EPT11 Grand Final: A Round With...the original spin-up merchant


Johnny Lodden's place of work for the day

I once heard Johnny Lodden described as "the original spin-up merchant", referencing the years when he, as "bad_ip", brought a harem scarem, high-octane game to the online tables, before anybody else in the world.

To look at Lodden even then, you wouldn't have known it was possible for such a calm-seeming young man to be such a lunatic, but it was true. He is level-headed, quietly spoken and friendly in "real life" but a cutthroat maniac with a mouse in his hand.

Anyhow, Lodden is in the Day 3 field of the Main Event at the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final, but ended yesterday practically overspilling with frustration. "Still at 85k last break of the day," he tweeted. "My 2 most stabile levels in Ept ever! Between 80-100 for 2-1/2 hour!"


Johnny Lodden, left, and Jean Montury

The exclamation marks reveal a man not accustomed to keeping on an even keel. We have had great fun before watching Lodden's ridiculous roller-coater rides through EPT Main Events. He can, quite literally, go from three big blinds to chip leader and then out the door quicker than any other player we've ever seen, and we've previously patented a Lodden-o-Meter to track these fluctuations.

Lodden was sitting at a rather tasty looking table as play got under way this afternoon, so we checked in for a round with the Team PokerStars Pro to see if he could contain his frustrations today.

As it happened, Lodden wasn't massively involved, but this was clearly gearing up to be an action table - and one on which it didn't pay to be a British player. Both Rhys Jones and Charlie Carrel, the representatives from the United Kingdom, had an orbit to forget.

Here's how they lined up at the start of play:

Seat 1 - Charlie Carrel, United Kingdom, 79,600
Seat 2 - Nikolay Tsanev, Bulgaria, 174,500
Seat 3 - Marian Mitran, Romania, 37,400
Seat 4 - Johnny Lodden, Norway, 109,000
Seat 5 - Jean Montury, France, 92,000
Seat 6 - Sergio Castelluccio, Italy, 61,800
Seat 7 - Rhys Jones, United Kingdom, 86,400
Seat 8 - David Peters, United States, 105,800

The button was in Seat 4, Lodden's seat, and blinds were 1,500-3,000 (400 ante). All players were present and correct.

Hand 1 - Button with Johnny Lodden
Charlie Carrel, with one of five medium-to-short stacks at the table, but with the boldness in fashion choices to overcome any disadvantage, opened the first pot of the afternoon, making it 6,000 from mid-position. It was folded to Lodden on the button and the Team Pro, who had just been poring over the player list to get a feel of his opponents' stack, three-bet to 13,500.

"Here we go," I thought. "Here's Johnny."

The blinds folded and it came back around to Carrel. He folded too, and Lodden, in a bid to make it seem as though he only plays premium hands, showed his A♠K♦ to his table-mates. News flash: Johnny Lodden does not only play premium hands.

Hand 2 - Button with Jean Montury
This table boasted two players who recently enjoyed enormous boosts to their bankrolls. Jean Montury won the EPT Malta Main Event last month on the same night that David Peters won the EPT Malta High Roller, and both were looking for similar success here this month.

Peters opened the second pot of the day, making it 6,500 from under the gun, and action folded to Rhys Jones in the big blind. Jones called.


Rhys Jones and David Peters: Best of enemies

The flop came [10c]6♦2♠ and Jones checked. At around this time, Dan Heimiller was knocked out from a neighbouring table, beaten by Anton Astapau, and a flurry of activity broke out. But Peters seemed undisturbed and bet 7,500. Jones called.

"All in Table 13!" came the cry from the other side of our feature table, as another player went broke. But back with Jones and Peters, they saw a 9♥ turn and Jones checked again. Peters bet 17,900. Jones called.

The J♣ came on the river and Jones, with a heaving chest, took his time before checking. Peters flicked out a bet about 15,000 and Jones sensed that the call he was about to make was going to be what's described as of the "crying" variety. He duly did call and watched Peters roll over K♦Q♥ for a rivered straight. A frustrated Jones showed his 10-6 off-suit, which was now behind.

Jones was left with only a little more than 30,000.

Hand 3 - Button with Sergio Castelluccio
Action folded to Sergio Castelluccio, the EPT regular from Italy, who was on the button. He opened to 6,000 but, after David Peters shoved from the big blind, covering Castellucio, the button-raiser folded.

Hand 4 - Button with Rhys Jones
Having now sat out two hands, Johnny Lodden was steaming. Wouldn't you be! He opened the fourth hand of the day, making it 6,500 from early position. Jones, still licking his wounds from the confrontation with Peters, moved all in from the button, but may have feared the worst when Peters again took his time, pondering a move from the small blind.

Eventually Peters announced that he was all in, which covered Jones and certainly gave Lodden reason for caution. Lodden hastily got out of the way and it was the old enemies once more: Jones versus Peters.

It was a flip. Jones had A♥K♥ against Peters' T♥T♠. And although the flop was dry -- 7♠3♦8♠ -- the A♦ on the turn was all Jones needed to breathe again. The 4♥ on the river was meaningless and Jones counted his stack in preparation for its doubling. He had 32,100.

Hand 5 - Button with David Peters
Folded to Rhys Jones in the cut off, he opened to 6,500. This time nobody wanted to tangle and he took blinds and antes uncontested. On a neighbouring table, Luigi Serricchio became the latest to hit the rail: his pocket fives couldn't beat ace-jack. They were falling across the room.

Hand 6 - Button with Charlie Carrel
Montury hadn't played a pot so far, but seems more content than his neighbour not to get involved. However, he found something he liked on this hand and raised to 6,500 from early position. Everybody else folded.

Hand 7 - Button with Nikolay Tsanev
Charlie Carrel opened from the cut off, making it 6,000 to play, and Johnny Lodden defended from the big blind. The flop came 4♦9♠J♦ and both players checked. Lodden also checked the 9♥ turn, but Carrel didn't. He fired 10,000. And that turned out to be enough.

Hand 8 - Button with Marian Mitran
David Peters opened to 6,500 from under the gun and that won blinds and antes.
[As a veteran of several "A Round With..." blog posts, particularly rounds that tend to fizzle out before the end, I know it is sometimes wise to loiter a little longer than the strict boundaries of the "Round With" and try to get some bonus coverage. Therefore consider the next hand as a DVD extra.]

Hand 9 - Button with Johnny Lodden
Folded to Charlie Carrel in mid-position, the British player opened to 6,000. Nikolay Tsanev, to his immediate left, wanted to play for more and three bet to 16,300. Carrel wasn't having any of that, and he pushed out a four-bet to 31,000, which was the first seen at the table of the day.

Tsanev called, which took them to a flop of 5♥8♠5♠ and Carrel quickly announced that he was all in. Tsanev called immediately too and they flipped their cards. Carrel had hit top pair with his A♥8♦ but was not good enough to beat Tsanev's T♠T♦.

The turn and river brought no drama, and Carrel's race was run. "GG," he said -- he actually did say "GG", as in "Gee, gee" -- and headed out of the door.

They were a man down and had played the kind of orbit that suggests several more may perish too as play continues.

Follow all the action from the €10,000 Main Event on the Main Event page. Also watch on EPT Live. It's also about time you downloaded the EPT app. There you will get all the latest news, chip counts and payouts. You can download it on Android or IOS.