EPT10 Barcelona: Kurko and Sormunen fly flag for Finland
This time last year the Finns were on top of their game. Ilari Sahamies would go on to finish second to Mikalai Pobal, while the two young pretenders, Aku Joentausta and Joni Jouhkimainen, would make names for themselves by finishing 14th and 3rd respectively.
This year the scene is slightly different. Two Finns remain and both Kimmo Kurko and Pasi Sormunen are very different players.
Kurko, who returns with a stack of 2,382,000 - good for fourth place - is the professional of the two, having turned pro in 2008 after a win in Helsinki. He followed that up a year later with a side event win in Sanremo. It was enough to make him a regular on the European circuit, with earnings to date of more than $1.1 million.
"He's a lot like Juha Helppi", said Finnish journalist Jussi Tyriseva. "He doesn't make many mistakes."
Meanwhile Pasi Sormunen's approach is a little different.
The businessman considers himself to be a recreational player only, taking to the game three years ago. Like his countryman Kurko, his first major success came in Helsinki, which he followed up with a deep run at EPT London last season.
"He's not afraid to put his chips in, said Tyriseva. "And that's his strength. No fear, it's just for fun."
Proof of this swashbuckling approach was all too clear in London, when he tried to bluff Ruben Visser with ace-high. Visser showed a full-house. While Visser went on to win the title, Sormunen finished 15th.
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Stephen Bartley -is a PokerStars Blog reporter.