EPT12 Malta: Niko Soininen makes a name for himself

EPT 12 Malta Event 58 Niko Soininen-6140.jpg

Niko Soininen: Has been bubbling under for a while

When we last dipped into the side events at EPT Malta, Justin Bonomo and Anthony Zinno were celebrating victories while players in the €5,000 Hyper Turbo and the €500 Limit Stud Hi/Lo & Omaha Hi/Lo were edging into the late stages.

While we were all asleep, here's how the rest of the day panned out:

The late-starting hyper-turbo has proved to be a hit among the top pros and, after Theo Jorgensen won a version of it a couple of days ago, the €5K renewal was even more popular. Jason Mercier stone-bubbled but Ole Schemion, Adrian Mateos, Scott Seiver, Liv Boeree and Piotr Franczak, all of whom have made at least one major EPT final table, found themselves in the final seven.

However, they also all found themselves looking up at Niko Soininen, from Finland, who is earning himself a reputation as one to watch in Malta.


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According to sources in the Finnish media, Soininen's success here is no surprise. "He is one of those guys who has been bubbling under," Jussi Tyriseva, a Finnish reporter, said. "There are some guys who say he is almost as good as Jens Kyllonen in PLO."

Tyriseva repeated that PLO is Soininen's favoured game, even if his breakout successes in Malta have been in hold 'em. He finished fifth in the one-day €10,000 High Roller for a career-best live cash of €95,925 and then picked up another €84,030 for victory in the €5K. "I'm not sure if he wants to play €100Ks, but he could play any tournament he likes," Tyriseva said, indicating that Soininen has been playing and winning for quite a while.

Full results are on the side events results page.

There were two Italians in the winner's circle last night as well with Pasquale Gregorio beating 43 players to win the €500 Limit Stud Hi/Lo & Omaha Hi/Lo and Gianluca Grasso triumphing from a field of 196 in the €200 Win The Button. They picked up €7,090 and €8,420, respectively.

Marcin Horecki secured a min-cash in the Stud/Omaha event--€1,460 for sixth--adding that small chunk of change to the €1,055 he won in one of the first "Flipout" tournaments last Friday.

Today in Casino Portomaso, the Main Event plays down to its last two tables while the €10,000 High Roller gets under way and plays ten levels. The focus of most coverage will be on them.

But also on the schedule are another €5,000 Hyper Turbo, the first two flights of a €300 no limit hold 'em event (one entry per flight, 1c tomorrow) and day 1 of a €1,000 of a PLO tournament. There's also another €1,000 Hyper Turbo starting at 11pm.

In the novelty new games category, we also have the first ever €500 Limit Splitsville Dealer's Choice event, which lumps together all the Split Pot games. In case you can't name those off the top of your head, they are hold 'em hi/lo, pineapple hi/lo, crazy pineapple hi/lo, 4/5/6 card Omaha hi-lo, seven card stud hi/lo, super stud hi/lo, badacey, badeucey and razzdugi, with the dealer allowed to choose.

It promises to be largely unplayable, which will be right up plenty of players' streets and will make the €100 Deuces Wild turbo (with unlimited rebuys), which is also starting, seem positively tame.

Meanwhile, the €1,000 two-day hold 'em event will play to its winner. Frederik Jensen was leading the last 46 players (from a starting 205) chasing a €48,000 first prize. They are fairly close to the money now with 31 players getting paid. Also still in contention are Kenny Hallaert, Bart Lybaert, Remi Wyrzykiewicz, best friends Charlie Carrel and Ben Heath, Vladimir Troyanovskiy, Jose Quintas, Erwann Pecheux and EPT7 Player of the Year Ondrej Vinklarek.

Everything about EPT Malta is on the main EPT Malta page. More specifically, all the hand-by-hand coverage of the Main Event is on the Main Event page and everything from the side events is on the side events page.

No really, begin plotting your own bid for EPT glory by downloading the PokerStars client and having a crack. Follow this EPT event via the EPT app. There you will get all the latest news, chip counts and payouts. You can download it on Android or IOS

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour