Eureka3 Croatia: Lodden loving life

"It was the best feeling I've had in poker," says Johnny Lodden, his poker face breaking out into a grin. "Making it to that final table was amazing. I've had a lot of top 20 finishes so to make it to the final at the Grand Final with the players who were left was awesome."

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Lodden - made the toughest EPT final table in history

The Norwegian Team PokerStars Pro speaks of course of the EPT Grand Final main event, at which he finished third earlier this month for a lifetime best live cash of $612,355. The final table, which also included: Daniel Negreanu, Steve O'Dwyer, Jake Cody and Jason Mercier is rated to be the toughest ever in EPT main events.

Lodden, who has a propensity to lose a big stack as quickly as he can run one up, led at the end of Day 3 when 34 remained, was third with 16 left but almost didn't make the final at all.

With ten players remaining Lodden was all-in with A♥Q♦, Steve O'Dwyer had pocket nines and Vasili Firsau was also all-in with A♠5♦. A 9♣5♣2♠ flop left Lodden and Firsau with a 1% chance to win the hand. It duly arrived as the turn and river fell 4♦3♦ and both made a five high straight. "Win one time, I thought to myself," said Lodden about that hand. And Lodden banishes that myth that only the winner is happy at the end of a poker tournament. "I finished third and I can tell you I was happy," he tells me.

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Lodden was happy to make the podium

He's made the journey to Dubrovnik to take part in the Eureka Poker Tour, he went deep in a SCOOP event last night that meant he didn't show his face in this tournament until the third level. He intimated yesterday to me that he prefers playing live saying: "As a pro a lot of players either want to bluff you or are scared to play pots with you. The skill is working out who's who. Live players get scared to bluff and just give up, whereas online they can just click a button."

He's not really got anything going as yet today in the live arena, his stack as we approach the end of level five is 17,825.

Tournament Update: Just 141 of the 172 Day 1B entrants remain, a notable elimination is Full Tilt Poker Ambassador Andras Nemeth he tweeted:

One player who is still in as blinds are about to go to 200 - 400 ante 50 (average stack is 24,575) is Team PokerStars Pro Dag Palovic, he's up to 59,000 and is one of the chip leaders, in part due to cracking aces.

And a €275 pot-limit Omaha side event has just started, Team Online's Dale Philip is one of 25 players who have hopped into that and it sounds like a fun tournament.

PokerStars Blog reporting team in Croatia: Nick Wright. Photos by Ivan Dabac.

Nick Wright
@PokerStars in Eureka Poker Tour