Let us start from the beginning:
From more than 30 countries came pokerplayers, only with one aim: The title gain of the European champion. No title is as desired in Europe as this and one could think, that this EM title is the most ambitious goal of their personal poker career, if one listen to the voices of Englishmen, Swiss, Dutchmen, Frenchmen and others, who travel partly in all countries also to America, in order to participate at the WSOP.
It was unfortunate, but understandable, that one missed also on this great event many American friends, who did not want to come, because of the terror impact in America. Also Phil Hellmuth jun., the European champion 2000, did not come unfortunately. However they missed very much! The receipt in the Casino Baden by the casino director Stefan Hartl and the tournament manager George Zadro, who could welcome 385 international poker participants from 30 nations, was already a successful prelude.
Delicous meals were brought to the guest by the company DO & CO under the line of the managing director Mr. Barth. The service, which was offered here and which all players enjoyed very much, was worth each amount. DO&Co showed their good organisation by bringing all quick and kept calm and friendly even if the atmosphere was stressy and showed creativity by giving a „stessball“ to every poker guest. By their different buffets and selection of many culinary benefits they were the real soul of the Poker Event. We can only congratulate Mr. Gerald Barth with its entire service team for doing an excellent job.
The tendency of the poker player was outstanding and extraordinarily friendly. This struck itself also on the entire tournament process of 4. -6, Septembers down. All fought up to the bitter end of leaving the tournament table. Radiating faces of the final users had created themselves by placing them at the tables of the Super-finals, friendly words for the losers. Even the Dealers, who had a good teamwork, felt with the winners and losers and finally one had nevertheless the feeling to be in a strong and friendly community. Endless discussions in the courses, during the common Snack or beverage, filled the rooms with life. „Bad Beats stories“ made the round and everyone could tell the other one his own and sad history of the lost play . Also on the Cash Game, which was offered 24 hours a day by the Casino crew, was played plentifully and the tendencies of the tournament were also felt and heard here.
All possibilities of playing poker were offered and used by the players, each limit, wether high or low, was possible.
A television team of the ZDF, as well as international press pursued the entire operational sequence of the Poker EM.
Everybody fought every day for a desired place on the tables of the Super-finals, which 24 per day could achieve.
Then the hour of the truth came! The superfinal of the last 72 users began. In an final area, but for the spectators from all places observably, the Poker-giants hat their last large play, the had only one target: The title – the Trophaee, which signals the whole world“ „here is the new European Champion, found out of the best“.
At nine tables this last „showdown“ began, they played in the „freeze out“ system. Now the cards were defended and some players rolled the „stress ball“, looked on its Poker clock, given by the Casinos Austria for all Pokerplayers, and fought against time, level and compeditors.
The series got thinner. Some disappointed and characterized face rose from the tables to get its prize. Some winner smile with the photos was tormented, but many faces also joyful that they had come so far.
The two last desks with the final user were surrounded. A heading towered above the other one, one was on chairs in order to be able to see only one card on the tables.
And there they were, the last nine users of the Poker Event. Three women and four men had achieved the superfinal. The sensation was perfect. Nobody counted on the fact that three femal poker player drew into the superfinal. ISA-CASINOS spoke with Ursula Steinhofer (7. place, 374,513, – ATS / 27,216,- EUR), who meant excited that she would have only „stomach ache“ and she couldn’t believe it. Manuela Selinger , who got proud third, was rather calm and it was clear that she was used to participate on final tables. She sat at many final tables in Vienna and had some pretty good successes. Also Johanna Poennioe (5. place, 548,705, – ATS / 39,876,- EUR) was already at the many Finaltables successfully and now faced the “ woman power “ four male poker player. Many internal bets were made around beverages and delivered also tips that there could be the first female European Champion. Packing scenes and attractive poker game accompanied the final, which was finally won by Manfred Willi (Austria), the new European champion 2001 got a prize money of 1.741.920,- ATS (126,950,- EUR), followed by the vice-master Peter Hajszan (Austria) , who got also a prize money of 1.306.440,- (94.943,- EUR). Congratulation however for the excellent third place of Manuela Selinger. To her proud success a prize money of 958.056,- ATS (69.625,- EUR) as victory premium will rise her bank balance.
The poker game was transferred live in the Internet and commentated live by NIC Sceremeta . Altogether a prize money of 8.7029.600,- ATS (632.951,32 EUR) could be won. The Casino Baden, Vienna can look with pride into the future and can be sure that it has made one of the best Poker Events. Mr. Melchert, who coordinated and led the great Pokerevent, as the entire team, can be expressed only one praise for this master performance with its partner DO & CO managed by Mr.Barth.
The ISA-CASINOS thanks in the name of all the poker player and looks forward to seeing all again, when the motto is once more:
„A new European Master 2002 is searched in the Casino Baden at the largest Stud tournament in Europe.
Photo: From left to the right, tournament manager George Zadro, Poker European champion 2001 Manfred Willi, the official safety guard with prize, Casinodirektor Stefan Hartl.