As poker players, reporters, and fans descended upon Copenhagen, Denmark for the PokerStars.com European Poker Tour event to begin on February 16, they settled in and near the Casino Copenhagen for another of the Season 6 stops on the tour. But on the night before play was set to begin, PokerStars hosted a night of honors with the Nordic Poker Awards at a local nightclub.
The Nordic Poker Awards looked at the top players from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland and allowed voting to take place in several categories to determine each winner. In the end, several players took home awards, including Kristoffer “Sumpas” Thorsson from Sweden as the Rookie of the Year for winning the high roller WCOOP event and the Master Classics of Poker in Amsterdam. Patrik Antonius of Finland was awarded Best Online Player of the Year for his successes in high stakes online play. But the biggest winner was Ville Wahlbeck of Finland, who not only captured the title of Best Live Tournament Player of the Year for his six cashes at the 2009 World Series of Poker, which included four final tables and one bracelet victory, but he also won the Best Performance of the Year.
When the celebrations settled down, players rested up for the EPT Copenhagen Main Event. Last year’s tournament found 462 players, a prize pool of €2,976,644, and Jens Kyllonen defeating the rest of the field to take the title and €878,110 in first place money. But it would be after two starting days’ numbers were tallied before the 2010 event would have its overall numbers.
Day 1A started with players trickling in to the tournament area, and some of the names of those taking their seats included Annette Obrestad, Jan Skampa, Thomas Bichon, Arnaud Mattern, Johnny Lodden, Dario Minieri, Peter Hedlund, and Jeff Sarwer. When registration closed for the day, the field was 191 players strong, though only 113 survived through the eight levels. And when chip counts were in, it was Andrew Pantling in first place with 155,800, followed by Johnny Ostbjerg and his 117,000.
Day 1B saw another 232 players reporting to the tables, which created a total field of 423 and prize pool of €1,909,000. Among those starting the day with chips were Freddy Deeb, Peter Eastgate, Jesper Hougaard, Maxim Lykov, Juha Helppi, William Thorson, Marc Naalden, Viktor Blom, Bertrand Grospellier, Sebastian Ruthenberg, and returning champion Jens Kyllonen. When all was said and done, there were 130 survivors, and Ilkka Koshinen was in the chip lead with 140,900. Second place was held down by Sebastian Ruthenberg and his stack of 140,800.
The remaining 243 players gathered for Day 2 of the tournament, and the field quickly diminished throughout the day. And along the way in the latter levels, players like Dario Minieri, Ruben Visser, Johnny Lodden, Luca Pagano, and 2009 champion Jens Kyllonen were eliminated. Only 76 competitors survived the day, including Annette Obrestad, the only woman to play the EPT Copenhagen. Chip counts showed that Csaba Toth was at the top of the leaderboard with 561,900 chips, followed by Fabian Gentile with 413,300. The rest of the top five included Stig Rossen, Kristoffer Thorsson, and Roberto Romanello.
Day 3 started with 76 players and the money bubble soon neared. Hand-for-hand play went into effect with 57 players remaining, and it took quite a long time to bust through, as many players doubled up in the process. But finally, it was Craig Hopkins who pushed his last 77K into the pot with pocket queens, and Morten Guldhammer called with . The board came , and the flopped pair of kings was all it took to eliminate Hopkins in 57th place on the money bubble.
Mark Bech was the first player to cash in the tournament, taking home 55,000 DKK for 56th place. Notables who followed him to the cashier cage included Csaba Toth in 41st place, Bertrand Grospellier in 40th, and Juha Helppi in 34th. And with the elimination of Jens Sundberg in 25th place, the action was stopped. Chips were counted and bagged, and Roberto Romanello had the most with a stack of 1,400,000. Second place was Andrew Teng with 1,005,000, and the rest of the top five were Anton Wigg, Damien Fouquet, and Paul Szyszko.
Day 4 started with 24 players with the intention of finding its final table of eight by the end of the day. The 24th place elimination of Niccolo Calia got things rolling, and notable Peter Eastgate finished in 22nd place not long after. But it wasn’t until hours later that the field thinned to only 12 players. Andrew Teng then left in 12th place, followed by Mads Wissing. And eventually, Paul Szyszko, the last American player at the table, pushed all-in with against the of Magnus Borg Hansen, but the board came to send Szyszko home in tenth place with 215,000 DKK.
The last nine players were seated at a single table, and play went on…and on. It was nearly two hours later that the tournament director finally decided to call it a night with those nine remaining. That meant that the final day of action would first see one player eliminated and then see the official final table play out. Chip counts and seating assignments were as follows:
Seat 1: Jesper Petersen 968,000
Seat 2: Francesco de Vivo 2,073,000
Seat 3: Yorane Kerignard 1,164,000
Seat 4: Magnus Borg Hansen 1,164,000
Seat 5: Anton Wigg 1,412,000
Seat 6: Morten Guldhammer 2,033,000
Seat 7: Richard Loth 1,436,000
Seat 8: Roberto Romanello 1,551,000
Seat 9: Morten Klein 748,000
No amount of sleep made the action move any faster. Players returned to the table, and under the EPT lights and cameras, proceeded to play as slowly as the night before. But considering how much money was on the line, the reasons were clear. Within the first hour, the most significant action found Klein doubling up through Guldhammer with pocket aces.
Play finally sped up a bit, and Wigg and Hansen got involved. After Wigg made an initial raise, Hansen moved all-in with pocket tens, and Wigg called with . The flop came to give Wigg the pair of kings and the advantage, and the turn and river cards ran out - and to seal the deal. Magnus Borg Hansen was the first to be eliminated from the final table, taking home 215,000 DKK for ninth place.
The official final table was then set as follows:
Seat 1: Jesper Petersen 1,316,000
Seat 2: Francesco de Vivo 1,368,000
Seat 3: Yorane Kerignard 1,060,000
Seat 4: Anton Wigg 2,560,000
Seat 5: Morten Guldhammer 1,301,000
Seat 6: Richard Loth 1,436,000
Seat 7: Roberto Romanello 1,685,000
Seat 8: Morten Klein 1,732,000
Petersen lost even more chips and was the first to make a move from the new final table, and he pushed preflop with . Wigg was the original raiser and made the call for 414K with . The first card on the flop of hit Wigg and gave him the pair, and he escaped any bad news when the turn brought the and the river the . That left Jesper Peterson with 282,800 DKK for the eighth place finish.
Another hour passed before they experienced another all-in, and this time it resulted in Loth doubling through Romanello when A-J bested A-Q.
But it was a different two players that tangled and found one of them leaving the action. Guldhammer started the hand with a raise, but Kerignard reraised from the big blind. Guldhammer decided to move all-in with , and Kerignard didn’t hesitate to call with pocket queens. The board came , and the river card only solidified the outcome by giving Kerignard the set of queens. Morten Guldhammer was ousted in seventh place with 425,000 DKK.
The aforementioned Romanello came back from Loth’s previous double-up, but the aggression he used came back to bite him. The hand that did it started with Romanello raising, but when Wigg reraised, Romanello pushed all-in. Wigg couldn’t have called any quicker with pocket aces, and Romanello was caught with . The flop of gave him a lot of help with the pair of nines and the flush draw, but the rest of the board - on the turn and on the river - didn’t cooperate. Roberto Romanello was gone in sixth place with 570,000 DKK.
Five-handed action saw Wigg with a sizable lead over the rest of the pack with his stack of over 5 million, and Kerignard was in second with just over 3 million. Klein hovered above the 2 million mark, while Loth and de Vivo struggled to stay above 1 million.
The two short stacks then tangled, and de Vivo doubled through Loth with A-J over pocket sixes when an ace came on the flop. That left Loth with 45K. Loth quickly put those chips all-in, and de Vivo and Kerignard called, checking down the entire board. When de Vivo showed Q-J for top pair, his two opponents folded, and Richard Loth left the tournament in fifth place with 715,000 DKK.
It didn’t take long after that for Kerignard to get involved with Wigg. Kerignard raised preflop, but when Wigg reraised from the small blind, Kerignard pushed all-in for 2.475 million with . Wigg called immediately with pocket kings. The board brought nothing to help Kerignard when it came , and Wigg took the massive pot and an even bigger chip lead. Yorane Kerignard was eliminated in fourth place with 1,050,000 DKK.
Klein and de Vivo both made moves on chip leader Wigg, and the latter did not push his weight around as one might think he would. And eventually de Vivo made a move to double-up, and his pocket kings held up to the jacks of Wigg, putting de Vivo in the lead with close to 6 million chips.
It was Klein who made the next move. It started with a raise from Wigg, a reraise from Klein in the big blind, and an all-in move from Wigg. Klein called with , which was met by the of Wigg. The board came , and Wigg made his straight. Morten Klein was gone in third place with 1,400,000 DKK in prize money.
Heads-up action began with the following counts:
Francesco de Vivo 6,400,000
Anton Wigg 6,100,000
Wigg started off the action by taking a substantial pot and the chip lead, which grew to the point that Wigg had nearly 8 million chips and de Vivo was under 4 million. But de Vivo doubled up with 8-7 over A-10 when the 8 fell on the turn. Soon after, there was another double-up for de Vivo with A-9 versus the pocket queens of Wigg, as two aces came on the flop for trips.
Relegated to about 1.3 million chips, Wigg launched a comeback of epic proportions. Wigg doubled up with A-J over 8-7, then again with pocket kings which held up to the A-5 of de Vivo. That put the stacks nearly even, but Wigg kept chipping away at his opponent.
Finally, Wigg pushed all-in preflop, and de Vivo called for his tournament life with . Wigg turned over the , and that hand remained the best as the dealer brought them a board. That left Francesco de Vivo with 2,275,000 DKK for the second place finish.
Anton Wigg of Stockholm, Sweden won the EPT Copenhagen event, along with 3,675,000 DKK in prize money.