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viva las velden

If the bright lights of Vegas and this summer’s annual WSOP are a step too far for the average player, finding an alternative for your poker adventure might seem to be rather difficult – but there are a host of tournaments out there vying for your attention – and scanning the calendar, the European Poker Championships in Velden looks to be one of the best on offer.

In late July the Austrian town comes alive when the iconic casino opens its doors to the hundreds of hopefuls vying for the prestigious European crown – and the big money that comes with it, an estimated €700,000 in prizes. And the great thing about it is you likely won’t be facing hordes of pros or surrounded by young hoodie-wearing wannabes. We’re talking a classy event in a classy place – with a social side which is more ballroom than baller!

Velden, the ‘Monte Carlo of the Austrian Alps’, has long been one of the best venues in Europe for poker, the beautiful lakeside Casino Velden witnessing “thrilling poker tournaments and cash games on more than 40 tables” during the festival according to the organizers - 11 days of poker which sees rich locals mooring their yachts and trying their luck at the tables just a stone’s-throw from the marina.

Last year saw several online qualifiers making deep runs in the Main Event, PokerTube covering the fortunes of the lucky Intertops satellite winners as they swapped the ‘Vegas excesses’ for some ‘Austrian excellence’ – although the site does send their winners all around the globe, including the WSOP.

Tim O’Keefe, one of the site’s pros who decided to fight his way through the satellites to book his place despite being a certainty to represent his company anyway, shone in Velden – finishing 22nd and taking home €6490 for his troubles, a decent sum considering he won his $4500 package for next-to-nothing.

The Texan can be seen chatting with to PokerTube’s Rikard Aberg about his Austrian adventure below, as well as other views from the players on the Living the Dream blog, which should give you a good idea of what Velden has to offer.

So, as far as alternatives to the World Series go, Velden’s European Championship is a serious contender for your poker and travel plans. You can buy in for yourself of course, but as with the guy’s above, the satellite route is worth a shot and the Intertops guys and girls are offering two more chances to win a paid poker-trip of a lifetime.

“We will run two more satellite rounds for the Velden event, each guaranteeing a Velden package worth $4,500,” they told me, adding that “The next round will run from June 1st to 11th, and the last round will run between June, 22nd and July, 2nd."

The Package

The package is a “sweet deal”, and as with previous satellite winners through Intertops, it seems that the winners get well taken care of. Here’s the short version of what you’re playing for according to the organizers…

The Velden package is worth $4,500 and includes:

  • €2,700 (around $2,900) buy-in to the main event (July 27th to 30th)
  • 5-night stay for two at a premium hotel close to the Casino
  • $500 to help with travel expenses
  • Welcome Dinner with the Intertops crew

The Satellites

There are three Satellite steps on the path towards your $4,000 EPC Velden package at Intertops.

  • The Step 1 Satellite runs five times a day and you can win a Step 2 ticket for a buy-in of just $3.30.
  • The Step 2 satellites will be offered daily, and for a buy-in of $9.90 you can win a $770K guaranteed EPC Velden Satellite Final ticket worth $110.
  • If you haven’t managed to win your Final Satellite ticket by this point there will be a Last Chance Wild West Satellite available that will give away 1 Final Satellite ticket for a buy-in of just $1.10.

After that, it’s all up to you in the final satellite. Game on, and Velden is waiting for the winner!