A show of strength

January 21, 2006

It’s another one of those days when patterns are emerging. Something about poker tournaments of this size seems to ensure we see the same things over and over again.

In this instance, it’s to do with the chip flow. As players are eliminated, it is common practice for the poster of the big blind seat to be moved from a a crowded table to balance those with fewer players. This ensures as fair a distribution of the chips as possible; it’s entirely random and pleases everyone. The player moving ducks the big blind obligation, which moves on to the player that would have had it next hand anyway.

Only sometimes, the chips all seem to be fitted with magnets and follow each other around the room. That’s the case today, where the table that included the sizeable stacks of Ken Lennard (34,000), Luca Pagano (32,000) and David Berggren (47,500) was split, and they all found spaces on tables already full of chips.

One in particular is vicious. Ken Lennard, arguably the best-known of the Swedish contingent, largely because his participation in high-stakes poker pre-dates the internet boom, is now sitting beside Juha Helppi and Shek Chi Hung. Juha is the short stack of the three (he has 13,000). Ken still has more than 30,000 and Shek, well, Shek only has one gear and it’s forward, at full throttle.

Ken Lennard

Moving round the table another seat, it is possible to miss Rolf Woods’ 10,000 because eyes are drawn towards Hans David Rognlien’s 30,000, Mark Naalden’s 40,000 and Mika Paasonen’s 40,000. Chips. With. Everyone.

Mark Naalden

Mika Paasonen

World Champion update: Joe Hachem has taken a hit and was down to his last 4,000 or so when he stuck them in with ace-queen. He was called by ace-three and despite the hopes of the entire room that a three would knock out the dangerman from down under, he lived to fight another pot.


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