EPT8 Copenhagen: Recalling Andersen's early morning heroics
A wounding hand for Arnaud Mattern, the type to leave the Frenchman quietly shaking his head as Martin El-Kher raked in the pot and shared a joke, in Danish, with his friend in seat one. There were clubs on the flop, another on the turn and then a fourth on the river. Mattern bet, sat tight, and then called El-Kher's raise to 10,600.
While Mattern regrouped, Jan Molby was a table along with a pair of eights on a low board. He had position on Roberto Romanello who was check-calling the Dane to the river, which both checked. Romanello, who wears two days of stubble and aviator glasses, folded to Molby, who moves back up to around 32,000.
It's all taking place in a room that is eerily quiet for an opening day at EPT Copenhagen, ahead of what is likely to be a day of bustle and crowds tomorrow.
As hinted in the introduction today, Copenhagen is usually an event alive with chatter as the Scandinavian poker community re-united after a long winter in the darkness, ready to turn the EPT on its head, as a look back at past events will show.
When Noah Boeken was victorious in season one there was little of the fanfare an EPT winner receives now, mainly as it took place in the days before the PokerStars Blog. The following year though, it was a maximum effort, with the PokerStars Blog, as well as news outlets from around the world, reporting on events in Copenhagen.
It was an eventful four-day tournament, televised and staged in the casino itself rather than a separate tournament room, making for an old school wall-to-wall playing area with no space to move or see anything.
The crowds in Copenhagen Casino in Season 2
It was memorable for various incidents, not least the departure of Simon Young (now head of blogging at PokerStars), who back then was playing the season while researching his book. It was a deep run for the Youngster (are we allowed to call you that boss?) who would crash out on the TV table in an "unlucky hand" against defending champion Boeken.
But it was the final table that was most memorable, featuring the likes of Anina Gundesen who finished sixth, (the highest placing for a woman up to that point), Phillip Hilm, Marc Naalden, Edgar Skjervold and eventual winner Mads Andersen. Andersen's performance was certainly worthy of the title, but it was the heads-up contest that would lodge itself permanently in the mind.
As the clock struck 3am there was still nothing between Andersen and Skjervold, who slugged away at each other like prize fighters praying for the final bell.
That was all well and good, but as time ticked on the TV people began to look increasingly anxious, one TV floor person, buzzing on Red Bull, admitting that they only had 20 minutes of tape left.
It wasn't just the camera teams getting panicky. Casino Copenhagen had also to abide by strict Danish gaming laws and were watching the clock knowing that, by 4am, the doors would be closed regardless of the state of play, with everyone asked to leave, without exception.
Heads-up in EPT Copnehagen in Season 2 - Mads Andersen and Edgar Skjervold (nearest the camera)
In the event Andersen had it wrapped up with minutes to spare. There was no need to throw anyone out, no need to wipe old film (perhaps of Mr Young's unfortunate demise) to make room for the victory celebrations, which if I remember were brief at most, with most, at least those booked onto the 7am flight, too tired to care.
Nevertheless it granted Copenhagen a final table still talked about today. It wouldn't be the last.