It comes with the territory – international poker travel, jetting in from all corners of the world only to see nothing of the town you’re staying in. I’m not looking for sympathy here (not much) but it’s a plain fact – if you work here or do well in an EPT your chances of seeing the sights are minimal. Not that the eight players ready to play the final today will be too worried about that.
Whilst some people on the EPT circuit are able to sip drinks and watch the sun go down over the Mediterranean (we salute you Lee Jones) everyone else remains focused on events inside the casino. Even with the start time at 2pm TV crews work for several hours prior that. The players arrive early too, here for interviews with the various media outlets. And the cables, lights and scaffolding that make up the stage take a while to dismantle afterwards. It’s all part of the EPT scene.
Tim Vance and Danny Ryan were here in good time this afternoon saving the TV people several bags of stress for when a player arrives with minutes to spare. But this is where the action is – who would want to venture outside? Particularly when the gale is bending flagpoles and the windows of the hotel are shaking.
Actually, Copenhagen seems to be one of the most picturesque stops on the European Poker Tour, something I deduced after a 23 minute brisk walk into a local suburb and back this morning. It’s a beautiful city of multi-coloured apartment buildings, golden spire churches, and home to local heroes Lars von Trier, former NFL kicker Morten Andersen and Lars Ulrich of Metallica fame – and the odd successful poker player.
It’s more than just a city of cobbles, good cake and bike paths. There’s the Copenhagen Jazz festival, the Little Mermaid and the botanical gardens; but also the local version of the hotdog, known as ‘polse’, which has sustained many of us through the mornings here.
And if you’ve had enough of Denmark you can get out of here on the Oresund Bridge that stretches across the sea to Malmo in Sweden, making it technically possible to drive from the south western tip of Spain to the north eastern edge of Finland – although it might be cheaper to fly.
All that can wait till later of course. Right now the finishing touches are being made to a final that pits America against Scandinavia against France…
Seat 1 — Rasmus Hede Nielsen — Denmark 789,000
Seat 2 — Timothy Vance — PokerStars qualifier — USA — 1,408,000
Seat 3 — Daniel Ryan — PokerStars qualifier — USA — 557,000
Seat 4 — Patrik Andersson — Sweden — 283,000
Seat 5 — Simon Dørslund — Denmark — 267,000
Seat 6 — Nicolas Dervaux — France — 336,000
Seat 7 — Søren Jensen — Denmark — 500,000
Seat 8 — Magnus Hansen — Denmark — 458,000
PokerStars qualifier Tim Vance has the momentum, having secured the chip lead with the monster 846k pot against Kristian Pedersen late last night. Tim was, as you’d expect, in good spirits last night and was toasting his successful day with the man he eliminated – Kristian Pedersen. Pedersen was obviously disappointed but happy to share a drink with Tim who talked of having had a call from home saying his family had watched footage of ‘the hand’ about ten times.
Then there’s Danny Ryan, perhaps the most accomplished player at the final and of the internet persuasion. Ryan has a legendary ability to win EPT satellite seats, one of which he turned into a final table in Prague last December. Even with less than half the stack of his countryman Ryan could well leave Copenhagen an EPT winner.
Rasmus Hede Nielsen is the leading Dane and after starting as chip leader yesterday did well to take it to the final. He has just over half of Tim Vance’s stack but along with Ryan sits as potentially the biggest threat to the American’s dominance.
Keep an eye also on Soren Jensen who you may remember chanted his way through day two and reached this final table with some great poker and the determination of a Pamplona bull. Winning here would be a great win for him, for Denmark and one hell of a story.
But the same goes for most of the finalists. Play starts at 2pm local time and you can watch every hand on EPT Live in one of six languages. We’ll also have the details here on the blog as well as video blogs throughout the day.
A reminder of the payouts today…
1st — DKK6,220,488 — €834,590
2nd — DKK3,521,429 — €472,463
3rd — DKK2,045,381 — €274,425
4th — DKK1,560,394 — €209,355
5th — DKK1,286,270 — €172,576
6th — DKK1,012,147 — €135,798
7th — DKK801,283 — €107,507
8th — DKK569,333 — €76,386