EPT Dortmund: Johnny Be Good
Catch me if you can: Johnny Lodden
by Simon Young
He has a fearsome reputation as an internet player, but has yet to secure the big live tournament win that his undoubted talent deserves. That could all be about to change for Norway's Johnny Lodden, as he heads into today's Day 2 of the EPT Dortmund as chip leader with 101,400.
Aggressive, fearless, sometimes reckless: all qualities that can propel the pro to dizzy heights, and Lodden has them in spades. He'll be one to keep an eye on, however, for the reckless side of his game can have negative - and often fatal - results in terms of his tournament life.
Today he starts with 118 others, leading the charge for the final table of eight, which we should reach by the end of play. Of those runners, 48 will make the money, getting a return for their €5,000 entry investment in this, the largest field to sit down in EPT history. Many, of course, notably our PokerStars qualifiers, got here for much less, some even winning seats in satellites that cost them just a few of their frequent player points.
Austria EPT winner: Thang Duc Nguyen
Among our 28 remaining PokerStars hopefuls (19 cash satellite qualifier, six frequent player point qualifiers and three sponsored) are German Thang Duc Nguyen, who won the EPT in Austria last October. Living in Germany, where he runs a successful restaurant, he is desperate to add a second EPT crown - his home one - to his bag. He has more than 70,000 chips to throw around and is in good shape. So too is French doctor David Tavernier, runner up in Dublin, who has 39,200. Germany's Michael Mucklisch, a pro player who qualified with us, has 39,000.
Others sponsored by PokerStars for this event are still flying high - Norway's Sverre Sundbo has a handy 62,000 - quite incredible since he was down to 600 at one stage yesterday - and Swedish singer/songwriter Dilba Demirbag has 51,000.
Comeback of the day yesterday: Sverre Sundbo
Dilba Demirbag tells all to your blogger
But looming over Johnny Lodden's shoulder are a host of players just waiting to take over the running. Second in chips is Mattias Andersson with 97,000, third is PokerStars qualifier Danny Ryan, from the US, on 93,000. Big names are not far behind, including Britain's Roland de Wolfe, the only player ever to win a WPT (Paris) and EPT (Dublin) event. He has 76,000. Others in the hunt include Austria's Marcus Golser, Mudassar Khan, Henning Granstad, and another PokerStars qualifier - Spanish laywer Pablo Rua.
Also through to today are both the Japanese players who showed up yesterday, the first from that country to play in an EPT event. Masaaki Kagawa and Hiroshi Shimamura have work to do to move up the leader board, but both have the game to do it.
Full combined chip counts will follow soon.