In online poker tournaments, Niklas “lena900” Åstedt is an easy man to find.
You’ll find him running deep in just about every big event. You’ll find him near the top of every “best tournament player ever” poll worth its salt. And when it comes to all-time earnings, you’ll find him in second place, at the time of writing.
But in live poker tournaments, specifically today, on Day 2 of the European Poker Tour (EPT) Main Event in Paris, one of the best tournament players of all time just wouldn’t stay still.
In the 18 years that the PokerStars Blog has existed, we’ve stood quietly aside countless tables to bring you an “orbit with” some of the game’s biggest names. From Phil Ivey to Liv Boeree, there are very few poker players we haven’t had a round with over the years.
Today, we wanted to add Åstedt–one of the best to ever do it–to that extraordinary list. We wanted to learn from the legend and share his teachings.
But this tournament had other plans.
ONLINE POKER’S ALL-TIME MONEY WINNERS
Before we whisk you away to the tournament floor at EPT Paris, let’s take a look at online tournament poker’s biggest winners (according to PokerStake) and find out how many played in this €5,300 Main Event.
TOP 10 ALL-TIME EARNERS ONLINE:
- Simon “C Darwin2” Mattsson (Sweden) – $29,266,236
- Niklas “lena900” Åstedt (Sweden) – $24,924,512
- Sami “LarsLuzak” Kelopuro (Finland) – $22,371,322
- Chris “moorman1” Moorman (UK) – $21,373,091
- Jon “apestyles” Van Fleet (Canada) – $21,333,236
- Elio “smokrokflok” Fox (USA) – $20,377,618
- “Hello_totti” (Russia) – $18,411,209
- Conor “1_conor_b_1” Beresford (UK) – $17,959,332
- Patrick “pads1161” Leonard (UK) – $17,959,332
- Chris “imdanuts” Oliver (Costa Rica) – $17,526,575
The leader of the pack by more than $4 million is Simon “C Darwin2” Mattsson, who fired two bullets into the EPT Paris Main on Day 1B. Alas, he couldn’t find a bag on either attempt.
That means there are just two from the official list remaining in the field: Åstedt (second), and the UK’s Conor “1_conor_b_1” Beresford (eighth).
But let’s not forget, PokerStake can only track those who have an active profile.
Joao “Naza114” Vieira, for example, does not have a PokerStake profile and therefore his results are not tracked. But the last time he revealed his results it was already well above $20 million, so we’d bet the house that he would be among those at the top of the list.
A ROUND WITH LENA900
Unless you’re a top poker pro yourself–in fact, even if you are–Åstedt is not a man you want to see pull up a chair at your table. In this attempt at an “orbit with”, we got to witness the reactions to this scenario twice.
Blinds 1K/2K with a 2K big blind ante
- Seat one: Corentin Ropert (UK) – 237,000
- Seat two: Malo Latinois (France) – 40,000
- Seat three: (empty)
- Seat four: Julius Kettunen (Finland) – 178,000
- Seat five: Andreas Vlachos (Greece) – 40,000
- Seat six: Niklas “lena900” Astedt (Sweden) – 280,000
- Seat seven: Daniyar Aubakirov (Kazakhstan) – 195,000
- Seat eight: Ryan Yu (Japan) – 130,000
We arrived at Åstedt’s table to find him with around 280,000 in front of him, good for the largest stack at the table. The dealer was shuffling the cards. And then our orbit began.
As if he knew (he definitely didn’t), Åstedt kicked off the orbit by opening to 4,500 from the hijack. We were off to a flyer, but alas, everyone else tossed their cards in the muck and the bet and blinds slid Åstedt’s way.
Åstedt did the same on the next hand, this time opening from the lojack. The second largest stack on the table belonged to Corentin Ropert from the UK, and he made the call on the button. The two went heads up to a Q♣ J♣ 8♠ and Åstedt put out a continuation bet of 4,000. Ropert didn’t budge.
The 8♥ landed on the turn, pairing the board, and both players checked to see the 4♣ river. Åstedt led for 8,000 into a pot of 22,000, and that was enough to get Ropert to lay it down.
UNDER THE GUN
Åstedt got out of the way in this hand, but Ropert was back in action, making it 4,500 to go from the cutoff. Finland’s Julius Kettunen called from the small blind, and Andreas Vlachos from Greece made the call in the big blind, getting a good price.
The dealer spread a 4♣ 6♦ 6♥ flop and Ropert continued for 5,500 when it checked to him. Ketunnen then bumped it up to 13,000, getting a fold from Vlachos and a call from Ropert.
The 8♥ turn slowed Kettunen down and both checked, bringing the 2♥ on the river. The two knuckled once again and Ropert mucked after Kettunen tabled 3♥ 3♦ .
Åstedt was now in the big blind–a scary proposition. But that didn’t stop Kazakhstan’s Daniyar Aubakirov from opening to 4,500 under the gun. Everyone folded and Åstedt defended, bringing a flop of 9♠ 7♠ J♥ . Åstedt checked, and Aubakirov quickly checked behind.
The Swede opted to lead out on the 4♥ turn, only for Aubakirov to raise to 16,000. Åstedt snap-folded.
TABLE BREAK #1
At this point, a member of the PokerStars floor team arrived with a tablet and an armful of chip racks. The table was breaking and our orbit with Åstedt–which I’m sure you’ll agree was just getting interesting–was cut down in its prime.
Åstedt didn’t have far to go, though, moving just two tables down. His new tablemates included fellow MTT beast Alexandros “Mexican222” Kolonias, and the two began to chat.
However, two hands later (Åstedt folded both) their conversation was cut short. It was now time for this table to break too, so he was on the move again.
TABLE BREAK #2
And at this point, we decided to leave the poor guy alone.