EPT9 Berlin Day 3: Nor-way! Scandis overtake Lebanon in chase for Country of the Year

Among yesterday's scintillating coverage from EPT Berlin was a beauty of a post about the EPT Player of the Year race, in particular how it was all but locked up for Jan Bendik (whether or not he knew it).

But there's even more interesting reading on the EPT Awards page for those prepared to scroll down a bit. That's where you'll find the latest details about the contest for the EPT Country of the Year. And that one is going to the wire.

The accolade is awarded to the country whose players turn in the most cashes of the year per capita, ie, it's based on a cashes/entrants equation. The USA, for instance, will have many more cashes than, say, Romania because there are many more American players in these fields than Romanians. But Romania is higher in the leader board because their 20 cashes represent 18.18 per cent of their total entrants, which is way higher than the United States.

Largely thanks to the performances of the likes of Nicolas Chouity and Jeffrey Hakim last term, Lebanon waltzed to the season eight prize. This year, Lebanon are again at the top of the leader board, largely thanks to the performances of the same two players, plus Walid Bou Habib. However this time they have company. Norway are hot on their heels. And after the performances of the Norwegians in Berlin this week, it looks like those Scandis are set to leapfrog the Lebanese.

At the beginning of the week, Norway had 15 players in the field, to Lebanon's 11. But by the time they began day three (ie, the day on which the money starts being dished out), Lebanon only had two players left, while Norway had seven.

Even more remarkably, all seven of them were still in when the bubble burst, meaning a staggering 46 per cent of Norwegians who entered EPT9 Berlin made the money. Three of them -- Yngve Steen, Pal Koppegodt and Kevin Stani -- are still in now.

kevin_stani_ept9_berling_day3_a.jpg

Kevin Stani, leading the way for Norway

By contrast, only the aforementioned Bou Habib cashed for Lebanon, which is a poor return by their incredibly high standards.

Before today, the top of the Country of the Year board looked like this:

1 - Lebanon, 79 entrants, 18 cashes, 22.78%
2 - Norway, 76 entrants, 16 cashes, 21.05%

But by my unverified calculations it will look like this next week:

1 - Norway, 91 entrants, 23 cashes, 25.27%
2 - Lebanon, 90 entrants, 19 cashes, 21.11%

See the swings that are possible even through only one EPT event.

Eilert Eilertsen, who we caught up with yesterday, was one of the Norwegians who cashed here, but will not come back tomorrow. His ace-king couldn't hold against queen-ten. But he said that if he made the money here, he'd be back for Monte Carlo, and has reiterated his promise today. That means he will be leading the charge for the Norwegians, alongside the likes of Johnny Lodden and Inge Forsmo, and they go in search of that crown.

And let's not forget Stani. The EPT Tallinn winner is one of four former champs still alive here and searching for that much coveted second title. A Stani/Norway double? Going to be a tough ask, but it's not impossible.

NORWAY V LEBANON AT EPT BERLIN

Lebanon: 11 players, 1 cash
Norway: 15 players, 7 cashes

CASHED

Lebanon:
Walid Bou Habib

Norway:

Min-cashes:
Eilert Eilertsen
Bastian Harbo
Amir Mansouri
Age Spets

Still in:
Yngve Steen
Pal Koppegodt
Kevin Stani

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour