Having turned pro less than a year ago, this is by far Hoivold's biggest win to date. Taking home €672,000 for his efforts, Andreas nonetheless referred to it as "pocket change" when the match was over.
Sponsored by Ladbrokes largely due to his third-place finish in the Poker Million V where he netted $250,000, Hoivold was without a doubt the most entertaining player at tonight's final table.
While his competition was all business, Hoivold wasn't shy about voicing his opinions and poking fun at the other players seated around him. Even ribbing PokerStars.com's Lee Jones in between hands, he was as much stand-up comedian as poker pro here tonight.
It'll be fun to see this episode of the EPT air on television. We'll be able to see if he really was being funny or if it was just the sleep deprivation and copious amounts of caffeine that had the media room in stitches throughout the night.
Hoivold actually came into the final table as one of the short stacks, and it was a long climb for him to make it to the top. Gunnar Rabe was the one controlling much of the action tonight, holding a decisive chip lead until suffering a serious meltdown when it got to four-handed play.
Rabe got deep into a hand with medium-stack Sebastian Ruthenberg and by the time the river was dealt there was well over $1 million in the middle. Then, with four spades showing on the board, Rabe decided to try to make a move, pushing all-in with second pair and no flush. Perhaps if Ruthenberg had been more behind he might have contemplated folding, but with around two-thirds of his stack already invested he had to make the call.
Ruthenberg had turned a set with his pocket eights but with such a scary board he looked dejected as he deposited the last of his chips in the middle. He, and the rest of the room, were shocked to see Gunnar turn over just second pair with no flush! Ruthenberg must have felt like Christmas had come early this year as he pulled in a pot of close to $2 million.
Hoivold, meanwhile, had been adding chips to his stack in a determined manner and, by the time it got to three-handed play, had pulled almost even with Ruthenberg. It wasn't long after that when Hoivold caught Ruthenberg getting out of line and made him pay the price.
On a board of 2♦ 3♠ T♥ 9♠, Hoivold bet out, and Ruthenberg pushed all-in. Hoivold insta-called and turned over pocket kings. Ruthenberg had been on a semi-bluff and was holding only A♠ 4♠ for a flush and inside-straight draw. An ace would also have won him the hand. The river was a blank however and Ruthenberg was crippled to almost nothing.
Ruthenberg was out a few hands later which left only Italy's Cristiano Blanco standing between Hoivold and the win. Luckily for Hoivold he wouldn't have to wait long to don his crown as the heads-up match lasted only two hands.
Blanco was the one to push on the final hand and Hoivold beat him into the pot, turning over pocket queens. Blanco was in bad shape with 9-To and after the board came and went with no help to the underdog the tournament was over and Andreas Hoivold was champion!
It was truly a zoo here tonight at the Caisino Hohenysburg with over 200 members of the media in attendance. Local reporters were swarming over the final table and although most of them didn't know a thing about poker, they all felt it was their god-given right to take priority over the international media.
Nevertheless, I was able to elbow my way into the fracas for a few photos as the champion picked up the briefcase of cash he had worked so hard to earn. It wasn't until the dust had settled that I was able to talk with Hoivold myself, in the private club where only the real poker media were enjoying a few drinks to celebrate the end of a long work week.
While it wasn't an interview by any means, Hoivold talked a bit about how much this win meant to him. It seemed like the money took a distant second to the fun he had during this event and the knowledge that he overcame the biggest field in EPT history.
And with his victory comes the end of our time here in Dortmund. We'd like to say thanks to everyone who was so generous during our stay and congratulations to Andreas Hoivold on his impressive win here tonight. From Dortmund, Germany, this is Matt Showell saying gute nacht!