Relative newcomer Zoltan Gal overcomes a massive field en route to winning the Eureka Vienna Main Event and over €208,000.
On Friday, the PokerStars sponsored Eureka Vienna Main Event made headlines when it drew a staggering 1,432 runners, 975 of which registered on Day 1b. Breaking the previous benchmark for a Eureka Main Event by over 100 runners, the 2014 iteration of the Vienna Main created a nearly €1.4 million prize pool, over €244k of which would be reserved for the winner.
That winner would end up being none other than Hungary’s own hometown hero Zoltan Gal. Maneuvering through a field that included the likes of former EPT champs Steve O’Dwyer and David Vamplew, along with notable PokerStars Pros Bertrand Grospelier and Mickey Petersen, Zoltan’s journey towards glory would be riddled with tense moments and jaw-dropping suspense.
The Final Table
The festivities would begin with a cooler of epic proportions. Robert Malinowski of Poland, holding K♦10♣, called a three-bet out of position against Markus Stoger. The two saw a flop of J♥A♦Q♠, giving Malinowski the stone cold nuts. All the money got in before the turn was dealt. Stoger revealed J♣J♠ for bottom set. Needing the board to pair, the turn 10♦ provided no help. But the river Q♥ bailed Stoger out of poker purgatory, in the process sending Malinowski to the rail in eighth place.
But it wouldn’t be long before the former chip leader would also meet his demise. Shortly after Erik Scheidt and Kalfas fell in seventh and sixth respectively, Stoger would shove all in against the lone US representative at the table, online professional Bryan Paris. Stoger meekly revealed Q♥9♣, while Paris flipped over A♣K♥. Despite spiking a pair on the flop, Stoger was drawing dead completely dead by the turn. And it would be Paris that would be the beneficiary of a more than 4 million chip pot.
Paris would meet his end shortly after, followed in third place by Blazej Przygorewski. All the while, Gal hung back, slowly amassing a massive chip lead despite not playing a wealth of big hands. By the time he was heads-up with eventual runner-up Andreas Freund, Gal held 75 percent of the chips in play.
Gal Defeats Freund Heads-Up for Title, But Not Without a Fight
It would only take a few hands for Freund to begin closing the gap on Gal. Apparently fearful of losing his grasp on the chip lead, Gal opened discussions with Freund regarding a chip chop. The two eventually agreed to the terms, leaving €10,000, and of course the prestigious champion’s trophy, on the table.
Just as the tournament would begin with a cooler, it would conclude with one. Gal, holding 10♥10♦ would raise to 750,000. Freund three-bet to nearly two million, prompting Gal to four-bet shove. Freund called it off with the 8♦8♥ only to find himself in dire straits. The board would run out 6♣7♠7♦K♥6♥ granting Gal the title.
The 27 year-old Gal has already amassed a notable list of tournament cashes, but his victory at Vienna was his first six-digit score. For Freund, it was only the fourth cash of his career, and at €174,655 by far the most lucrative.
The next stop on the fourth season of the Eureka Poker Tour will be at King’s Casino in Rozvadov. If Vienna was any indicator, poker players should expect another massive, potentially record-breaking Main Event turn out.