It was the World Poker Tour’s first foray into Italy, and choosing the stylish Casino Di Venezia in the scenic city of Venice was the best way to launch it. A place where the new - like casinos and upscale hotels - is surrounded by the old architecture in a canal-based city made the destination one that could combine vacation and poker business.
Two side events kicked off the mini-tournament series at the casino, the first being a €1,000 No-Limit Hold’em event on May 9, and the second was a €300 NLHE on May 10. Both spurred on the excitement for the main event - the €4,000 (approximately $6,000 equivalent) NLHE tournament with the World Poker Tour name attached and a coveted WPT title as a reward for the champion. In addition, the main event was filmed by bwin for its web-based TV channel.
A total of 397 players took part in the event with two starting days, which created a prize pool of €1,521,260, nearly €400,000 of which would go to the first place player. In the crowd were numerous well-known poker players, including Dario Minieri, Bertrand Grospellier, Michael Binger, Chad Brown, Vanessa Rousso, and Mike McDonald. Much of the field were made up of online qualifiers to create a nice mix of players in the event.
As the final table approached, it took hours of seven-handed action to determine the last six who would appear at the final table on May 11. Ultimately, it was Italy’s own Minieri who was eliminated by Sven Ragnar Astrom, whose pocket kings held up over the pocket nines of Minieri. That left only six, with chip counts as follows:
Sven Ragnar Astrom 2,161,000
Per Martin Jacobson 1,049,000
Michael McDonald 1,022,000
Mario Adinolfi 487,000
Michele Slama 459,000
Play moved along quickly at the final table with Adinolfi as the first to go at the hands of Jacobson on the very first hand of the day. Jacobson kept applying pressure and eliminated Slama in fifth place soon after, and without delay did the same to McDonald, who had to settle for fourth place. Finally, though, Astrom took the reins to send Pasdeloup to the rail in third place.
Jacobson took the chip lead into heads-up action, his 3,333,000 stack giving him the advantage over Astrom’s 2,609,000 chips. It was two Swedes vying for the title and substantial prize money.
But the chip lead changed throughout two-handed play, but in the last hand of Level 25, Astrom took a pot worth approximately 1 million chips to take the lead. It didn’t take long for the final hand to materialize.
Both players were fairly cautious when seeing a board, but Jacobson made a bet on the river with and the flush. Astrom raised all-in, and Jacobson quickly called all-in for his tournament life. Astrom then happily turned over his pocket fours for the full house, leaving Per Martin Jacobson to accept a second place finish.
took down the first ever WPT Venice event, which turned out to be his first major live tournament. He was awarded €397,960 in cash, a WPT bracelet, and a $25,500 seat into the 2010 WPT World Championship in Las Vegas.
The complete final table payouts were as follows:
1st place: Sven Ragnar Astrom (€397,960)
2nd place: Per Martin Jacobson (€238,840)
3rd place: Vincent Pasdeloup (€159,740)
4th place: Michael McDonald (€109,540)
5th place: Michele Slama (€86,720)
6th place: Mario Adinolfi (€66,940)