The last European Poker Tour event of 2013 came to a close last week in Prague. It was hugely popular, smashing records with 1,007 players. But as well as being unique in size it happened to produce a true EPT original as its winner, German player Julian Track.
In his efforts to win the title Track seemed to do everything in an attempt not to. The only thing he did that adhered to standard procedure was to wear a hoodie. Everything else followed an entirely different text book.
For a start Track refused interviews. This is not exactly uncommon, but when a player is as unknown as Track, without a single live result to his name, you like to know what games he typically plays. Instead Track politely declined with an abiding sense of bewilderment that anyone would ask in the first place.
But that wasn’t exactly true. The German press had talked to him, but the answers they got just added to the mystery.
It turned out that Prague was Track’s first live event. He’d qualified on PokerStars in September for Prague and the Aussie Millions. Only, he wasn’t exactly enjoying this latest success. Why? It was all too slow, he’d said. He was more used to multi-tabling pot-limit Omaha cash games, not waiting long agonizing minutes as an opponent came to a decision. The effect seemed to drive him into a deep sulk. Like a teenager he even moaned each time he appeared on the TV table.
As such Track would seem visibly irritated on screen, writhing and fidgeting as straight faced opponents, wearing sunglasses and headphones, decided whether or not to fold. On several occasions Track looked to be in actual pain.
But then he may well have been, notably during the final table. It was here Track disclosed he had a fever. From the start he seemed uninterested in anything taking place around him and more interested with keeping warm. His hoodie and t-shirt soon become two hoodies and a woollen hat, which even under the television lights failed to keep him warm. Meanwhile his face became more and more drawn.
Curiously though, none of this affected his play. It was as though his body was saying one thing while his mind did something completely different, something with became apparent when Track went heads-up with Greek player Georgios Sotiropoulos.
With a 3 million chip advantage, Track agreed to chop the prize money down the middle, leaving only €25,700 to play for as each locked up €700,000. It was even rumoured that Track was happy to end things right there, giving Sotiropoulos the extra and the title, in exchange for some paracetamol and an early night. But tournament rules prohibit that kind of thing so they played on. But to everyone’s surprise, rather than concede meekly Track simply turned up the pressure on Sotiropoulos, who while appearing cool and calm could not do anything to get the better of Track.
And so Track prevailed enduring the last irritation of the week, the post-win interviews. Most remarkable though is that we may never see Track again on the EPT. So disillusioned with live poker was he that he announced that the Aussie Millions would be his last live event. No more waiting, no more obligatory interviews. For him the comforts of home where he can left click till his heart’s content.
The online world is duly warned, but the live game will be missing out on a true original.