Finnish poker legend Juha Helppi, born March 4, 1977, has amassed more than $8 million in tournament earnings dating back to 2001 according to the Hendon Mob, which puts him second on Finland’s all-time money list behind only Patrik Antonius.
He first rose to fame during the early days of the World Poker Tour (WPT) when he won the first-ever WPT Aruba Poker Classic for $75,000 and then a few years later finished runner-up to Roland De Wolfe in the WPT Grand Prix de Paris at the Aviation Club de France for $318,528.
Helppi, a former poker dealer in Finland, won his first World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet in 2019 when he took down Event #72: $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship for $306,622.
“Of course, it feels great. I don’t feel that tired right now because it’s so exciting to play for a bracelet. I’ve been coming here since 2003,” Helppi said at the time. “This means a lot to me to win a bracelet. It’s such a long journey.”
While Helppi had to wait a long time to get his first piece of WSOP gold, he didn’t have to wait long for the second. Just a year later in the WSOP Online GGPoker Event #35: $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Championship, he bested a 328-entry field to win his second bracelet and a $290,286 top prize.
An Accomplished Paintball Champion
In his personal life, Helppi is the Captain of the “Finnish Dream Team,” which won the 2022 Finnish National Paintball Champions. It’s not the first time either as Helppi was the captain of the team when they won the same title in 1996, 2003, 2007, 2008, and 2014!
Helppi started playing paintball when he was just 15 years old by following in the footsteps of Olli, his little brother who had taken up the sport first. Fittingly, the Helppi brothers have been a part of the same team all these years.
The championship Finnish Dream Team consisted of Juha Helppi, Olli Helppi, Pasi Muurinen, Tuomas Manninen, Santeri Manninen, Kai-Markus Lilli, Mark Nuutinen, Heikki Siltala, and Tuomas Mertsalmi.
“I have been our team captain for over 20 years now and I am getting to decide who plays in the team and which strategy we use at each point,” Helppi revealed. “Paintball is a lot about strategy and guessing how your opponent’s play. Teamwork and communication in the field are also very important, you need to know where your players and opponents are and how many players both teams have left. In the team, you need a few fast runners, but back players can be a bit older, bigger, and slower if they shoot and communicate well.”
Juha Helppi’s Top 10 Tournament Cashes
|October 2015||EPT Malta €25,000 High Roller||2nd||$399,261|
|December 2016||EPT Prague €50,000 Super High Roller||3rd||$360,186|
|July 2006||WSOP $1,000 NLH||2nd||$331,144|
|December 2014||EPT Prague €50,000 Super High Roller||4th||$330,933|
|July 2019||WSOP Event #72: $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship||1st||$306,622|
|July 2005||WPT Grand Prix de Paris||2nd||$305,160|
|July 2020||WSOP Online GGPoker Event #35: $5,000 PLO||1st||$290,286|
|May 2011||EPT Madrid €25,000 High Roller||3rd||$274,582|
|January 2009||EPT Deauville €20,000 High Roller||1st||$254,598|
|December 2009||Full Tilt Poker Million VIII $20,000 Final||2nd||$250,000|