Finn gets free shot at million-dollar prize

Big stacks are good

The start of the World Poker Crown is fast approaching, and several players will get their chance at the $3 million guaranteed prize pool for free. Among them is Markus Soininen, from Tampere, Finland.

Soininen won his spot in the World Poker Crown through a freeroll at Pacific Poker hosted exclusively for players. All he had to do was collect five player points during the seven-day qualification period before the freeroll.

The qualification was no sweat for Soininen, who is a full-time poker player specializing in cash games. He plays poker online for a few hours a day and visits Pacific Poker on a weekly basis.

"I really like the site and the software," Soininen said about Pacific Poker. "Games there are very good. The only thing that bothers me is that I can't play more than four tables at a time."

The 29-year-old only needed to be able to play one table at a time to win his ticket to the World Poker Crown. He took down the very first freeroll for the event at Pacific Poker back in February.

"There were about a hundred players, and the play was rather tight," Soininen said. "I tried to start with tight, solid poker. I had some setbacks but stayed alive."

Soininen, who plays as Mahve78 on the poker site, changed up his style to play more aggressively as the blinds increased.

"During the play, I got lucky a few times, and I managed to double up," Soininen said. "Overall, I achieved my win with a combination of good cards, good timing and aggressive play."

Soininen has been playing poker for about two years and he said he would consider this freeroll win his biggest tournament win so far.

His ticket to the World Poker Crown is worth $1,050, and gives him a chance to win part of a $3 million guaranteed prize pool. Better yet, it's a shot at the $1 million guaranteed first-place prize.

"I am very excited about playing," Soininen said. "For sure, it's life-changing money. I've tried not to think about it too much."

Going deep in the World Poker Crown could also mean a trip to Barcelona, Spain. When play gets down to the final table online, the game will be stopped so that the final players can finish the game live in Spain.

Soininen and five other players won seats in the World Poker Crown through exclusive freerolls at Pacific Poker. The poker site opened up a few more freerolls for seats this week for players in Italy, France, Germany and Spain as well.

Now there's one more chance for players to get into the WPC without having to shell out the full $1,050 buy-in themselves.

On Friday, April 25, Pacific Poker will offer a $25+$2.50 tournament open only to PokerListings players that will guarantee one seat per 10 players. The tournament will be open to all PokerListings players who have an account at Pacific Poker, and it starts at 4 p.m. Pacific Poker Time.

The World Poker Crown begins April 26 at 10 a.m. Pacific Poker Time. The final table will take place May 6-10.

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