Team West Triumph in Party Poker East versus West Cup II
Against the odds, Team West have emerged victorious in the Party Poker East versus West Team Cup at the Concord Casino in Vienna for the second year in a row. 22-year-old trainee bank clerk Bjoern Kaersten from Potsdam, an online qualifier from Germany, played the lead role in their victory, finishing first and winning €10,000. Runner-up was UK qualifier Jack Powell, a 23-year-old online poker player from London.
Before the tournament began, Team West were 4/5 favourites to retain their title with the likes of Dave "The Devilfish" Ulliott, Roland de Wolfe, Ciaran O'Leary, "Flying Dutchman" Marcel Luske, Ian Frazer and Michael Keiner leading their campaign. Team East featured Tony G, Alexander Kravchenko and last year's European Challenge winner, Branimir Brunovic. However, none of the major stars of the West team made it to the final table, leaving five online qualifiers to fight it out with a very strong East final table line-up that featured both Tony G and Branimir Brunovic.
The odds swung further against the West when they lost the first two players from the ten player final table. First out was Austrian Stefan Fuchs, followed by Germany's Benjamin Mirsaidi, leaving the East with five players and the West with just three. This was an exact repeat of what happened in 2007 and the West looked down and out at this point. However, Team East then went on to lose three players in a row. Russia's Sergey Pevzner was first to go to the rail and he was then quickly joined by Estonian Kairit Leibold and then by the much fancied Branimir Brunovic from Croatia. This left five players, three from the West and now only two from the East. Tony G took on his usual dominant role, but the Lithuanian star played much more conservatively than usual, seemingly desperate to avoid defeat for the second year running. Soon it was two against two, as Germany's Jens Litschko departed.
This left Tony G with Polish television presenter and champion boxer Aga Rylik, who after taking lessons from Mike Sexton, recently took out both the Devilfish and Joe Beevers in Late Night Poker. Tony G was next to make an exit, followed by Rylik and the West had triumphed, as they had two players still standing in Bjoern Kaersten and Jack Powell. Heads-up, Kaersten had 19,600 chips to Powell's 10,400. Powell thought he spotted weakness and tried to make a move by going all-in with 10-4 off suit. He was called by Kaersten with J-8 off suit. A jack on the river sealed Kaersten's victory.