It's been a crazy day in the Amazon Room, with Marc Naalden thoroughly dominating this tournament.
He had almost half the chips in play when they were seven-handed, and picked off his opponents one by one. A rollercoaster of a heads-up match saw him lose the chip lead at one point for the first time since there were 25 runners left yesterday evening, but he never lost focus and made back every single chip to take first place -- not forgetting the bracelet.
Indeed, this is only the second bracelet ever to go to the Netherlands, and the excitement of the Dutch crowd was incredibly, audibly obvious. Many of Holland's big stars turned out to rail, including Noah Boeken, Lex Veldhuis, Michiel Brummelhuis and the Netherlands' only other bracelet winner Rob Hollink. Their chorus of "NEEDLEKING!" is still echoing around the final table.
And come to think of it, this has been a great year for Naalden. He started it off with winning the main event at the inaugural PokerNews Cup Alpine, continued with a tenth-place finish at the EPT Grand Final, and now he's gone and topped it all with a bracelet win in his specialty, Limit Hold'em. Many congratulations to Mr. Naalden, and remember his face -- we're going to be seeing an awful lot more of him in tournaments to come.
He reraised from the big blind to a button raise from Naalden, and then bet out on the flop; Naalden called.
He bet again on the turn and this time Naalden raised. Cowley called, and both players checked the river -- at which point it transpired that Naalden's was good to win the pot. Cowley flashed what looked like two paint cards.
Cowley raised it up from the button and then bet to a check from Naalden on the flop. They both cagily checked the turn, but Naalden came out betting on the river and Cowley passed; he's down to 900,000 now.
A couple hands later and it happened again. Naalden called a button raise from Cowley, and this time Cowley gave it up to a check-raise on the flop.
And let's hear it one more time -- Cowley raised his button, but laid it down to a check-raise from Naalden on a flop.