EPT Warsaw: The unofficial feature table
There may not be cameras at the EPT Warsaw but there’s little doubt which table would be the feature one had there been. It’s table one, squeezed into the far and dark recesses of the tournament area, beneath electric fans vaguely trying to push the flow of fudgy warm air through the dungeon. This is where PokerStars sponsored player Sebastian Ruthenberg, Henrik Gwinner, Thierry van der Berg, Theo Jorgensen, Claus Nielsen and Andreas Hagen sit.
It was already heating up when I arrived, Claus Nielsen having made a raise of 20k on a board of 7-J-9-Q. Andreas Hagen was in the tank, the slowest riffler in the game in these moments, his lip loaded heavily with Snus (nicotine based) and his eyes hidden behind wrap-around sunglasses and a black baseball cap. He may be a primary school teacher in a previous life, but he can still manage a fierce look at the table.
He goes for his chips, then changes his mind and goes back into the tank. Theo Jorgensen calls time and Hagen gets his minute. Half way through he calls.
The river is an ace. Nielsen bets again, 26k this time. Hagen doesn’t need anywhere near as much time to fold.
“River?” Thierry van der Berg asks Claus, without an answer.
“Nobody will ever know...” says Theo Jorgensen.
Whilst Claus now sits with over 190k and the chip lead, there’s little doubt this puts Andreas Hagen’s tournament on the line. But he didn’t take long to plug the lump leads and electrify his stack back to average, all coming in a hand against Henrik Gwinner.
The board read 9-6-J-J-5. Notably Gwinner checked the turn, soon discovered to be a suicidal move when Hagen moved all-in on the river. Gwinner called, showed his A-J for a set, only for Hagen to show him 7-8 for a river made straight.
“Ouch! So sick” said Thierry van der Berg. And as if Henrik wasn’t feeling bad enough... “And you checked the turn! My god...”
It’s a huge pot for Hagen and cripples Gwinner who to his credit makes little fuss in paying the Norwegian off. Thierry van der Berg was still “wowing” to himself some time later, comforting Gwinner with some well meant pats on the back.
That was until Thierry’s own big hand came along...
An all-in with A-Q, called by Theo Jorgensen with A-K. It pushed Van der Berg to the brink of elimination as he stood to watch his fate. He said a few words, something about bad hands and bad flops – in the same way you’d say a few words at a funeral - and prepared to leave.
Until a queen hit the flop that is, saving Thierry and spinning the fickle beast of bad fortune towards Jorgensen.
“Sorry Theo” said Thierry, all of a sudden back from the dead.
Photos © Neil Stoddart