EPT Copenhagen: The tour reaches Scandinavia

“I sailed up the Skagerrak
And sailed down the Kattegat
Through the harbor and up to the quay
And there she stands waiting for me
With a welcome so warm and so gay
Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen”

From the film 'Hans Christian Andersen' (1952)

That may be the first time the lyrics to a song once sung by Danny Kaye have been linked with poker but we’re in fairy tale country here on the banks of the Christianshavns Kanal and at least one man or woman will this week keep the fairytale alive with one of the biggest EPT prize pools ever created. We’re in Denmark - Sweden is on the horizon and Norway just beyond that. It’s the backyard of one of internet poker’s melting pots and Casino Copenhagen waits for this next stop of the European Poker Tour.

I did want to sail down the Kattegat, I really did – but the tournament area is conveniently placed in the same building as the hotel so I didn’t need to. Besides it looked cold outside. But nevertheless Joseph Locke/ Danny Kaye/ Hans Christian Andersen had it right – Copenhagen is the EPT’s jaunt to the shores of Scandinavia – the melting pot of internet poker – and stands as one of its picturesque. Anyone with a late hangover from the good beer and pleasant but nothing picture book image of Dortmund will find welcome respite in amongst the zigzag rivers of Copenhagen.

What Danny Kaye didn’t mention was the 500 plus fresh faced local poker players lining up to register for an EPT. Maybe that was the tavern light. But while Hans Christian Andersen was content with the simple pleasures of 19th century life 2008 requires a little more action.

The final Last year provided a humdinger from start to finish. If you’re trying to think back remember Richard Toth claiming to have a read of Theo Jorgensen, deeming him to be on a bluff, only for Jorgensen to turn over aces (can there be a sweeter moment?) and then heads-up, a 45 minutes joust between ElkY Grospellier and Magnus Pettersson.

ElkY held a massive lead going into the heads-up and under the TV lights he looked like the champion in waiting. But Petersson refused to give up, staggering back into contention then dealing the hammer blow and giving ElkY a lesson in poker on the way. Anyone who saw ElkY’s contorted face of agony that day will understand the flip side joy he felt taking down the PCA last month.

If this years’ event throws up anything similar we’re in for a treat but we’ll settle for the kind of poker that has built reputations in these parts. The list of those playing should throw up a few things to comment on...

Mads Andersen -- Denmark
Danish pro Mads was the season 2 Copenhagen winner beating Edgar Skjervold in the longest ever heads up match the EPT has ever seen, stretching on to 3.30am. Whilst casino staff and TV people eyed the clock Andersen survived to win DKr 2,548,040.

Barny Boatman -- England
The Hendon Mobster is a regular in Copenhagen and will be looking to revitalise EPT form. He has two cashes to his EPT record – 22nd in the season one grand final and 22nd in London in season three.

Noah Boeken – Team PokerStars Pro -- Holland
The Team PokerStars Pro was the winner here in season one, a result that launched him into the poker limelight. Cashes have followed and a reputation precedes him. Can he make it two EPT wins in Copenhagen?

Fuat Can -- Sweden
The Adrian Brody of poker, Iranian born Can flies the flag for Sweden now and has cashes in Sweden, Europe and the United States. His first EPT cash came in London this season.

Bill Chen – Team PokerStars Pro – United States
The Team PokerStars Pro is over from the States to sample European hospitality. The double WSOP bracelet winner is looking for his first EPT cash.

Jons ‘Nebuchad’ Danielsson -- Sweden
Now with the trophy of “Best Online Player” on his shelf at home following the Scandinavian Poker Awards last night he’ll be looking to make a mark in live poker and we’ll soon see how his online game translates into the real world.

Peter Eichhardt -- Sweden
He looks like an ancient warrior but the mild mannered Swede will be looking to go beyond his final table bests of 7th in London in season one and 8th in Baden in season three.

Trond Eidsvig -- Norway
Another winner at the Scandinavian Poker Awards for best rookie, Trond is leaving an Eidsvig shaped hole wherever he plays, with EPT final tables this year in Barcelona and Dublin as well as winner the Amsterdam Master Classic last November.

Michael Greco -- England
The former actor on the TV soap opera Eastenders is now a regular open the UK and European poker circuit with a win in the UK Poker Tour among his triumphs. He also made the final table in Dublin in season two and a result better than that will leave him laughing.

ElkY Grospellier – Team PokerStars Pro -- France
Runner up last year after a superb heads-up match with Magnus Pettersson. He has a PCA win to his name now but there’s no harm in trying to win a second EPT. He looks lighter these days and still looks dangerous at the table. He’s definitely a candidate for first double winner.

Gus Hansen -- Denmark
Winner of Best Performance at the Scandinavian Poker Awards the legendary and volatile Dane comes home to contest his local EPT. Famous for high stakes games as well as a style of play with more similarities to chaos theory than poker theory, he can never be written off.

Thor Hansen -- Norway
Lifetime achievement award winner at Scandinavian poker awards last night the old dog has some fight in him yet and cashed last month in Dortmund.

Juha Helppi -- Finland
A WPT winner and WSOP event runner up is looking to move beyond bridesmaid status in the EPT. He has yet to cash on the tour despite career tournament winnings of over $1.8 million.

Andreas Hoivold -- Norway
Andreas won the EPT Dortmund in season 3 and returns to Copenhagen looking to his second title. Someone will become a multiple EPT winner one day and he sits among the favourites.

Annette Obrestad -- Norway
Multiple winner at the Scandinavian Poker Awards last night the name Annette is enough to send shivers down the spines of any poker player. They may not like to admit it but the five foot tall Obrestad is a mean giant at the table, as well as a polite 19 year old off it. Second in Dublin left her seething and with the taste for revenge.

Kristian Kjondal -- Norway
A third place finish in Prague, as well as countless other results, cemented Kjondal’s reputation as one of those players who don’t want pulling up a chair at your table. Third place didn’t satisfy him in Prague – only an EPT title will leave him smiling.

Alexander Kravchenko -- Russia
The Russian WSOP bracelet winner is playing a few more EPTs these days. He’s yet to cash at an EPT but his cold steel form came at the world series where he cashed seven times, making four final tables. He even looks scary.

Johnny Lodden -- Norway
Last year’s Scandinavian Poker Awards featured a rap group debuting their track ‘Johnny Lodden’s Rockets’. He was rookie of the year last year and now is more of an old pro but is always lethal on the EPT, having cashed four times in season three and once this year in Dublin.

Sander Lylloff -- Denmark
The EPT Barcelona winner took €1,170,700 earlier this year. The Dane also final tabled at the grand final in season one.

Dario Minieiri – Team PokerStars Pro -- Italy
Among the Team PokerStars Pros featuring on day 1a and distinguished by a trademark Gold and Maroon AS Roma football scarf. Since Baden in season three Dario has been in hot pursuit of a second EPT final table – a pursuit he could technically carry out in the Ferrari he bought with Frequent Player Points.

Daniel Negreanu – Team PokerStars Pro -- Canada
Another Team PokerStars Pro and able host of last night’s Award ceremony, Daniel’s reputation is not lacking any PR and he’ll be ‘boy most photographed’ today. He sits alongside four PokerStars qualifiers who may have a few stories to tell by the end of the day. Good or bad stories? We’ll wait and see.

Magnus Pettersson -- Sweden
The conqueror of ElkY last year and current Copenhagen champion. Two in a row is a tall order but the Ed Harris look-a-like will have his sights set on just that.

Sebastian Ruthenberg – PokerStars Sponsored Player -- Germany
Sebastian finished second at the EPT Dortmund to Andreas Hoivold last year. Known as ‘luckbox’ in his native Germany he also narrowly missed out on a WCOOP bracelet last year.

Julian Thew -- England
EPT Baden winner, a recent GUKPT winner and all round top player. Julian is on fine form and second in the EPT Tournament Leader Board (behind Team PokerStars Pro ElkY Grospellier).

Martin Vallo -- Denmark
Popular Danish pro has been quiet on the EPT of late but no Dane can turn down a chance of glory at his home event.

Thierry Van Der Berg -- Holland
The Dutchman has had a break out year on the EPT this season with three cashes and two final tables this year. Dublin was a highlight where he finished 8th.

Martin Wendt -- Denmark
The bald man with the big headphones is still looking for his first EPT final table. Copenhagen would be the ideal place for the local man to make a mark.

We’re about to start. If you’re in the area and have a spare 50,000 Danish Krona I’m afraid we’re full, but thanks for thinking of us. You can follow the action here though and later in the week when the EPT Live Teams are plugged in for action. We’ll also have regular video blogs throughout the day.

Blinds are 25/50, tournament director Thomas Kremser has the mike. Welcome to Wonderful Wonderful Copenhagen - shuffle up and deal...


Stephen Bartley
@StephenBartley in EPT Copenhagen