The start of 2022 presented the WPN team with a challenge - its flagship The Venom event became less popular. The overlays in the last two of them, which offered a record guarantee of $10M, speak for themselves. Moreover, last year's summer event was "only" $175K short of matching the guarantee, but it became even worse now:
The first The Venom $10M of 2022 attracted a total of 3,782 entries, which formed a prize pool of just $9,455,000 ($545,000 overlay).
So the tournament fell back in popularity below the level of 2020, despite having an extra Day 1. If the old structure was preserved, the organizers would add almost $900K more to the prize pool! And this happened in the winter when poker traffic usually peaks.
The specifics of the tournament did not end there. For the first time, the final table players had an option to make a deal, which they decided to take advantage of right from the start - 50% of the prizes were distributed according to ICM.
In addition, Europeans dominated the table this time. There were no Brazilians and only three US representatives, the best of which could only reach 4th place.
The players were eliminated in the following order:
- «Kylejf» – $224,969 (USA). He decided to shove preflop with AKs (38BB) after a re-raise from "BoBomb14" and got hit by pocket aces.
- Mario «livinmydream» Mosböck – $230,790 (Austria). The former football player lost half of his stack in a battle of the blinds, trying to bluff his opponent out of the pot with ace-high. After that, he couldn’t win any hand for an hour. Eventually, the Austrian was eliminated after 88 vs. KK all-in.
- «ImHereToFold» – $287,618 (Czech Republic). His stack significantly decreased after a hero call on the river with the second pair against the Nemetz, who flopped a full house. The remaining 7BB were lost with QTs against A3.
- «galaxycygnus» – $367,024 (USA). He also became a victim of Stefan, who hit the top pair after the players went all-in on the flop.
- «Padishar» – $354,023 (USA). He entered the final table with the shortest stack, outlasted all his compatriots, but failed to win a crucial all-in against "BoBomb14" (A2s < JJ).
- Francois «SeT4x4» Pirault – $622,762 (France). The Winamax ambassador entered the top 3 with a 16BB stack. He was stopped by the same Austrian: AT < AJ.
As usual, HU started in deep stacks (116BB vs. 73BB). Nemetz was opposed by a player from Malta - "100kunderrisk", who started the final table as a chip leader.
The Maltese played very aggressively, and after the third break, he even managed to become a chip leader again by winning a big pot, hitting a straight on the river with 97.
But then it was Stefan’s turn: the outcome of both crucial hands was decided by a diamond flush obtained on the river.
Stefan "BoBomb14" Nemetz became the new winner of The Venom, while his heads-up opponent took home the biggest payout of $793,478.
*Final table replay
Who is Stefan «BoBomb14» Nemetz?
In almost two years, the Austrian hasn't won more than $7,413 on WPN. His total profit from 363 tournaments played before The Venom was only $942.
In the European poker community, he is known as a participant of last year's show by Fedor Holz, "Grindhouse 2.0", where poker players gathered in the Alpen villa for 12 days to study and have fun, for example, immersing themselves in ice baths.
Stefan started his poker career from live events. These were games with friends, and then the official series, where the Austrian managed to win more than $100K, most of which ($73,795) came from the WPT at Venetian Main Event (Vegas, March 2021), when he took 9th place.
The 25-year-old player is studying to be a sports manager. In regards to his poker future, he said:
«I just travel with friends and have wonderful experiences. That's my main goal. I don't need to be the best player in the world.»
As for the future of The Venom, the organizers should seriously consider the changes so that it does not lose its popularity. The next such event should take place in the summer of 2022.
The most obvious steps to avoid overlays and keep the same guaranteed prize pool: increasing the number of flights and starting the satellites earlier (currently, they start a month before the event). But it is quite possible that we can expect some creative approach to attract a broader range of players to this tournament.
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