Allan Baekke doesn’t dress like your typical poker player. There is no hoody, no sweatpants, no diamante encrusted jeans. The Dane sports smart, fitted trousers and a fresh crisp shirt that make him look more like a property developer or market trader than online poker pro. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Baekke on the tour but for good reason.
“I’ve got a one-year old. She was born last January so I decided to spend less time away,” said Baekke smiling broadly, an obviously proud father.
Baekke could afford to take some time off having pocketed €879,555 in 2010, half of which came when he won EPT Snowfest in one of the most competent final table displays in EPT history. Baekke smashed his way through a 546-strong field to beat Russell Carson into second and Johannes Strassmann into third to claim the €445,000 winner’s purse. Baekke’s ambition is to win two EPT titles (which he said before he’d even won his first) and he came pretty close to achieving that lofty aim when at the very next stop of the tour, EPT San Remo, he finished 12th for €50,000.
The online heads-up specialist has got himself up out of the doldrums after a poor start to chip up to 43,000, largely thanks to a hand that recently played out in level 6. Thomas Swensen opened from early position and was called in two late position spots before Baekke made the call from the button. The K♣8♦7♥ flop was checked round to Baekke who pushed out 1,700, Swensen called as did the cut-off (who dropped away on the turn).
Baekke fired another 3,900 into the K♥ which had paired the board. Swensen called again before a blank 2♦ hit the river. Swensen, who covered Baekke, looked over at his opponent’s stack, now just 18,300, and bet 8,500.
“Heh,” said Baekke (or some other sound of irritation).
He leant back and crossed his arms. He rocked forward, his elbows onto the rail and said to Swensen: “Sevens? Or eights?”
Swensen said nothing. Baekke spread his chips on the felt in front of him, plucked out two blue 5,000 chips and tossed them across the line.
“Nice call,” said Swensen who tabled 5♠6♠ for a busted draw. Baekke turned over J♠K♠ for top trips and scooped the pot.
“I thought you might throw it away,” said Swensen (well, that is the reason for bluffing).
“I didn’t like it too much. I thought you might have nine-ten. I didn’t like to call, it’s my biggest leak,” said Baekke.
“I have to bet in case you have nine-ten,” said Swensen.
“If I have nine-ten, I have to shove,” said Baekke, before adding, “Or maybe I call. That would have been some call.”
If anyone if doubting that Baekke wouldn’t have been able to find a shove there with nine-ten perhaps shouldn’t sit down to play him. A year off the live circuit don’t seem to have dulled his play much, he’s now up to 69,000, well above average.