Poker players have in-built currency convertors, trading in denominations that many people don’t even know exist. Tournament chips are instantly converted into big blinds, VPPs in the online account are thought of in terms of buy ins. And when these human calculators travel the globe, as required by their profession, they flip between real-world currencies without even so much as a vexed nibble on the top of a pen.
Like many Norwegians, Eilert Eilertsen also trades in a currency named something like “Oslo Bar Beers” (let’s call them OBBs). Norway is one of the most expensive countries on the planet, where a single beer in a bar costs something approaching the equivalent of €9-€10 (ie, 1 OBB = 9 EUR). Eilertsen said that a six pack in Denmark (DSP – “Denmark Six Pack”) is the equivalent of one OBB, while you can buy 26 beers in a German supermarket (GSB – “German Supermarket Beers”) for the same price. That’s an exchange rate of 26:1 GSB:OBB. No wonder the Norwegians are having such a good time in Berlin this week.
You may remember Eilertsen from Deauville, where the 35-year-old finished 16th in what was only the second EPT event of his career. By day, Eilertsen works in IT in the financial sector, but after enjoying some success in a home game among friends, as well as online, he decided to chance his arm on the EPT this year.
“It’s my first season,” Eilertsen said. “I just wanted to try this and I promised myself I was going to play three EPTs this season and see how it went. I played Barcelona, Deauville and now here in Berlin. It’s going really well so far, so I’ve told myself that if I make the money here I’ll probably go to Monte Carlo as well.”
Ah, Monte Carlo. Probably the only other place in Europe where the beer prices will match up to Oslo.
Eilertsen is well set, though, for another run at the money. During the final break of day two, he had 360,000 chips, which was the third most in the room. He said he got off to a “lousy start” on day one, but then got on an extraordinary roll after the dinner break when he barely lost a pot, bagging up close to 120,000 at the close.
Then the early levels of today have been equally as profitable — he doubled up with kings and hasn’t looked back. Now he is sitting next to Kitty Kuo and busily vacuuming up chips, even as he checks his iPhone and iPad for the latest from the Twitter-sphere and beyond.
Eilertsen is hoping to lay to rest some lingering demons from Deauville, where he was eliminated late on day five by the eventual champion Remi Castaignon. But Eilertsen said the damage had been done earlier in the day, when Castaignon made a big bet into a two-million chip pot, forcing Eilertsen to fold his second pair (queens) on straightening and flushing board.
Eilertsen caught up with Castaignon here in Berlin and asked him about the hand, learning that he had been bluffed. (Castaignon said he had pocket twos.)
“He got the big stack, he went to the final table and he won,” Eilertsen said, with the matter-of-fact resignation that defines most poker players, also clearly happy that his chips had been put to good use. “I qualified for Deauville in a €23 satellite, with re-buys and add ons and I only took the add on, so all in all I can’t say anything else except I’m very happy. But I always set high goals for myself, so I’m not too happy with 16th. When I was there, I should have gone further.”
Eilertsen today is wearing the colours of Aston Villa, a soccer team that are, at time of writing, still in the English Premier League. But they are in a perilous state, only one place above the relegation zone, with only five matches left to save their status. Sixteenth for Aston Villa, which would mean they would stay in the top flight, would be a dream.
“There’s a large portion of Norwegian men who are interested in English football, perhaps more so than Norwegian football,” Eilertsen said. “About 15 years ago, when Dalian Atkinson and Dean Saunders and those guys were playing, I thought they (Aston Villa) were playing an extremely interesting and a fun style to watch. When you’re a little boy, and see that kind of stuff and you love football…” He then drifted off into the kind of happy memories that only sports fans really know.
We’ll keep an eye on Eilertsen, and Aston Villa, for that matter. And the exchange rate for OBBs. And if it all goes wrong for all of them, we’ll stock up on GSBs just in case.
Don’t forget the way to follow our main event coverage. There’s hand-by-hand stuff, including chip counts, in the panel at the top of the main EPT Berlin page. There will be feature pieces below that panel, including updates from the side events. EPT Live is now live. And everything to do with the European Poker Tour is on the European Poker Tour site.