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With tournament numbers swelling to sizes of amazing proportions both online, and live, it comes as no surprise that the PokerStars sponsored European Poker Tour has been not only attracting tons of players in their fourth season, but handing out million dollar payouts left and right. With the Caribbean Adventure and Dortmund events still fresh in everyone’s memory, another million-dollar payout was won on Saturday at the EPT stop in Copenhagen. Predominantly, with these humongous payouts, most players at the final table play with the attitude and mindset that to the victor goes the spoils, as the old adage goes. From the original eight at the final table, all the way down to the final two remaining out of the starting four hundred and sixty players on Day 1A and 1B, they moved at a breakneck speed, losing players quickly, as to be expected. However, the heads up play made up almost half of the total twelve hours of final table play. This is a bit uncharacteristic of these final tables, to say the least.

At the start of the final table, here were the stack sizes.

Tim Vance 1,408,000
Rasmus Hede Nielsen 789,000
Daniel Ryan 557,000
Soren Jensen 500,000
Magnus Hansen 458,000
Nicolas Dervaux 336,000
Patrick Andersson 283,000
Simon Dorslund 267,000

At a table of unknowns, and despite his big disadvantage to the chip leader, Tim Vance, the momentum had to be in the corner of the odds on favorite, Daniel Ryan. Ryan, known as THE__D__RY online, is a tournament specialist, to say the least. With recent deep finishes in the FTOPS VII series, including a second place finish for $170k, he’s been on a roll, heading into this final table. How well would it translate in Copenhagen, however, would remain to be seen.

With the blinds starting on the final day at 6k/12k with a 1k ante, no one was in immediate danger, but no one could afford to sit around, as well. However, just an hour into the final table, Daniel Ryan claimed his first victim.

Ryan raised to 35k on the button, and Andersson, who had lost a bit of his stack along the way, shoved over the top for another 102k. Ryan made the call, and when the hands were flipped up, Ryan held a small lead with his A5 vs. Andersson’s K6. Andersson received no help, and was eliminated in 8th place, earning $113,151 U.S. for his efforts.

The action wouldn’t be held back for long, as Tim Vance saw a flop with three other players, including Magnus Hansen. On a JTx flop, Vance and Magnus got it in, with Magnus flopping a set of tens, and Vance holding AJ, with a backdoor flush possibility. The turn brought another diamond, which left Vance with a four flush, but the river was a blank, and Magnus doubled up to 810k. Vance still had a very formidable 997k, good enough for the chip lead, heading into 8k/16k, with a 2k ante.

Here were the stack sizes heading into that level:

Tim Vance 997,000
Magnus Hansen 959,000
Rasmus Hede Nielsen 810,000
Daniel Ryan 659,000
Soren Jensen 471,000
Nicolas Dervaux 359,000
Simon Dorslund 340,000

Soren Jensen, who had been slowly building momentum through the early stages of the final table, doubled up to 848k with AK, when he saw a flop against Rasmus, who held J8. They got it in on a K8x flop, and Rasmus didn’t get lucky. Rasmus was left with 255k.

Here were the stack sizes three hours into the final table with the blinds at 10k/20k with a 2k ante:

Tim Vance 1,263,000
Soren Jensen 1,022,000
Daniel Ryan 633,000
Simon Dorslund 552,000
Magnus Hansen 551,000
Rasmus Hede Nielsen 313,000
Nicolas Dervaux 264,000

No one was in any immediate danger, except for Dervaux, who had been incredibly quiet so far. He would not be the next one eliminated, though. After losing a 600k+ pot to Rasmus Nielsen, Simon Dorslund was left with about 250k. Just a short time later, The chipleader, Vance, made a raise to 53k from the cutoff, which in turn prompted Dorslund to move all in over the top. Vance called with AK, dominating Dorslund’s A8. Neither player hit anything, which left Vance’s AK the winner. Dorslund busted in 7th place, good for $159,250.

With the blinds up to 12k/24k, with a 3k ante, Dervaux with his short stack, had a giant bull’s-eye on him, as he withered away. Folded around to the small blind, he shoved his small stack in on a steal with J5, and was called by Soren Jensen in the big blind, who had found A7 of diamonds. Dervaux was lucky enough to flop a jack, but unfortunately, the turn brought an ace, and none of Dervaux’s five outs materialized on the river. He left in 6th place, for $201,158.

After taking a big pot off of Daniel Ryan, Tim Vance had built himself an impressive chip lead. Here were the stacks:

Tim Vance 1,929,000
Soren Jensen 1,195,000
Magnus Hansen 878,000
Daniel Ryan 369,000
Rasmus Hede Nielsen 227,000

Nielsen was in trouble, with under 10 big blinds, and Ryan wasn’t much better off, with roughly 15, himself. Rasmus chipped up a bit, and Ryan found a hand to stick it in with. Ryan open shoved his stack in, and it folded around to Rasmus in the big blind, who called without hesitation. Flipping over the AK, he had Ryan in terrible shape, who was looking for a queen, holding AQ. No help came for Daniel Ryan, and perhaps the best player at the table was eliminated in 5th place, earning $255,638.

Again, sticking with the theme of the final table, it didn’t take long to lose another player.

Rasmus made it 99k to go preflop, and was reraised by Tim Vance to 350k. Rasmus called after some thought. The flop came down J97, and Vance shoved instantly, for Neilsen’s roughly 350k remaining chips. Nielsen called, and held a nice lead with his pocket eights against Tim’s AQ. The turn paired the board with a Jack, giving Tim 3 more outs, with any nine counterfeiting Nielsen’s hand. However, with the Ace of spades on the river, Nielsen was out in 4th place, garnering $310,119 for his great effort.

Here were the stack sizes heading into 3 handed play, with none of the players having less than 30 big blinds:

Tim Vance 2,140,000
Magnus Hansen 1,231,000
Soren Jensen 1,227,000

However, a bit of a cooler would be good enough to send another player home, very quickly.

The blinds were up to 20k/40k with a 4k ante. In a limped pot, Soren Jensen and Magnus Hansen got into a huge war. With the flop coming down T94, the two players created the largest pot of the tournament, with over 2 million in the pot. When the hands were flipped over, Hansen, with fewer chips, was in trouble. He was behind Soren’s 94, good for two pair, with Hansen having top pair, with T6. The 5 turn, and 7 river did not give Hansen the help he desperately needed, and he was out in 3rd place, winning $406,427.

Going into heads-up play, here were the chip counts:

Soren Jensen 2,490,000
Tim Vance 2,108,000

Now here’s where it got interesting. After an aggressive, fast paced final table, Jensen and Vance more or less got into a race where both played the role of the tortoise. They made plays uncharacteristic of their usual play at the final table so far, limping on the button with hands like AJ and AT, which are more than good enough for a raise heads-up. When heads up play started, they were still at 20k/40k 4k. When they ended, they were all the way up to 50k/100k! It took about five hours for Vance and Jensen to finally reach the ultimate hand of the tourney. After five hours filled with limped, checked down pots, and with extremely passive play, the end finally came.

With Vance at 3.6 million, and Jensen at 1 million, Vance limped on the button for the extra 50k. Jensen checked, as did Vance on a 278 flop, with two clubs, one spade. On a 3 of spades turn, Jensen bet 115k, and Vance called. Jensen shoved his remaining chips in on a 4 of spades river, which was promptly called by Vance, who flipped over the AT of spades, for the stone cold nuts. Finally, a winner had been crowned. Jensen wasn’t going home empty handed by any stretch of the imagination, earning $699,724 for 2nd place. As for Vance, after an arduous journey to 1st, he’d won not only $1,236,095, but a seat in the EPT Grand Final on April 11th, in Monte Carlo.

The EPT Copenhagen isn’t the only news in the tournament world right now. The WPT L.A. Poker Classic Main Event  is well underway, with only 91 out of the remaining 665 runners remaining. $1.6 million awaits the winner, with Andrew “good2cu” Robl the chip leader, and Phil Ivey and Antonio Esfandiari not far behind.