Up to its Old Tricks AgainManic aggression, badly-dressed teenagers and a Finnish sensation coming from nowhere to snatch top honours. GOM’s Duncan Wilkie found this year’s EPT Copenhagen returning to a decidedly familiar theme.
With no fewer than 276 Scandinavians among the 462-runner field, it was hardly the greatest of upsets when a Nordic player emerged victorious as the EPT Copenhagen rolled into Denmark last month. However, given that the previous year had seen a St Louis man stroll into Europe’s poker hotbed and take the title back with him across the Atlantic, the result undoubtedly came with some degree of relief.
When Tim Vance won last year’s event it had taken the American a colossal 14 hours to lift the coveted title, but proceedings at this year’s event were settled at a more typically Scandinavian pace. With the final table getting underway at 2.00pm, it took just five hours until only one of the final eight competitors stood unrivalled at the tournament’s summit.
That man was young Finnish maestro Jens Kyllönen who, despite starting the final table at a distinct disadvantage as one of field’s smaller stacks, managed to rally strongly and ultimately despatch Swede Peter Hedlund heads-up to become only the second ever Finn to win an EPT title. The other? Some dude named Patrik something or other.
And while Kyllönen’s debut EPT victory may not propel him to the same dizzying heights of poker fame as his compatriot Antonius, the €878,057 he pocketed for the win has certainly ensured that he will be a permanent fixture at future events in this year’s tour. “I really like the EPT and I’m planning to play the rest of the events this season,” said the 19-year-old Finn. “I’m pretty happy with the way I played here, although I got lucky with some coin-flips as well. I don’t think what I have done has really sunk in yet, but I feel pretty great!”
Victory for Kyllönen, who sported a shocking pink “Teenage Millionaire” hat at the final table, came swiftly after the youngster began heads-up play with nearly a 3-to-1 chip lead over the 40-year-old Hedlund. In a matter of hands, the pair got all the chips into the middle, with the tournament-deciding confrontation swinging in Kyllönen’s favour after his pocket jacks held up against the A-J of his more experienced opponent. Hedlund, meanwhile, added to the £35,000 he’d bagged at Season 3’s EPT London by scooping nearly €500,000 for his runner-up spot.
As Kyllönen admitted in his post-tournament interview, when play between the final eight hopefuls commenced, victory for the Finn looked highly unlikely until a couple of key coin-flips landed in his favour and dramatically altered the complexion of the final-table. The day originally started with Dane Rasmus Nielsen—who was making his second back-to-back appearance at an EPT Copenhagen final table after finishing 4th in last year’s event—and Norway’s Anders Langset sharing the chip lead.
However, it wasn’t long before the two big stacks tangled with each other and a monster pot during the day’s first level of play swung in Langset’s favour to land a damaging blow to Nielsen’s stack to effectively put an end to his title hopes. The seismic shift in power certainly seemed to rattle the Dane and, unfortunately for Nielsen, he soon departed the tournament in 6th place after the early exits of fellow countryman Jonas Klausen and Eric Larcheveque—the only non-Scandinavian at the table—in 8th and 7th respectively.
It was then after the departure of the economically-named Petter Petterson in 5th that Kyllönen’s good fortune really came to the fore as the Finn stealthily surged into the chip lead by virtue of two key double-ups. The first came when he made a seemingly loose call with a weak ace and was lucky enough to find himself with two over cards after catching fellow Finn Jussi Nevanlinna with a small pair. Kyllönen managed to spike on the flop to leave his fellow countryman crippled and Nevanlinna duly crashed out of the tournament soon after in 4th place.
A few hands later Kyllönen once again found himself on the right side of a massive pre-flop coin-flip, which saw him overhaul Langset to become the new chip-leader, and he finished the inexperienced Norwegian off a few hands later after getting him to push his remaining chips in drawing dead. While giving up the chip lead and exiting in third was a blow for Langset, and having only played the game for three weeks prior to the EPT Copenhagen, he can certainly hold his head up high at a first final table that was good for €288,717.
EPT Copenhagen Final Table Results
1. Jens Kyllönen (€878,057)
2. Peter Hedlund (€497,069)
3. Anders Langset (€288,717)
4. Jussi Nevanlinna (€220,258)
5. Petter Petterson (€181,564)
6. Rasmus Nielsen (€142,870)
7. Eric Larcheveque (€113,106)
8. Jonas Klausen (€80,364)