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Finn Vilmunen takes WSOPE PLO title
The 36-year-old PLO cash game pro defeated the legendary Howard Lederer heads-up inside London's Casino at the Empire Friday to win the WSOP Europe's £5,000 PLO event and its £204,048 first-place prize.
"I would think that it would be an even greater feeling, but I just felt I was going to win," he said. "When I was playing I felt the whole time that it was going to happen, so when it came the last card I felt like I would be celebrating a lot, but no."
Vilmunen, who also won the €1,000 PLO event at the Finnish Open Championships in 2008, said his recent success in PLO tournaments is mostly due to patience.
"I always play aggressively, but I had to keep my aggression level quite low," he explained. "That helped my game so much, because I was over-aggressive and that's why I didn't win tournaments before.
"Now I give my opponents the chance to make mistakes and before I didn't. I just tried to run over the table all the time."
Fellow Finns Ilari "ziigmund" Sahamies, Patrik Antonius and Sami "LarsLuzak" Kelopuro have dominated the biggest online PLO games in recent years and Vilmunen's recent success would appear to put Finland at the top of the world rankings when it comes to this variant of poker.
Vilmunen, who goes by KObyTAPOUT on Full Tilt Poker, said he really isn't sure what the Finnish secret to PLO success is, but he has a few ideas.
"Maybe we are a little bit crazy," he said. "The new generation is playing Texas Hold'em, of course, because of the Internet. But when I did start to play we played only PLO cash games.
"There are great rally drivers and formula one race car drivers from Finland and maybe the fact that this is a fast game as well excites us, I don't know."
PokerListings' comprehensive coverage of the World Series of Poker Europe presented by Betfair will continue with Day 1a of the Main Event beginning at 12 p.m. BST Saturday.
You can catch that and all the action from Vilmunen's win on our Live Tournaments page.