and was unlucky to finish on the bubble for the final table in 11th.
Out in 9th was German Philip Roch while the biggest name on the table, Dave “The Devilfish” Ulliott, followed in eighth. The Devilfish moved all-in with 6-6 on the small blind but was called by chip leader Alex Leviev in the big blind, who hit two pair. Next out in 7th was Hungarian Tamas Gombkoto.
Austrian Bernd Stadlbauer was next to go to the rail after his A-K was busted by Gelencser’s K-K. Out in fifth was fellow Austrian Stefan Rapp after Leviev hit a set of jacks leaving his 3-4 spades powerless. Next out was Leviev himself in what was a decisive pot for Gelenscer. Leviev was all in with Q-10 offsuit and Gelencser wasn’t looking in great shape with Q-9 off suit. However, the Hungarian flopped two pair and Leviev was on his way out in fourth.
Out in third position was the well respected Sigfried Rath from Graz. All in with A-K against Gelencser’s 9-9, nothing came on the board to send the Hungarian into the heads-up with a huge lead.
Peter Gelencser at the final table
The €3000 + €150 buy-in main event, the PartyPoker European Challenge II was the highlight of the 14th annual Austrian Spring Poker Festival. Amongst those who took part included Sigi Stockinger, Andreas Krause, Michael Keiner, Marcel Luske, Roland De Wolfe, Ciaran O’Leary, Katharine Hartree, Alexander Kravchenko, Ian Frazer, Rino Mathis and Christoph Haller.
PartyPoker online qualifiers made their way to Vienna with a $7,500 package that included 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 got the €1,000 freeroll in the form of the PartyPoker East versus West Team Cup.
PARTYPOKER EUROPEAN CHALLENGE II – Concord Card Casino, Vienna 11th – 14th March 2008
1st Peter Gelencser (Hungary) €165,520
2nd Josef Klinger (Austria) €85,000
3rd Siegfried Rath (Austria) €50,000
4th Alex Leviev (Austria) €37,000
5th Stefan Rapp (Austria) €30,000
6th Bernd Stadlbauer (Austria) €25,000
7th Tamas Gombkoto (Hungary) €20,000
8th Dave Ulliott (UK) €15,000
9th Philipp Roch (Germany) €10,000
10th Benjamin Mirsaidi (Germany) €8,000
Total prize pool €516,000, 172 runners.