Delighted by the success of the first New Europe Poker Open staged in May, 2007, Hungarian TV stations RTL Klub and SportKlub organized the second series, NEPO II, in KecskemÃ©t, between the 4-7th of December, 2007.
The first event, the New Europe Poker Open Freeroll - as you would guess - was held in a freeroll tournament format, with 3,000 entrants, and almost 300,000 viewers when it aired on TV. This time, the organisers wanted to do something completely different, as they see lots of opportunities in organising poker tournaments to be aired on TV. In Hungary, they are the ones putting a lot of effort into this, concentrating mostly on newer players.
This tournament was held with only 36 entrants, but with a buy-in of â‚¬2,900, and that proved to be a guarantee for a very tough field, and even more gripping gameplay compared to the NEPO Freroll.
Everyone from the NEPO I had a chance to enter the competition, as well as every poker player in Hungary with notable results. Besides that, satellite competitions were held, so everyone could take a shot to be part of the lucky 36.
Thanks to all this, the biggest names from the Hungarian poker field all showed up in december, like NEPO I winner RichÃ¡rd TÃ³th, MÃ¡rk PintÃ©r, winner of the second Budapest Poker Open, DÃ©nes KalÃ³ who was runner-up in the EPT Baden tournament last year, GyÃ¶rgy MÃ³ger, who showed an astonishing form at last year's BPO, AndrÃ¡s "BANI" Karkus, and leader of the Hungarian PokerStars Team, PÃ©ter "BÃ©labÃ¡" Traply.
Also new to this tournament were the 6-handed tables, to speed up the action even more.
The qualifiers for the final seven, were held on the first three days, and every winner from each table advanced to "Final A", while the runner-up qualified for "Final B".
Both finals were held on Friday, December 7th, and everyone from Final A would leave with a paycheck, but only the best one from Final B, finishing as 7th. The rake was set at 3,7% (â‚¬3,900), and the rest, â‚¬100,815 would be divided among the seven best players, according to the following structure:
1.: 40%, â‚¬40,326
2.: 20%, â‚¬20,163
3.: 14%, â‚¬14,110
The starting stack was 10,000 chips, with blinds starting at 50/100, and raised every 25 minutes. Like everything else, the blind structure also showed how much effort was made in order to make the tournament more "TV friendly".
The man behind the show were KristÃ³f SzÅ±cs, and JÃ¡nos Wisinger. KristÃ³f, former director of the Tropicana Casino in Budapest, was in charge of the gameplay, and the overall direction of the tournament, while JÃ¡nos Wisinger took care of the technical side of things. As Mr. Wisinger explained to PokerNews, the technical background of the production equaled any big tournament, with 14 cameras constantly sweeping the table, and 100 technicians co-operating to get the best of the action every second.
The software used for the coverage, developed entirely by the NEPO II crew, also had some features, that further added to the entertaining value of the coverage. The final table had live coverage (although it wasn't broadcasted live), with the hole-cards visible to the commentators, and thanks to the new software, the odds, and the different statistics (e.g. betting frequency) were instantly available and visible at any time during gameplay, as well as the chip counts, in the form of different diagrams.
The final table aired on RTL Klub on 28th December, 2007, with an amazing succes. More than 1,000,000 viewers followed the final battle (with more than 600,000 viewers from the 18-49 segment), while the "celebrity tournament", which aired the next day, topped the previous day's success, with 20,000 more viewers (over 629,000 between the ages of 18-49).
The final table held up to the expectations, the gameplay was pretty fast, and very aggressive. The best one proved to be Csaba Kuremszki, who also played in last year's Budapest Poker Open, and visibly in a great shape, while the winner of Final B was PÃ©ter "BÃ©labÃ¡" Traply, one of the most succesful Hungarian online players, leader of Team PokerStars Hungary. Here are the final results:
1. CSABA KUREMSZKI
2. ZOLTÃN SZABÃ“
3. TIBOR KARIP
4. ÃDÃM MARKOVITS
5. ANDRÃS KARKUS
6. ISTVÃN ERDÃ‰LYI
The celebrity match, which aired on December 29th, included 6 well known figures from the Hungarian public life, all representing a different charity fund, and everyone offering the amount they won to their respective fund. The sixth place finisher won â‚¬400, the fifth one won â‚¬800, the fourth best won â‚¬1200, and so on, with the winner offering â‚¬2,300 to the charity fund of his choice.