During last year's Caribbean Poker Classic in St. Kitts, InterPoker put on one of the most unique poker tournaments ever. The "Extreme Poker Challenge" took place not on dry land, but was contested thirty feet underwater in the crystal blue seas of the Caribbean! Poker professionals Phil "The Unabomber" Laak, Kenna James and eventual winner Juha Helppi, along with an online qualifier, donned SCUBA gear and, with specially prepared poker paraphernalia, played a poker tournament among the denizens of the deep.
As the defending champion of the event, Helppi was allowed to pick the next location for the "Extreme Poker Challenge" and he has decided to take the game to his homeland of Finland for a "home field advantage". Perhaps a better way to put that is a "home ICE advantage" as the tournament will be conducted in the world's largest ice castle, constructed in Kemi, Finland. The tournament is set to take place on March 29th and the field is already being filled for the event.
Along with Helppi defending his title as "Extreme Poker Champion," 2002 World Champion Robert Varkonyi and Pete "The Beat" Giordano will be at the tables. Three online qualifiers will also journey to Finland to take part in the event. The tournaments to determine who the three players will be are currently running on InterPoker.com. InterPoker spokesperson Peter Marcus was quick to point out Helppi's advantage when he stated, "While Juha undoubtedly has the home field advantage in this tournament, there is always the possibility that a competitive and talented U. S. professional or one of our InterPoker online qualifiers will take the title from Juha."
The castle was constructed back in December and has remained standing through the long winter months due to the Artic clime of Finland. It maintains a constant temperature below freezing, which will present many challenges for the players. "The snow castle is very beautiful and very cold, just like the city where I grew up. I will be right at home in the castle and aim to take advantage of home field advantage in every way possible," said Juha.
A unique twist will be presented during the tournament. If a player busts out of the tournament, they will be able to rebuy back into it. The cost of the rebuy will be one of the articles of clothing that a player is wearing to protect against the icy climes. Players leave the competition when they run out of chips and all non-essential clothing or are forced to leave after succumbing to the cold. While this may be extremely risky, medical personnel will be present at all times to monitor the health of all participants.
The online tournaments to qualify for the Finnish adventure are currently running on InterPoker. If one of the three online qualifiers take down the tournament, they will not only earn the "Extreme Poker Champion" moniker, they will also earn an entry into the 2006 Caribbean Poker Classic (presumably to thaw out from the trip to Finland!). It should be another exciting tournament as InterPoker determines the next "Extreme Poker" titleholder. For more details on the tournament, be sure to visit InterPoker.com.
Ed Note: Play extreme poker for extreme stakes at Pacific Poker