Front row – Simon Dorsland and Danny Ryan
Seat 1: Rasmus Hede Nielsen, 26, Copenhagen, Denmark – 789,000 chips
Local boy Rasmus has been a poker professional since last August and was playing part-time for the year before that. His biggest result to date was 31st place in the Danish Championship and $23k in an online tourney. He is already known as one of the best tournament players in Denmark and is very active in the Danish poker community Pokernet.dk where he’s known as “Jungleras”. He’s soon to be giving others a helping hand at the game teaching in an upcoming poker boot camp in Denmark. He played both EPT London and Prague but this is his first EPT cash.
Seat 2: Tim Vance, 46, PokerStars FPP qualifier from near St Louis, Illinois – 1,408,000
Chip leader Tim Vance is a friendly guy who came to Copenhagen hoping to catch up with EPT3 Barcelona winner Bjorn-Erik Glenne who he met at EPT London – “one of the best trips of his life”. There’s no Glenne here in Denmark, but there is the now super-strong prospect of a €834,000 first prize for the construction company boss from Millstott.
Tim, who’s been playing poker all his life, qualified on PokerStars in a 10,000 Frequent Player Point tournament which he entered on a whim. The devoted dad has played the whole EPT with pictures of his daughter – three-year-old Nanzi – tucked inside his baseball cap. “She’s my world”, he said. Nanzi will be watching Dad from home on eptlive.com. Tim’s previous best result was $ 33k in Tunica in 2005. How does he feel about today? “It’s done”, he said. “It’s just a formality now.”
Seat 3: Danny Ryan, 24, Grand Forks, North Dakota + Alicante, Spain – 557,000 chips
Danny “THE__D__RY” Ryan is ranked as one of the best online players in the world but only really came to notice in live tourneys when he cashed in two WSOP side events last summer. He learned to play poker as a kid with his cousins and then started playing online in college. He studied abroad and is now based in Alicante, Spain, after falling in love with the Spanish way of life.
His incredible run of success in recent months has gone ballistic in the last few weeks. After cashing at EPT Dortmund two weeks ago for €52,200 – and coming 4th in the £2k side event – Danny then won £170,000 for 2nd place in an online $300 re-buy event and €75,000 for winning a PokerStars €5,000 event. He has lost count (quite literally) of the number of EPTs he has qualified for. “I don’t know – like maybe 15 or 20 times for the PCA?” he said. Danny believes his strength at poker comes from his ability to stay emotion-free. He said: “I don’t leak away my chips or get tilted. My mind stays clear.”
Seat 4: Patrik Andersson, 38, from Stockholm, Sweden – 283,000 chips
Patrik works as a sales manager for a food company in Stockholm. His biggest win so far was $75k in an online tournament and he also came 14th in Swedish Championship in 2006. He only plays Texas No Limit and likes online games for the speed of play, and live events because they’re “fun”. He started poker with five card draw as kid and he started to play online 4-5 years ago. He qualified to the tournament through a live satellite. It’s his first EPT.
Seat 5: Simon Dorsland, 24, from Skjern, Denmark – 267,000 chips
Simon is in the last few months of college where he’s studying dairy production. He’s not sure of his plans once he graduates but, guaranteed at least €76k today, certainly now feels tempted by poker. He’s been playing for around four years but this is his biggest result to date – with the best before that being the satellite he won to get into the event. Online he won $15k in an $170 tourney. He said: “I’ve really enjoyed myself. It’s been a lot of fun and I didn’t really expect to get this far. My goal at the beginning was just to get through to Day 2 so I’ve gone way beyond that.” Simon is being supported in Copenhagen by girlfriend Jannie.
Seat 6: Nicolas Dervaux, 33, Paris, France – 336,000 chips
He used to be a professional pool player and is currently ranked 18th in France. He also owns a pool hall but plays less now that he’s into poker. He is very proud of his pool achievements and is slightly baffled by what he considers “all the fuss” about poker. He said: “It’s easy. I just do it.” He started playing online after a friend downloaded the software and explained the rules.
He mainly plays cash games and always in turbo games where you have to move within five seconds – Nicolas gets bored if he has to wait more than a minute for a decision. “I don’t understand why, it’s easy!” Father-of-one Nicolas has been a pro for two years. Best result so far was €15k in an online tourney. This is his first major live tournament. Most of his experience has been in online cash games.
Seat 7: Søren Jensen, 37, Arhus, Denmark – 500,000 chips
Søren Jensen caught people’s attention early on in Copenhagen with an amazing emotional outburst after taking down a huge pot on Day 2. Shouting “Come on Jutland” and “Come on the Whites” after his local football team, Søren headed out into the corridor, striding up and down and punching the air with his fist. He said: “If I win a big pot, I have to walk away from the table and calm down. I’m very emotional. It’s my personality”.
Today Soren, who manages a car painting business in Arhus, says he’s focused and “100% sure” he’ll win. He’s been playing poker for seven years after switching from whist, and now plays high-stakes 10/20 and 20/40 NLHE cash games. He bought in to Copenhagen just one minute before registration closed. Søren cashed at the 2006 WSOP but today’s guaranteed win of at least €76,000 is his best result to date. He said: “I work, so I don’t really have much time for tournaments and this my first EPT. But I’m very competitive. I’m one of four brothers and we grew up always competing against each other. I’m born to be a winner.” Søren is supported today by younger brother Lars and girlfriend Bettina.
Seat 8: Magnus Hansen, 20, Asnaes, Denmark – 458,000 chips
IT student Magnus currently earns around 4,000 Danish kroner a month (about €500) so whatever he wins today is going to make a difference to his life. He’s certainly planning to buy a car but if he wins, he’s also considering turning pro at the end of his studies. His biggest result to date was qualifying for Copenhagen and he normally plays $100 NLHE cash games. As well poker, Magnus is a keen Counterstrike player and is a member of one of the top 20 teams in the world.