WSOP Champ Wins Extreme Poker Challenge
Battling temperatures that reached minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 23 degrees Celsius), the Extreme Competitors were given the option of repurchasing lost chips in exchange for their coat, forcing them to play in only a T-Shirt. Within the first three hands, Internet qualifier Daniel Stein had not only stripped Varkonyi of his chip stack, but also forced him to peel off his protective layer of winter clothing in order to stay in the tournament. Varkonyi later resorted to running laps in between hands to maintain circulation and stave off frostbite.
Ultimately, only Varkonyi and Helppi remained in the tournament, with Varkonyi playing in just a T-Shirt, and Helppi securely wrapped in his Parka. Varkonyi drew 9/10 off suit, and Helppi held suited K/9 of clubs. The flop uncovered off suit 10/7 and a 3 of clubs, giving Varkonyi a pair of 10s and Helppi a flush Draw. Helppi pushed all of his chips in, and Varkonyi called his bet, his lips turning blue, and his body growing tired from his increasingly rapid jogging around the frost-covered table. The turn gave a 7, and the river another 10, leaving Varkonyi with a Frozen Full House to claim the Extreme Poker Title.
"Winning this title makes my suffering through the most excruciating cold I've ever experienced worth it, and I know this tournament will prepare me well for the 2006 World Series of Poker," said Varkonyi. "Juha really gave me a run for the title, and my hat and coat are off to him."
With this victory, Varkonyi will join Juha at the 2006 Extreme Poker Championship, to be held in a sunken ship off the coast of St. Kitts, as will top-placed InterPoker.com Internet qualifier Ulrik Jensen from Denmark.
"The tournament was absolutely stunning -- the players sat atop a seemingly endless ice shelf on the Arctic sea and played a frostbitten game of poker, as the frigid winds tore across the table," said InterPoker.com spokesperson Peter Marcus. "All of the players showed an amazing amount of concentration, skill and pure grit during this tournament -- especially our Internet qualifiers, who I anticipate will have very promising poker careers."
Despite losing the InterPoker.com Extreme Poker Title on his home turf, Helppi remained gracious in defeat. "Rob is a true champion, and he demonstrated today that he is willing to do whatever it takes to win, including removing his clothes in subzero temperatures and running in circles to fight off hypothermia," said Helppi. "I congratulate Rob his victory, and look forward to facing him in the next Extreme event to take back my title."
Internet qualifier Ulrik Jensen was excited to play against the pros at InterPoker.com's Arctic Freeze Out Tournament, but seemed to be more interested in the prospect of facing Varkonyi and Juha once more in St. Kitts. "My face, fingers and toes are all numb after sitting for 90 minutes in the frozen tundra -- and nothing sounds better than visiting a tropical paradise for a week of sun and poker."
At the close of the Finland event, InterPoker.com announced that every player who qualifies for the World Series of Poker through InterPoker.com WSOP satellite tournaments are automatically entered into qualifying round the upcoming July Extreme Poker event titled "Loser's Leap," to be held in 10,000 feet above the Las Vegas Desert. Players will compete in a plane, and will be forced to parachute out when they run out of chips.