Baltic Festival: Winning strategies


The Swedish EPT stalwart Peter Hedlund could not make the journey to Tallinn for this week's buoyant festival, which was good news for eardrums but not so great for bar takings. In case you're unaware of his work, Hedlund is the vivacious raconteur who occasionally gets a bit too vivacious for some people's taste as he ratchets up the raconteur-ing regularly past 11.

When the Norwegian player Espen Ringstad announced in level one that he was planning to "do a Hedlund" today, it could mean only one thing. We traced his path from table to bar and back again for the first time at about noon, and it's become a well worn path over the subsequent seven hours. But this has proved to be a winning strategy: Ringstad is the probable chip leader at the moment with 38,000. He's got almost as many empty beer bottles sitting behind him, but is clearly playing out of his skinful.


Espen Ringstad, playing out of his skinful

Neighbouring Ringstad is another of the leaders, the Danish player Michael Fardan. He has 27,000 and two unenviable tasks. Not only does he have Ringstad to his left, but he has Ringstad to his left. That's bad for poker, as well as for sanity's, reasons.

We talked earlier about another winning strategy adopted by William Thorson and Peter Eastgate: the "strategically late arrival". Eastgate has taken this to extremes today and has barely been at his seat for more than about two hours from the total six so far played. But who needs to be present? Eastgate is also among the leaders with 30,000-odd.

Thorson isn't doing too badly either and has increased his stack to about 14,000. But he's not even the most successful Thorson in the room today: his younger brother Jens is playing and has 28,000.


William Thorson

Brothers are another theme we may revisit, mainly because the identical twins Pasi and Petri Heinanen are also in the room. They played on the same table at one point, but have now been separated. They remain interested in each other's progress however:


Pasi and Petri Heinanen

Bad days:

Juha Hellpi is out. He ran queens into kings and that's gotta hurt.


Juha Hellpi

Peter Eastgate, as discussed above, is far from out, but this picture won't wait until his departure.


Peter Eastgate

Tournament housekeeping:
We're into level six, which means blinds of 150-300 and also the introduction of a 25 ante. There are 110 players remaining, and here are a couple of unobtrusive links you might want to follow:


Howard Swains
@howardswains in Baltic Poker Festival