Baltic Festival: Day three, level 18&19 updates

Baltic-blog.pngThis post contains live updates from day two, levels 18 and 19 of the PokerStars Baltic Festival in Tallinn. It's now final table time.

The full chip counts at the start of the level are available on the chip counts page. Approximate counts will appear here updated throughout the level. A full breakdown of the prizewinners to date and the full payout structure is on the prize structure page.

Level 18:
4,000-8,000 (1,000 ante).
Level 19: 6,000-12,000 (1,000 ante)

7.40pm: Another cooler
Kenneth Danielsen, Norway, PokerStars qualifier, out in third winning €30,085
James Keys has played excellently all week in Tallinn, but even he would admit that he's found some great cards when it mattered late on here. He's now accounted for Kenneth Danielsen, who shoved with A♣[10c] and Keys found A♦K♠. The board came A♠J♦J♣5♠3♠ which was not the miracle ten.

Kenneth Danielsen.jpg

Kenneth Danielsen

Keys accounts for another one and will now go heads up against his friend and countryman Thomas Partridge.

7.30pm: Strength
James Keys just took some away from the short stack Kenneth Danielsen. It was a peculiar one: the board was 6♥5♦8♣ and Danielsen bet 60,000, which Keys called. The turn was 4♦ and both players checked, and then it grew strange on the river of 7♣. The board was now showing a straight, and Danielsen bet 140,000. Keys moved all in, which comfortably covered Danielsen, since he only had about 300,000 behind. He folded, to fight another day.

7.20pm: Counts
The approximate three handed counts are as follows:

James Keys: 1,900,000
Thomas Partridge: 850,000
Kenneth Danielsen: 450,000

7.15pm: Ouch
Claus Bek Nielsen, Denmark, out in fourth, winning €17,805
Aces against kings four handed is always going to result in something nasty. They went through the motions -- the raise, the re-raise, the all in, the call -- and it was Claus Bek Nielsen whose K♥K♠ had run headlong into James Keys' A♥A♦. This one played itself and the board ran out dry. Nielsen is out in fourth and Keys is now runaway chip leader with about 1.9m.

claus nielsen.jpg

Claus Bek Nielsen

7.10pm: Without further ado...
Michael Fardan, Denmark, out in fifth, winning €14,121
He wasn't going to hang around before getting his chips in, and any ace would do. It was A♣6♣ but James Keys had pocket tens. Another one flopped and Fardan was done.

7.05pm: Biggest pot of the tournament
The two biggest stacks going to the final table were Michael Fardan and James Keys and they have just tangled in a whopper. Fardan opened on the button 30,000 and Keys reraised from the big blind, making it another 42,000. Fardan called. The flop came 5♠A♣3♦ and Keys check-called Fardan's bet of 130,000. The turn was 5♦, which both of them checked, and the river was K♦. Keys paused and then bet 180,000. Fardan paused, but then called 180,000 and was shown A♠K♠. He mucked and is down to his last 60,000 or so.

Keys, meanwhile, is up to 1,200,000 after a pot worth more than 700,000.

6.45pm: Partridge accounts for another
Petri Heinanen, Finland, out in sixth, winning €11,665
Petri Heinanen's day is done. Thomas Partridge, and his chip lead, made a late position raise to about 35,000 and was then obliged to put in the extra when Heinanen shoved for about 90,000. Heinanen had K♥K♦ and that was pretty good against Partridge's A♥[10s]. But an ace came on the turn and that was it for Heinanen.

Petri Heinanen.jpg

Petri Heinanen

6.35pm: Chips
Here are the six-handed chip counts:

Claus Bek Nielsen - 531,000
Kenneth Danielsen - 395,000
Michael Fardan - 630,000
Thomas Partridge - 717,000
James Keys - 706,000
Petri Heinanen - 102,000

6.33pm: Heinanen doubles
It was the last hand of the level and Heinanen wins it to survive into the next. He had Q♣J♦ and he got it all in against Michael Fardan's A♥5♦. He turned a queen to double up to 102,000, which is still the short stack. But it's a stack at least. A five minute break now.

6.30pm: Heinanen gives it back
Just after doubling up, Petri Heinanen has given most of it away. He and Kenneth Danielsen see a flop of 3♦K♥6♦ and Danielsen bets 42,000; Heinanen moves all in and Danielsen calls. Danielsen has A♣K♣, which has Heinanen's K♠Q♥ outkicked. There's nothing important on turn or river and Danielsen doubles up. He had about 200,000 before the hand and double that at the end.

6.25pm: Petri dishes out the double up
Petri Heinanen re-raised all in from the small blind after Michael Fardan had opened from mid position. Fardan called, but this time was behind with his A♦9♣ as Heinanen had A♠Q♠. The flop gave chop possibilities when it came 7♣J♠J♥, but the turn 4♥ and the river K♠ changed nothing.

6.20pm: Video introduction

Here's how our video blogger introduced today's final table:

Watch Final Table in Tallinn on

6.10pm: Wong out
Jerry Wong, Holland, out in seventh, winning €9,823

He had no choice but to get his last 20,000 in on the button, and both the blinds called. The flop came 6♠Q♥4♦3♦Q♦ and Wong's J♣5♣ was no good. Nielsen's A♣5♠ took it. We lose Wong in two tortuous hands for him.

Jerry Wong.jpg

Jerry Wong

6.05pm: Nielsen doubles through Wong
Ace cracking time. In a battle of the blinds, Claus Bek Nielsen and Jerry Wong have seen four cards -- 5♦8♣[10c]J♦ -- when Wong check-raises all in. Nielsen calls and shows J♠8♦; Wong has A♥A♠, which are on the verge of being cracked. The river is 2♥ and that's enough to send Nielsen past 500,000 and peg Wong back to his last 20,000.

6pm: Down to seven
Johan Nilsson, Sweden, out in eigth, winning €8,288

This one was interesting. Michael Fardan opened for 21,000 and Thomas Partridge, to his left, called. Johan Nilsson moved all in from the big blind, another 140,000, and Fardan counted out the call. The action wasn't done, though. Partridge now moved all in for about 400,000, a damaging amount even for the chip leader to call. Fardan got out the way, and patted himself on the back when the hands were shown:

Nisson: 9♦9♠
Partridge: A♥A♠

The flop came with four spades on it, which gave Partridge the nut flush. Not that he needed it. Nilsson is out, Partridge is our new leader.

5.50pm: Player down
Antti Kärkkäinen, Finland, out in ninth, winning €6,753

We've lost our first one, and it was the birthday boy from Finland Antti Kärkkäinen. He got it all in pre-flop with 7♥7♠ and Michael Fardan called with A♥Q♦. That particular hand has been very good to Fardan so far today, and so it continued. The flop came 8♣[10h]K♥ but it was the J♠ on the turn that sealed it. Kärkkäinen, 29 today, now has time to celebrate it.

5.46pm: Must be nice
The first hand of the final table and Michael Fardan opens for 25,000. He has the biggest stack in town. It's folded around to Jerry Wong in the big blind, who folds and shows the mighty 7♠2♠. It's just as well he didn't try anything tricky: Fardan shows pocket kings.

On the next hand, Petri Heinanen opens for 25,000 and Johan Nilsson announces that he's all in on the button. Fold, fold, fold, etc.

5.45pm: Players are back
The nine finalists have returned to their seats and final table play is due to begin. Here's who they are:

Seat 1 : Johan Nilsson, 44, Stockholm, Sweden - PokerStars qualifier - 110,000
With a background in bridge - he was on the board of the biggest bridge club in Europe for 16 years - Nilsson has also played poker for the past four or five years, mainly as a hobby. He works at a bank in Stockholm and he's know by his friends in the bridge community as "the banker" ("bankmannen"). He has two children, aged 16 and 14, and lives with his fiance and her three children. This is only his third live tournament - he has cashed in two of them.

Seat 2 : Jerry Wong, 29, The Hague, Netherlands - 317,000

Wong has been playing poker for three years and calls himself a part time player. He's also a dealer at a local poker club in The Hague in Holland. If he places himself first or second in this tournament, it will be his biggest cash in a live tournament. Wong mostly plays online poker where he then prefers to play cash games. When he plays live, it is usually tournaments.

Seat 3: Claus Bek Nielsen, 31, Copenhagen, Denmark - PokerStars player - 287,000
Nielsen is a well-known figure in the European poker community as he often covers the PokerStars European Poker Tour for the largest online Danish poker news site. Claus's best result to date was a 10th place finish at EPT Warsaw in season four, where he was disappointed to bubble the final table. Nielsen also won a tournament in the Caribbean in January last year for $23,230.

Seat 4: Kenneth Danielsen, 24, Dröbak, Norway - 368,000
Danielsen has played poker for five years but says he only plays it when he has time. He spends the most of his time with his friends traveling around the world. He only play tournaments and mostly online. This is his biggest cash in a tournament so far.

Seat 5: Michael Fardan, 40, Copenhagen, Denmark - 695,000

Fardan is Danish but has been living in Vilnius, Lithuania for the last six years, working as an ex-pat for various companies. He describes himself as a "happy amateur" but for the past three months has been concentrating full time on poker. Like many Danish poker players, Fardan is also a backgammon player and is friends with many well-known figures in the Danish backgammon community such as Gus Hansen, Sander Lylloff and fellow Baltic Festival finalist Claus Bek Nielsen. Two weeks ago Michael became the Lithuanian Omaha Champion; he was the only non-Lithuanian in the tournament.

Seat 6: Thomas Partridge, 24, from Teign Valley, Devon, UK - 465,000
Partridge mainly plays cash games online but he competed at the World Series of Poker this summer, playing the main event and several side events. He cashed once in a $1,500 NHLE event for $6,604. He studied Politics at Warwick University.

Seat 7: James Keys, 24, from Nottingham, UK - 609,000
Keys is one of a group of British poker players who studied at university together, meet up at tournaments in the UK and all came to Tallinn together. Fellow finalist Thomas Partridge is also in the group, along with PokerStars qualifier Rupert Elder and Scott O'Reilly. Keys' best live result to date was his final table appearance at the 2007 WSOPE Main Event in London where he came ninth for £61,540. He also cashed again the following year for £25,340. He also won a deepstack tournament at Dusk Til Dawn in September for £29,981.

Seat 8: Antti Kärkkäinen, 29, Tampere, Finland - 117,000
Kärkkäinen has found a great way to celebrate his 29th birthday by making the final table at the inaugural PokerStars Baltic Festival. This isn't his best result though - he came second in the €1,000 hold 'em/Omaha in the Helsinki Freezeout 2009 in January this year for €37,300. He also has a string of results in other smaller tournaments in Helsinki. Kärkkäinen has been a professional poker player for four years but also still a multi-media student at the University of Technology in Tempere. He said: "I've been a student for nine years now actually. Poker has delayed it a bit."

Seat 9: Petri Heinanen, 33, Helsinki, Finland - 120,000
Originally from Tampere in Finland, Heinanen now lives in Helsinki. He spent 15 years as a professional footballer before injuries forced him out of the game - allowing him to turn to poker, which has been his main income for three years. This is his biggest live tournament cash but he has also has some deep finishes online. He normally plays pot limit Omaha cash games and no limit Texas hold 'em tournaments. Petri's identical twin brother Pasi also competed in the main event.

5.15pm: Here's your final table chip leader

Michael Fardan.jpg

Michael Fardan

Final table chips

Here's how they will line up at the final table:

Seat 1 - Johan Nilsson, Sweden, PokerStars qualifier, 110,000
Seat 2 - Jerry Wong, Netherlands, 317,000
Seat 3 - Claus Bek Nielsen, Denmark, PokerStars player, 287,000
Seat 4 - Kenneth Danielsen, Norway, PokerStars qualifier, 368,000
Seat 5 - Michael Fardan, Denmark, 695,000
Seat 6 - Thomas Partridge, UK, 465,000
Seat 7 - James Keys, UK, 609,000
Seat 8 - Antti Kärkkäinen, Finland, 117,000
Seat 9 - Petri Heinanen, Finland, 118,000

4.45pm: Dinner
Not unreasonably, they're taking a 45 minute break before the final table starts. That'll give us a chance to gather our thoughts, not to mention the biographies and chip counts.

Here's a quick video, which you can watch 17 times to while away the next 45 mins.

Watch What does Lodden Think? on

4.40pm: And...out! Final table time
Just like that, we're down to nine Again Michael Fardan was the player doing the assassinating as Matias Knaapinen's charge comes to an end. The short stack over night, he had double up at least twice, but was caught out when he pushed pre-flop with K♠9♠. Fardan found A♦Q♠ and the board ran 6♦[10d]4♠[10s]2♥, which sent Knaapinen to the rail and Fardan to the final table. He'll be joined there by Keys, Partridge, Danielsen, Wong, Nielsen and Heinanen. Their starting final table stacks are being counted now.

Matias Knaapinen.jpg

Matias Knaapinen

4.35pm: Out! Out!
Within the first couple of hands of the restart, two players are all in, there are two calls, and two players are out. There's one on each table: Peeter Grunthal has K♥J♦ and he's in trouble against Claus Nielsen's A♣K♠. The board gives him no help at all, and an ace rivers to give the pot to Nielsen and send Grunthal out.

Peeter Grunthal.jpg

Peeter Grunthal

At the same time on the other table, Einar Olafsson moves all in from the small blind and is called by Michael Fardan in the big. Fardan has K♥9♥ and it's better than Olafsson's J♦[10d]. Although the Icelandic player picked up a flush draw on the A♦A♣4♣7♦ board, it missed when the 7♥ rivered.

Einar Olafsson.jpg

Einar Olafsson

We are down to 10.

4.30pm: Chips
There's been a massive amount of to-ing and fro-ing in that last level. How it affected the chip counts can best be seen by looking at the chip count page. Sneak preview: James Keys is still the leader.

James Keys.jpg

James Keys

4.25pm: Back
There are 12 players remaining, and we're now playing level 18. Here's a video to keep you occupied before the action gets going properly again.

Watch PokerStars Baltic Festival: Final Day in Tallinn on
Howard Swains
@howardswains in Baltic Poker Festival