€10,300 High Roller
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Seat 8: Ondrej Vinklarek, 28, Kolin, Czech Republic

Ondrej Vinklarek

Ondrej “vinkyy” Vinklarek was the EPT8 Player of the Year and already has lifetime tournament winnings totalling more than $600k.

Vinklarek, 28, from Kolin, has been a poker pro for more than four years. As a Chess Candidate Master with a FIDE ranking of 2100, he first came across poker while playing at a big chess festival where they were promoting a live poker free-roll. He said: “I didn’t know the rules and had no idea what Texas Hold’em was but it was still fun. Later on I was in a shop with friends and we saw a chip set, so we started playing home games. After that I started playing small buy-in tournaments online.”

At the time, Vinklarek was studying Maths and Physics at Charles University; the turning point in his poker career came when he entered a $24 tourney online - and won it for $6,000.

Vinklarek’s best result to date was besting a 652-strong field in last year’s WCOOP $530 NL Re-buy tourney for $160,000. His biggest live cash was runner-up in a EPT Berlin €2k last season for €63,000 and other big scores include winning a €1k side event at EPT8 Barcelona, runner-up in an EPT8 Prague €5k NL Turbo and winning an EPT Barcelona €2k NL Turbo at the start of this season.

In Season 8, the year he won EPT Player of the Year, he said: “This has definitely been a break-out 12 months for me – both the WCOOP win and now doing so well in this season’s EPT side events.”

Vinklarek, dubbed “the Czech Chris Moorman”, first took the lead in the EPT8 Player of the Year race in Prague by winning the €1k NL Turbo Bounty, finishing second in the €5k NL Turbo side event and making the final of a €1k side event. He kept up the pace at the 2012 PCA when he finished third (out of 236) in a $2k NL Turbo tourney. He has nine other cashes on the European Poker Tour worth $10k or more.