After four tough days and 540 opponents, Nottingham, England player Will Fry (28) won the inaugural PokerStars EPT Hungary trophy over the weekend, taking home a cheque for Euros 595 839 as a well deserved reward. In fact the final table of the well supported tourney went quickly compared with the 4 days that it took for the finalists to take their places - it was all over in five hours!
Although PokerStars had originally planned a maximum of 500 players, the significant demand for seats - as was the case earlier this year in the EPT London - made it necessary for the organiser to relent and expand the field, making the Budapest contest the largest poker tournament
ever held in Hungary.
And what a field it was. International big names registered included WSOP bracelet winners and champions from several respected tournaments around the world. Max Pescatori, Alan Smurfit, Dario Minieri and Davidi Kitai were keen to get started in historic Budapest. EPT champions Vicky Coren, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier (fresh from his WPT Festo del Lago triumph), Julian Thew and Michael Martin also joined the field.
Katja Thater, Thomas Bihl and Annette Obrestad were there as well, along with Luca Pagano, Marcel Luske, Arnaud Mattern and Javier Etayo. Local players were well represented, too with cash-game specialist Attila Foris, LAPT Costa Rica champ Valdemar Kwaysser and Hungarian reality TV star Peter "Majka" Majoros attracting attention, although by the end of Day 3 Zoltan Toth was the only Hungarian still in contention.
The final table was decided on Day 3 after a tense nine handed session that lasted for 90 minutes and only ended when Ivo Donev was eliminated by Ciprian Hrisca and headed for the exit and a Euro 32 984 ninth spot payday.
The final table that assembed on Saturday was headed by Hungary's Zoltan Toth on 1 059 000 chips, closely pursued by Roumanian player Hrisca on 1 038 000 and Denmark's Albert Iversen on 1 017 000. One of the Favourites to win, Norwegian Johnny Lodden was about the middle of the pack on 500 000, hot on the heels of the UK player Will Fry on 572 000, with Gino Alacqua of Italy on 466 000 ahead of countryman Marino Serenelli (357 000) and low stack Martin Jacobsen from Sweden.
Lodden's early elimination by Jacobsen took many by surprise and crippled Toth who was involved in the encounter, and could not survive the next clash which saw him headed for the rail. Italian player Alacqua collected the first of the six figure paychecks when he was busted out by Hrisca in a huge pot that gave the Roumanian the chip lead, and had to be content with a sixth place finish of Euros 100 016.
Serenelli was the next to go in a clash with the aggressive UK player Fry that sent him home in fifth spot with Euros 127 680, and he was followed by only minutes later by Iversen, again a Fry victim who pocketed Eurs 153 216 for his fourth positioning.
Three handed play saw Jacobson taken down in third place for a Euros 197 904 after mixing it up with Ciprian Hrisca, setting the scene for a Hrisca-Fry heads up with the Roumanian ahead in chips by 2 to 1. The heads up was an exciting affair between two aggressive players determined to take the main prize, and lasted just over 30 minutes.
In the final hand preflop raises and reraises kept the railbirds entertained until the last play, with all the chips in the middle and big money to be won. Fry showed pocket jacks and Hrisca flipped over A-6. The flop of Td-Qs-6s gave Hrisca some hope but the blanks on turn and river swung it towards Fry. Fry's bigger two pair was enough to send Hrisca home in second place with Euros 342 608, leaving the Englishman with the trophy and a cheque for Euros 595 839 for his first big tournament win.
Fry, a former casino croupier who plays mainly in online cash games, told interviewers that his plans included paying off a mortgage, helping friends and making a donation to a Third World charity