Jani Sointula and Juha Helpp, long-standing rivals at the Grand data hk in Helsinki, were the two left standing in the world’s most exclusive poker tournament, the Monte Carlo Millions.
American ace Phil Ivey had dominated the tournament since Day One and was the odds-on favorite among players and spectators alike. The final table began at 3pm with Phil in a commanding lead, having nearly double the chips of Chris “Jesus” Ferguson and Vince “Vinny Nap” Napolitano in second and third place. It looked like at least one American would take home the $400,000 first prize.
But soon Chris was eliminated, along with Kevin O’Connell and Victor Ramdin. They were followed after the dinner break by Daniel Larsson, Krister Hanson of Sweden and Vinny Nap.
That left Phil Ivey to battle two Finns, Juha Helppi and Jani Sointla. Phil, who at one point had amassed $1.1 million of the $1.58 million in chips, made a move on Jani with an Ac6c and Jani raised from the small blind with a pair of 9s.
Phil moved all-in over the top and Jani called. The 9’s held up and Jani doubled up for nearly $300,000. The next hand brought more action between …