We’d reached the end of level 24 last night and, with nine players left, a break was called for. Ten minutes rest as the clock struck 10.15pm. Weary heads dragged the bodies they were attached to for a short run-around, re-invigorating the blood in their shoulders, legs and feet which had been left dormant for several hours. We would play on, they said, until that time when another player had bitten the all-in bullet.
Then a sudden change of plan.
How about we call it a day and pop back tomorrow? After all, nine’s as good as eight, isn’t it? And the hotel restaurants were closing, we’d have to hurry if we were to get last orders at the Thai place downstairs. It was unanimously agreed upon and the night ended there and then.
It leaves us with a slightly bigger final than we’d expected. But like a family member bringing a friend along for Sunday dinner, we welcome them. There’s room to set another place at the table and we’ll send grandpa to fetch that spare chair from the attic. — SB.
So who are the last nine?
Seat 1 – Chips: 968,000
Jesper Petersen, 27, Aarhus, Denmark, PokerStars player
Jesper Petersen is a former economics student, who has been playing poker professionally since 2004. He took up poker early that year and by the end of it was playing full time. To date Petersen’s biggest result came in a side event at the Irish Open in 2007 where he finished fourth and while he has cashed in WSOP events since 2006, EPT Copenhagen will be his biggest career cash. Petersen was close to elimination on day one, dropping to 9,000 before doubling up with aces just before the dinner break. He went on to finish the day in strong position and has played solidly since, his fortunes helped greatly on day four when his straight beat the flopped set of Peter Eastgate.
Seat 2 – Chips: 2,073,000
Francesco de Vivo, 39, Turin, Italy
Francesco De Vivo has been playing poker online since 2005 and professionally for the past two years. The father of two from Turin is playing his first tournament as a sponsored professional since winning a special event in Vienna, earning a package of tournament buy-ins worth $100,000. De Vivo cashed in the 2008 World Series Main Event, and at a side event at EPT Prague in 2007, but his best results have come in Italy, where he became Italian champion for his performances in 2008. De Vivo spent the first three days of EPT Copenhagen short stacked and card dead, but two hands helped him on his way, the first a piece of luck, when his pocket eights beat aces. Then on day four he doubled through Roberto Romanello, leaving him with the chip lead going into the final.
Seat 3 – Chips: 1,164,000
Yorane Kerignard, 24, Aix-en-Provence, France, PokerStars qualifier
Yorane Kerignard has been playing professionally for three years, concentrating on multi-table tournaments online. EPT Copenhagen is only his third major live tournament but will be his best live result, beating his previous best payout of $7,000 in a €500 buy-in event. His biggest online cash was for $122,000 in a $1,000 buy-in tournament, and his online talents have been used well to win his seat to EPT Copenhagen on PokerStars. So far things have been easy for Kerignard, who by his own admission lives and breathes poker. He’s had no need, so far, to make tough decisions for his tournament life but as he said at the end of day four he looks forward to whatever the final table brings.
Seat 4 – Chips: 1,164,000 chips
Magnus Hansen, 22, Kastrup, Denmark
Magnus Hansen is no stranger to the final tables of the European Poker Tour and finished third here in Copenhagen in 2008. He earned more than two million Kroner for that performance, his biggest win to date, and it was a contributing factor in his decision to turn pro last May – after he had finished studies in IT. He is also a keen Counter-Strike player and used to be a member of one of the top 20 teams in the world.
Seat 5 – Chips: 1,412,000
Anton Wigg, 22, Stockholm, Sweden, PokerStars qualifier
One of a huge army of highly successful professional Swedish players, Anton Wigg is enjoying his best ever appearance at an EPT Main Event. Indeed, it’s his first ever cash on Europe’s premier tour, although he took down the European Masters in Barcelona for €55,000 last July and made a final table of a PCA side event last month. Despite his tender years, he has played poker for four years, three as a professional, and won his seat here in a €500 satellite on PokerStars.
Seat 6 – Chips: 2,033,000
Morten Guldhammer, 35, Aalborg, Denmark, PokerStars qualifier
Morten Guldhammer is the fairytale story of the final table. He won his seat in EPT Copenhagen through a series of tournaments run by PokerStars with the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet. First he beat 1,457 opponents in a $1 buy-in tournament. Then he beat 15 other tournament winners for his EPT Copenhagen package. Normally only a freeroll player, he has already earned more than ever before – and has surpassed his pre-tournament goal of making day two. He has cultivated a loose aggressive style during the tournament and was responsible for bursting the bubble – beating Craig Hopkins – and knocking out at least five others en route to the final table and a stack of more than two million.
Seat 7 – Chips: 1,436,000
Richard Loth, 42, Aalborg, Denmark
Married with four children, Richard Loth is a recreational player who normally plays multi-table tournaments online. He has been playing for four years and bought in directly for this event, and is now enjoying his biggest result live or online. He has taken this tournament one day at a time and has progressed steadily to the final table – he’ll return to his career as a consultant come what may.
Seat 8 – Chips: 1,551,000
Roberto Romanello, 33, Swansea, UK
Bedridden owing to a football injury in 2006, Roberto Romanello reached for his laptop and began playing poker online – the first step in a career than would earn him more than $600,000 in live tournament winnings, and counting. Romanello won the European Open last February, worth $200,000, and this is his best result so far on the EPT, bettering his 32nd place in Copenhagen last year. He battled food poisoning on day three, but ended with the chip lead. These days Romanello considers himself to be a full-time poker professional but used to split his time between playing poker and helping to run his family’s award winning fish and chip shop in Wales.
Seat 9 – Chips: 748,000
Morton Klein, 41, Norway
Morten Klein learned poker from his father with his four brothers and sisters. “It was a hard school,” he said. Klein now has three children of his own, aged 11, 17 and 18 – and he has already taught them all how to play. When he is not playing (or teaching) poker, Klein works for a Norweigan online slot-machine company. Klein has played poker seriously since 2006 and his major results are 51st place at EPT Barcelona 2009 and second place in the Norwegian heads-up championship in 2009.