Virta and Pendev Win Titles on Opening Day of The Festival Series RozVegas

Jari Vitra

King’s Resort in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, is hosting The Festival Series Rozvadov RozVegas for the first time from May 31 to June 9. The event boasts a plethora of tournament and cash game action across a variety of formats. While most of the festival features different poker events, casino enthusiasts can also have their time in the spotlight with Blackjack, Roulette, and Slots events all part of what The Festival Series offers at every stop.

PokerPro arrived on the scene in Rozvadov on Thursday evening, with this author immediately becoming the first champion of The Festival Series RozVegas after shipping the staff event for €1,850. Deals weren’t permitted, but for the most part, nothing could go wrong en route to victory. The Festival Series founder, Martin “Franke” von Zweigbergk, instructed those in the staff event before it began that half of the prize pool would be reserved for bets for the Champions League Final on Saturday. We fired in a few long shots as the money is earmarked for a party for the staff for the next The Festival Series at Portomaso Casino from Sept. 8-15.

While no official trophy was awarded in that event, one was awarded on Friday when The Festival Series Rozvegas kicked off its official action with Sweden’s Jari Virta and Bulgaria’s Ilia Pendev laying claim to official titles.

Jari Virta Wins €250 Sviten Special (€3,796)

The €250 Sviten Special was a first for Kings Resort, which is better known for its amazing hold’em and Omaha action. Sviten Special is a “special” game combining the elements of five-card pot-limit Omaha and five-card draw in the same game.

If you know both games, it should be quick to pick up. Players start with five cards before a round of betting takes place. A flop is dealt before another round of betting. So far, this mirrors any other flop game such as Hold’em or Omaha.

However, this is where you need to start paying attention as players still in the hand can draw cards if they so choose or stay pat. Franke made famous exchanging all five, but this isn’t a recommended course of action. Typically, you will be drawing far fewer cards. Players that opt to exchange one card will get their replacement card face-up for everyone to see. If they like it, they put it in their hand. If not, they can exchange that card for another card face down into their hand. Cards are exchanged face down when a player asks for anything else than one card.

A turn is dealt after the card exchange followed by another round of betting. The final round of betting takes place after the river. The player with the best five-card draw hand wins half the pot while the player with the best five-card Omaha hand lays claim to the other half.

The €10,000 guarantee generously placed on this event by Kings Resort and The Festival Series proved to be a placeholder with 48 entries, including 11 re-entries, creating a €10,260 prize pool.

Many Swedish players traveled to Rozvadov to battle in a game invented in their country, and three of them finished in the money. However, the odds were reduced for a Swedish winner to emerge after two Swedes, Nils Hallenstam and Jill Mellstroem, were ousted.

Germany’s Andreas Klimmer was the next to go, leaving Sweden’s Jari Virta and Bulgaria’s Lachezar Tsenov heads-up for the title. Virta saved the day for the Swedish poker community by defeating Tsenov to win the €3,796 top prize and the first official title of The Festival Series RozVegas.

1Jari VirtaSweden€3,796
2Lachezar TsenovBulgaria€2,616
3Andreas KlimmerGermany€1,667
4Nils HallenstamSweden€1,206
5Jill MellstroemSweden€975

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Ilia Pendev Wins €125 Crazy Pineapple (€5,553)

Meanwhile, the second event to award a trophy didn’t begin until 10 p.m. in the evening with the other events of the day feature the first of their starting flights.

The event attracted a banner crowd of 176 entries, including PokerPro friend Maureen Bloechlinger and poker streamers and friends of PokerPro Ylva Thorsrud and Scott “Pokerbrahs” Kenyon. While this trio appeared to enjoy themselves along with the many others in action, they were unable to secure a piece of the €18,392 prize pool. This included The Hendon Mob’s Roland Boothby, who had a long day during the first opening flight of the €250 The Hendon Mob Championship before ending 20 players when the payouts beg the event without a bag.

However, in the wee hours of the morning, Bulgaria’s Ilia Pendev defeated Italy’s Antonio Fragale heads-up to win the title and the biggest prize thus far in The Festival Series RozVegas of €5,553.

1Ilia PendevBulgaria€5,553
2Antonio FragaleItaly€2,762
3David BerdisSlovakia€1,824
4Christopher CampisanoItaly€1,503
5Markus TebbeGermany€1,208
6Der AuberginenmannGermany€946
7Nicolas BokowskiGermany€709
8Andreas ThorvaldsenNorway€524
9David VanecekCzech€405
10Christa Van BerkelNetherlands€338
11Angelo RiccioItaly€338
12Zeynal DanismanAustria€296
13Roland BoothbyUnited Kingdom€296
14Philipp ManzGermany€270
15Roy GodschalkNetherlands€270
16Stefano BertoldiItaly€245
18Mann MondGermany€220
19Marco HumbsGermany€220
20Werner RozbickiGermany€220

HORSES and The Hendon Mob Championship Complete First Opening Flights

In other news, The Festival Series hosted two other events and a handful of satellites.

The €550 HORSES event, which features all of the games of HORSE along with limit Sviten Special for the added game, was close to meeting its €25,000 guarantee with 16 entries battling it out on Day 1a. While Kings Resort has hosted HORSE tournaments before, this is yet another first for Europe’s largest poker room, thanks to the added game.

Six players found a bag with Koen Roos bagging the overnight chip lead followed by Nicholas Bokowski. Pokerbrahs, friend of PokerPro Antoine Degiorgio, B.S., and Benjamin Bauermeister also advanced to Monday’s final day with two more opening flights slated to take place on Saturday and Sunday.


Meanwhile, PokerPro will be live reporting The Hendon Mob championship starting on Sunday for Day 2. Two opening flights took place in RozVegas, and another was hosted at King’s Prague.

Local Czech player Dominik Martan led the way among the nine survivors out of the 70 entry-strong field with 629,000. Later in the day, Day 1b attracted another 109 entries with 15 players finding a bag. Miroslav Covic led the way in this flight and will start Day 2 not too far behind Martan with 605,000.

Meanwhile, a bit of chaos broke out in Prague, with another 59 entries getting into the mix, along with just six survivors. The Czech duo Adam Negreano (984,000) and Tomas Svec (843,000) crushed the souls of many of their opponents and ended Friday on the top of the leaderboard.

Saturday Schedule at The Festival Series RozVegas

TimeEvent NameBuy-InGTD
11:00The Hendon Mob Championship – Day 1C€250€200,000
12:00Turbo Satellite to Mixed Games HORSES – Day 1B€80€2,750
15:00Mixed Games Main Event HORSES – Day 1B€550€25,000
15:30Satellite to THMC – Day 1D€40€2,500
16:00PLO Masters€250€10,000
18:00The Hendon Mob Championship – Day 1D€250€200,000
20:00Super Satellite to Main Event€80€5,500
20:00Cash Game Challenge TX NL €5/€5
22:00Texas Saturday Knockout (Bounty 50€)€125€10,000
22:30Cash Game Challenge PLO €5-€5

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