EPT Prague: What matters to Mattern

December 01, 2009

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Arnaud Mattern stopped by our onstage media perch earlier today. He hadn’t even opened his mouth before Lina Olofsson, the most Swedish of all our Swedish bloggers, was on to him:

“My Swedish friend doesn’t like you.”

We skip hellos.

She was talking about Martin Jacobsson, who had five bet Mattern in a hand early in the day before folding to Mattern’s six-bet.

“He’s six betting me and I showed a four,” said the Frenchman with no shortage of cheek. “A sick bet and a six bet. He doesn’t like to give up.”

Arnaud then recapped the action. He doesn’t have to do this. Usually we try to save the Team PokerStars Pros the journey and be on hand when things go well/belly up. But Mattern takes this role seriously. Back in Vilamoura deep into the tournament Mattern found me, shook my hand (as he does at every meeting – it’s the French way) and apologised for not explaining his bust out sooner, having instead stormed out. I told him I understood the need to deal first with his pain and not to worry.

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Arnaud Mattern

As things stand right now, a week later, there’s no pain on the horizon and no need for any explanations, sat as he is with a big stack. Jacobsson was just the start. More has followed including a bullet or two dodged and another scoop:

“I had a big hand with queens on the button,” he said, adding that there was a queen on the flop and an opponent prepared to pay – a big hand. “The rest is just grinding.” It’s a grind that at the last break of the day leaves him with 78,000.

It was in this very room that Mattern first pinged the poker radar, an echo fired by his performance here two seasons ago when he lifted the trophy to become the first EPT Prague champion, a title worth €708,600. It came at the end of a gripping inaugural final featuring the likes of Kristian Kjondal, Markus Golser, Juha Lauttamus, Johannes Strassmann as well as eventual runner-up, newcomer Gino Alacqua.

The result sent Mattern into the headlines and into a new league. Asked moments after his victory what he planned to do with the money, he gave the text book answer for any player wanting to be taken seriously: “I’ll probably play higher stakes,” he said and was whisked away by a crowd of jubilant countrymen.

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Gino Alacqua

It was a result that has financially backed more than one free bar since. Now a Team PokerStars Pro, he’s added to his Prague result with four further cashes, including a fifth place in Warsaw last season. On top of that was his 23rd place finish in the WSOP Europe earlier this year. It’s a record that has so far earned the Frenchman nearly $1.4 million in prize money.

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Back in season four he was a clean shaven champion. Now, the thick lenses in his mirrored sunglasses may remain (it’s possible he can’t see a thing without them), but gone is the razor – a thick black stubble becoming something of a Mattern trademark. He could be on course to make Prague another of his trademarks. Stay tuned.

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