There were moments in the EPT Vienna Main Event during which it was easy to bemoan the absence of an all-star player in the latter stages, certainly at the final table. But the truth is that an EPT final table takes talent to reach, regardless of whether people know your name.
Khoroshenin triumphed in a marathon final session, beating Anthony Ghamrawi heads-up after nearly 13 hours of play, one that had at one point promised to last even longer. His prize, €578.392. These epic finales are becoming common this year, so too the exciting new players who win them. Khoroshenin now elevates himself to the ranks of EPT champions, nearly 100 in number but still an exclusive group. He also becomes the first Ukrainian winner of an EPT event, beating Team PokerStars Pro Eugene Katchalov to that feat.
As expected, nobody was in any rush to get rail-bound when play began at noon. The average stack was 85 big blinds, ten more than the 75 which each player had at the PCA final table, which lasted nearly 18 hours. Rumen Nanev (€77,000) went first, after a few hours of play. Then Frei Dilling (€108,100) in what was a surprise to the crowds who had gathered to watch the finale. Simeon Naydenov (€151,000) would depart in sixth place. The Bulgarian, who only narrowly missed out on moving up into second on the all-time money list for Bulgaria, cut an confident, imposing figure all week, a player of obvious talent of whom we have by no means seen the last.
Timo Pfutzenreuter arrived this morning second in chips. But his was the most frustrating of days, spent watching his once big stack whittled away to nothing. He departed in fifth place (€203,900), premature perhaps, but a great performance nonetheless. The hope of Spain rested on the shoulders of Pablo Gordillo, who at times looked like that hope weighed heavily on his shoulders. Spain has yet to record a first EPT winner, and the wait will continue for at least another event. Gordillo, who recorded his best result this week, could not quite go all the way, settling instead for fourth place (€262,150).
With three left they cut a deal, and for those of a sympathetic nature rest assured that chip leader at the time, Marko Neumann, got the larger share. But that’s when the wheels fell off his title campaign. Neumann would soon crash out in third place (€638,127), torn apart by Khoroshenin.
While Neumann flopped two pairs Khoroshenin flopped a set of eights. By the turn both players had made a full house, but Khoroshenin was always ahead. Neumann walked into it and nobody could blame him. It was a similar story with a second cooler moments later when Neumann flopped two pairs, while Khoroshenin flopped the straight. It armed Khoroshenin with the chips he needed to win. It left the two junior partners in this deal contest a heads-up battle for the title, a SLYDE watch, and the €50,000 left in the middle.
Khoroshenin seemed to be carrying on where he’d left off nearly a week ago, always looking disgruntled, but always in contention, and now with a tonne of chips – an advantage of 20.72 million to Ghamrawi’s 6.5 million. Sitting opposite was Ghamrawi, whose open-shirt ease was in stark contrast to the Ukrainian who at times looked like someone had really annoyed him on the first day and he had yet to forgive them.
Ghamrawi, who’d by now had won the Skrill last longer, set about the monumental task of clawing chips back, but monumental could never really sum up how big a task it was. The difference proved too much, and he would be resigned to the runner-up spot (€446,481).
Khoroshenin quickly wrapped things up, earning a first EPT title for Ukraine. With the chips in on the flop Khoroshenin drew to a spade flush, hitting it on the turn, while Ghamrawi’s pair of sevens failed to improve. It was much to the delight of the dedicated band of people who had stuck it out to the end to witness the crowning of a new champion.
It was a day of waiting, with the traditional long periods of inactivity interrupted by moments of sheer excitement. In between we looked at the one hour difference, and then set about infiltrating the Bulgarians.
EPT10 Vienna Main Event
Date: March 2014
Game: NLHE Main Event
Players: 910 entries
Prize pool: €4,413,500
1 – Oleksii Khoroshenin, Ukraine, €578,392*
2 – Anthony Ghamrawi, Austria, €446,481*
3 – Marko Neumann, Germany, €638,127*
4 – Pablo Gordillo, Spain, €262,150
5 – Timo Pfuzenreuter, Germany, €203,900
6 – Simeon Naydenov, Bulgaria, €151,000
7 – Frei Dilling, Germany, €108,100
8 – Rumen Nanev, Bulgaria, €77,000
*after a deal between the first three.