EPT9 Barcelona: Drunken Finns? We've got drunken Finns!
Call us seers, clairvoyants, psychics. Or oracles, prophets or soothsayers. But a couple of hours ago we intimated at PokerStars Blog that the EPT Barcelona main event may be headed to a heads up duel between two drunken Finns. You know what? We might be right.
When Ilari Sahamies, Joni Jouhkimainen and Mikalai Pobal went on their dinner break, they were three men with their game faces on. When they came back an hour later, they were three men whose game faces had slipped a bit - and two of them were now beneath spangly trilby hats, whose sequins were glinting under studio lights.
The key factor here seemed to be the orange liquid in each of Sahamies' and Jouhkimainen's glasses. (Oh, it was those two in the hats, just to clarify.) A full week of total abstinence seemed to have taken its toll on Sahamies and the legendary poker hell-raiser had, it seemed, taken some refreshment.
But no one drinks alone, and certainly not a man who has made two major final tables in a week, had reportedly had a couple of good sessions online, and was breaking the longest self-imposed drought of the past ten years.
Sahamies recruited not only Jouhkimainen to his ranks, but also a packed rail of Finns and wannabe Finns: Juha Helppi, Jani Sointula, Aku Joentausta, at least, as well as Robbie Thompson and half of the TV crew.
The hats changed everything. And then the hats themselves even changed. After a sustained period of three-, four-, five-, six-bet shoving, Sahamies somehow managed to wrestle the chip lead away from Jouhkimainen. At that point, the crowd noticed for the first time what colour these two hats were.
Sahamies had a silver one; Jouhkimainen had a gold. But after the pot in which Sahamies took over the lead, they swapped. Sahamies took the gold (for the leader) and Jouhkimainen took the silver. Brilliant stuff.
Pobal, hatless but still playing his game and smiling away, seemed perfectly happy with the situation. But then he was suddenly distracted and managed to blunder horribly. He accidentally checked the nuts on the river in position, after making an ace-high flush. He was forced to take a one-orbit penalty - ostensibly a rule to restrict collusion.
Pobal was clearly not colluding. There was no one to collude with, for starters. But he served his time on the rail, returned to the table, and the action plays on.
If you're not watching this, you are missing out. Head to EPT Live for all the best coverage of this drunken Finn's party. Everyone is invited.