Nobody was really that surprised when the Finns started season nine in winning Fashion. They didn’t exactly win the opening event in Barcelona exactly, but they could have if they’d wanted too. Such is the monotone insouciance of the Finns, or Ilari Sahamies and Joni Jouhkimainen at least.
But there was a third Finn that week back in Spain, who led on day one. He didn’t reach the final table as his countrymen did, missing out on a public appearance in a sequined hat, but he did go deep, finishing in 14th position. But he did make people suspect that we might be seeing him again at some point.
Well, that some point has arrived. Aku Joentausta led last night and still leads today, having increased his stack by 200,000 to more than 900,000. Is he going to bookend the season with another deep run. It looks like it, and Finnish reporter Jussi Tyriseve isn’t surprised.
“So often they think he has nothing,” said Tyriseve. “I don’t know why he has that image.”
Somehow Finland produces more than its fair share of world class poker players, including such talents as Patrick Antonius, Juha Helppi, Jens Kyllonen, Ville Wahlbeck and Sami Kelopuro, not to mention Ilari Sahamies, who Tyriseve says is who Joentausta most reminds him of.
He doesn’t have Sahamies’ image,” said Tyriseve, who has covered the EPT since its early days, watching the likes of Antonius on the best in the world. “But he’s a bit like him in the way he plays.”
Joentausta stacking up
It’s a tough reputation to emulate, but Joentausta, the first player into seven figures in Berlin, is demonstrating remarkable talent. With the spotlight now upon him Joentausta, looking composed and sure of himself, will get a second chance to prove himself on a major stage, with a better performance to that recorded in Spain. He has the talent and now he has the chips.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter