Kimmo Kurko is the man that everybody has to catch as the World Poker Tour (WPT) sails into Day 1B at Baden in Austria. The professional poker player from Finland finished Day 1A with 149,700 chips, just a smidgen more than the Russian pro Andrey Shatilov, who lies in second with 134,700.
The small spa town of Baden attracted the right blend of professionals, online qualifiers and recreational locals. 104-players in total attended the event that cost some players €3,300 to play and others just $5!
“It only cost me $5 to play in the event. I won my seat playing online at PartyPoker,“ said Stephen Andersen, a resident of Montreal Canada who had managed to turn $5 into a WPT seat, and fantastic holiday, in one of Europe’s cutest countries. “It’s been a great experience and I am going to have a great week.”
The numbers were down slightly on last year’s Austrian adventure, which was held in the countries capital of Vienna. 163-players entered the field during Season X, but there is still Day 1B to make up for numbers. It is thought that the WPT will be expecting – and hoping – for over 200-runners today.
Winning a WPT title is a goal of all professional poker players young and old. To do so gives you pride of place in the WPT Champions Club. Two members of that fraternity turned up to play Day 1A and both survived with healthy chip stacks. ‘Mad’ Marvin Rettenmaier created WPT history when he became the one and only player to win back-to-back WPT main event titles, after winning the Season X finale at the WPT Championships at the Bellagio, and then scooping the first event of Season XI at the Merit Cyprus Classic. The Mad One finished the day in 14th spot with 86,000 chips.
Joining his fellow WPT Champions Club member into the hat for Day Two is the young Swedish player Lukas Berglund. Berglund became one of the youngest players in history to win a WPT main event, when he took down the Season X opener in Barcelona before his 20th birthday. Berglund goes into Day Two in 15th place with 78,900 chips.
Both Kurko and Shatilov dominated the day from start to finish and are both expected to go deep. Shatilov, in particular, has had a great start to the year with a sixth place finish at this years PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA), for a career-best prize of $325,000. Kurko finished 36th in the Vienna format of this event last season.
Day 1B will start today at 14:00 (CET) and live updates from the event can be found at WPT.com