Copenhagen has never really conformed to the eight-handed, eight-hour thank-you-very-much final. An early hours finish in season two, the flip-flop heads-up of Grospellier-Petersson in season three, and the five-hour marathon in season four. Casino Copenhagen seemed to have shed its malingering reputation when Jens Kyllonen made easy work of winning on home-ish turf last year.
But season six may have proved that the old curse never left, it just took a one year sabbatical. Anton Wigg, a 22-year-old PokerStars qualifier from Stockholm, Sweden, won 3,675,000 DKK tonight (€493,754), after an often debilitating final table, one featuring moments of sheer panic, separated by long periods of abject folding.
In a three and three-quarter hour heads-up match against Francesco De Vivo, the Swede finally put one of the longest running EPTs to bed for another year. In some sports the equivalent would have required a referee to make a points decision, but here the Danish judge said this one would continue to the death.
It was Wigg’s perseverance that won it. Going into the heads-up Wigg caught and then pulled away from De Vivo, a former Italian player of the year. That was until one hand 90 minutes in flipped things back to De Vivo whose seven-eight caught the turn, trumping Wigg’s ace-ten.
Francesco de Vivo
But Wigg never looked like permitting this title to slip away. He called De Vivo’s next all-in an hour later and his queens looked good. But De Vivo held an ace and flopped two more. It was a setback that would have crushed most, but Wigg never resigned himself to the fate the poker gods seemed to have laid out for him.
He scored a quick double up with ace-jack, and then another with kings, restoring some order. Then he got the lead back a third time. Having endured losing it twice Wigg made sure it was third time lucky.
De Vivo moved all-in with K♦10♠ for 5,365,000 and Wigg called with A♥J♦. Cynics predicted another Italian revival but not this time. The board dangled a straight draw in De Vivo’s face but it was merely a tease. On a board of Q♥9♥Q♦2♦8♥ Wigg’s ace-jack held up, giving him the first prize and a seat in the Monte Carlo Grand Final, and leaving De Vivo with 2,275,000 DKK for second.
“It feels wonderful,” Wigg said, admitting that it was a tough final table, but that he had felt confident coming into today. “I was here to win.” On De Vivo, he said: “I think he played really, really well but he was a little bit passive in the heads up.”
It was an “unusual” start to the day with nine players, not eight, remaining from day four. While these weren’t the “official” finalists they were as good as, and most settled for calling them that when play began. After all, we’d grown used to seeing them all hand after hand for two hours last night. It seemed wrong not to allow them all into the club.
It took more than four hours to bust that ninth place “bubble boy”, including the two hours the previous night. Eventually it was Magnus Hansen who departed, finally allowing “officialdom” to begin.
Nearly two more hours would pass before the eighth place finisher departed. If EPT Copenhagen demands patience from players Jesper Petersen had that in buckets. He hung on until he had no choice but to press the shove button, unable to dig himself out of his short stack’s eighth place hole.
Morten Guldhammer would last an hour longer. Guldhammer, whose eccentricities and volatility had enraged and entertained in equal measure, played every hand in attack formation, fearless when it came to calling big bets, relentless, heroic and quixotic quest for every chip.
Ultimately it would end in seventh place, a series of big hands, part robbing Guldhammer, other parts liberal donations, that combined to extinguish his overnight stack.
As Guldhammer surrendered Anton Wigg commandeered the lead. Wigg had seen off Petersen and would do the same to Roberto Romanello in sixth place when the Welshman had four-bet him all-in with 9♥8♥ not counting on Wigg holding aces. Romanello looked devastated as the board at first promised hope but then took it away again. He was still hard to console several hours later.
While Romanello’s track record in tournaments around the world marked him out as a full time tournament Pro, Rich Loth from Denmark was the exact opposite. A recreational player from Aalborg, Loth bought in directly into EPT Copenhagen as a treat, and would finish in fifth place, walking away with 715,000 DKK with which to buy even more treats.
He’d been crippled calling the all-in of Yorane Kerignard moments before and lost the rest, less than a blind, to Francesco de Vivo in the next hand. Ten minutes later Kerignard would join him, another victim of Wigg who was now stretching his poker legs. He and Kerignard grappled with kings and ace-queen; Wigg’s kings ending the better off.
It was an advantage that looked likely to make short work of Klein and De Vivo three-handed, and one that saw off Morten Klein in third place when Wigg’s J♣9♣ walloped Klein’s A♣10♦ making a straight on the river.
But Copenhagen had one last trick up its sleeve, a heads up stretching into Monday morning, a salute to finals of Copenhagen past. This place wouldn’t have it any other way.
That’s it for another incarnation of EPT Copenhagen. We may not have been out in the snow much but the action inside never left us any need, except for slippery trips to the hot dog shop opposite the casino.
Of course, it doesn’t have to end here. Those with the will, imagination and some privacy can put the clock back 11 and a half hours and re-live the whole thing, clicking back through the links below featuring all the dispatches from today. Go on, no one’s looking.
Our thanks to Neil Stoddart for the photography this week and to our German, Swedish and Dutch brothers and sisters who wrote about EPT Copenhagen in those same language without any guarantee that anyone was reading. You can also find a full official list of who finished where on our prize winners page.
Next stop for us will Berlin in nine days time, a new venue, a new city and a new event that has everyone looking forward to life underneath the lantern by the barrack gate in Marlene-Dietrich Platz. If you can’t join us there you can join us here, with live coverage on the PokerStars Blog from the very start.
In the meantime there’s always the NAPT at the Venetian, coverage of which continues on the blog. Until Berlin then, cheerio.