Hohensyburg Casino in Dortmund, Germany hosted the PokerStars European Poker Tour German Open, the second EPT event of 2008. Long lines and high interest saw the tournament start delayed by an hour, and in the end there were 411 entrants for € 7,700 each, good for a € 3,164,700 prize pool. Each player received a 10,000 starting stack and the event was scheduled to run over four days.

As previously mentioned, Day 1a started an hour late and hosted 198 players. The most interesting table to start featured Katja Thater, Sorel ‘Imper1um’ Mizza, Dario Minieri, and former soccer pro Hans Eskilsson. Mizza dropped to 7,000 chips within the first 10 minutes of the tournament after slow playing a flopped set, but he quickly rebounded within the hour and got back up to 11,000. Minieri was the first to bust from this high-action table two hours in, and within the next hour Mizza lost most of his stack after 5-bet pushing his stack in with AQ and running into KK. Thater got moved to a difficult table but was able to increase her stack to 19,500 by the end of the day. 70 players remained at the end of the day, and Cyrille Chabot was the chip leader of Day 1a with 111,100 tournament chips in his stack.

Day 1b got a slightly earlier start, only 30 min delayed this time. Daniel Negreanu, the most famous name in the room, arrived late due to “decid[ing] to skip the first level to be able to stay awake throughout the day.” He got off to a less than stellar start, losing 30% of his stack in the first three hands he played, but he got back up to almost 9,000 tournament chips within the next two hours. The crowd around Negreanu’s table was so large that the tournament announcer had to ask spectators to move back a bit in order to give the players some space! It’s not surprising such a big crowd turned up to watch Negreanu, though, because he is so entertaining. He eventually changed his language into an interesting mixture of English and German, and he started announcing his bets in ‘tausend’ and ‘hundert’ (German for thousands and hundreds!). Negreanu ended the day with 59,900 chips in his stack.

Day 1b featured many other notable pros, as well. Two other PokerStars players, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier and Marcel Luske, were seated next to each other and got a chance to trade some chips back and forth. “I was up to 40,000, but had to help my friend Luske a little since he was so short-stacked. I am still on 31,000, but now I have to watch out since Marcel is closing on with 20,000 in his stack,” Grospellier said after the dinner break. Poker prodigy Annette Obrestad, WSOP Europe ME winner and runner-up in EPT Baden near the end of 2007, was also followed closely, being one of the most popular females playing in Dortmund. She ended the day with a healthy stack, finishing with 51,000 chips.

Sporting the 8th place stack to start Day 2, Negreanu decided to arrive late again, this time by 40 minutes. He eventually busted in the fourth hour after calling with low pair + flush draw and failing to hit any of his outs. Obrestad also busted on Day 2 after squeezing with 98s and being called by AKo. “Maybe I was a little bit too aggressive this time,” she mentioned upon her elimination. Popular PokerStars player Thater busted after losing a flip with AK to 44. Day 2 ended with 33 players remaining, the most notable being Michael “Timex” McDonald with a second place chip stack. Diego Perez led the pack with 361,000 tournament chips, and Luske was still in the tournament with a chip stack good enough for 5th place.

Day 3 brought a guaranteed pay day for the remaining 33 players and many early eliminations (eight within the first hour!). The next hour after that brought the bust of Luske, the most famous name remaining in the poker room. His attempted resteal from the BB with K5s proved futile after he was called with ATo and failed to suck out after the flop came A95 rainbow. McDonald added to his stack and continued to thrive after being moved to the TV table. He finished the day with the chip lead with 862,000 in his stack.

Day 4 featured a final table with eight players and a first prize of € 933,600. While McDonald was the favorite to win the tournament, Christian Harder was also a notable at this final table with a sixth place stack. Only three weeks ago Harder finished 7th at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas, making him the first player to final table two consecutive EPT events. He was unable to take it down this time around either, however; he was the first to go at the final table, busting 8th and taking home a healthy € 85,500 prize. McDonald dropped to last in chips at one point, but after winning several pots to climb back, he busted Johanes Strassmann and regained the chip lead. After that he fluctuated between first and second in chips and eventually ended up heads-up with Andreas Gülünay, sporting a 3 to 1 chip lead. McDonald was able to take it down after beating Gülünay’s T7o with AKo on a KJ7 board and playing it perfectly, getting Gülünay to shove all his chips in on the river.

Gülünay took home € 528,500 for his second place finish, and McDonald won his first EPT title, along with a nifty € 933,600 first prize. Here’s how the final table ended up:

1) Michael “Timex” McDonald (€ 933,600)
2) Andreas Gülünay (€ 528,500)
3) Torsten Haase (€ 307,000)
4) Diego Perez (€ 234,200)
5) Claudio Rinaldi (€ 193,000)
6) Johannes Strassmann (€ 152,000)
7) Thibaut Durand (€ 120,200)
8 ) Christian Harder (€ 85,500)

Thanks muchly for reading; be sure to come back to the FTR blogs for updates on the next EPT event which will take place in Copenhagen, Denmark.