EPT Copenhagen: The Scandiavian Poker Awards comes to town

When the EPT reaches Copenhagen each year its welcome party tends to be more than just that – and for the second year running it plays host to the PokerStars Scandinavian Poker Awards.

As anyone familiar with the evolution of poker over the last decade will know Scandinavia – that’s Sweden, Norway and Denmark to be precise – has produced some of the finest, hard playing, aggressive, sick (insert own adjective here) players in the game.

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No doubt someone one day will come up with a definitive answer as to why Scandinavia of all places produces a higher rate of poker players than anywhere else. Maybe it’s the long nights, the heavy winters or an untapped competitive nature. But for now, or tonight at least, it was raise your glass time as Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu hosted the awards, stunning everyone this new found talent.

Despite claiming it went badly in rehearsals Daniel had the crowds in good cheer as he chatted with the winners before giving way to Danish dancing pop maestros Alcazar to get the local poker public into the spirit of tournament eve – the last night where you can elaborate on the dream of walking away from here a winner. At least in private.

In all there were five categories with awards up for grabs, selected and voted on by a jury of magazine editors and writers from Sweden, Norway and Denmark. So who were the winners?

Best Live Player –Gus Hansen (Denmark)

“Having played against Gus I have to say... I am shocked!” joked Daniel. Gus fired back with his own one-liners – finding a game with Daniel if he needed money - and agreed that the award must have come from his tournament performance, referring to his cash play as “pretty swingy.”

Best online player –Jonas "Nebuchad" Danielsson (Sweden)

Asked about the source of his unusual nickname Jonas cited the name of the ship in the film The Matrix as his inspiration (the whole word ‘Nebuchadnezzar’ wouldn’t fit). The young and slightly nervous Swede accepted the award as the latest player to gain international recognition tearing up the tables online.

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Jonas 'Nebuchad' Danielsson

Best Rookie –Trond Eidsvig (Norway)

Trond has had a great year in the EPT and around the world. Trond talked of having only played live for one year and having no particular poker heroes. “Except him of course” he said, pointing towards Thor Hansen who had presented the award.

Best female player – Annette Obrestad (Norway)

There were few surprises in this category with Annette Obrestad happily named winner. Annette was on good form, speaking English in a quick and slightly American accent, referring to two bets with Daniel - a yet unpaid “last longer dinner bet” and another for $1,000...

“I swear I’ve got it” he said “just give me a week!” With both playing this week they could just make it double or nothing.

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Annette Obrestad receiving her award

Best performance –Annette Obrestad (Norway)

Another trip to the stage and a second award for the diminutive Norwegian. Annette took poker by storm in the WSOP Europe and then again at the EPT Dublin. Not to mention the countless legendary stories from the internet. Daniel picked up on that and asked about the now legendary story of a 180 seat tournament she played without looking at her cards. Was it true?

“I did look once.” Admitted Annette.

“Cheater!” joked Daniel, but few could doubt what an achievement her award was. Few players would manage that, let along the blind sit and go. As Daniel put it... “Don’t try that at home.”

That was the awards done for another year. Or was it? There was room left for one special award for one of the game’s legends. Before a lot of the current generation of players were even born a certain Thor Hansen was plying his trade in Las Vegas where others had not yet tread. The lifetime achievement award went naturally to Thor Hansen.

Daniel told the now famous story, originating from Thor’s response to an interviewer, after he’d won a million dollars in one of the first big tournaments. Asked what he intended to do with the money Thor said “I’ll probably pay a few bills, settle a few debts.”

“Yes, but what will you do with the rest?” asked the interviewer.

“Oh, they’ll have to wait.”

The story has been told many times and is always good for a laugh. But was it just a joke? “I’m the only one who knows that story is the truth!” said Thor.

All that was left were the victory photos and a few minutes navigating the strong tides of a free bar. You can find out how Thor and the other award winners get on when the EPT Copenhagen starts tomorrow at 2pm local time. They’ll have the likes of Team PokerStars pro Daniel Negreanu and a few hundred others to keep them company.

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Thor Hansen, Daniel Negreanu and Gus Hansen pose for photos

Thor will have his game face back on, Jonas Danielsson will be hoping his online skills hold steady in the real world, Trond Eidsvig will be putting his rookie status behind him, Gus Hansen will be avoiding the swings of his cash game play and Annette Obrestad will almost certainly be looking at her cards. Full details will be here on the PokerStars blog.

Stephen Bartley
@StephenBartley in EPT Copenhagen