Pro player Juha Helppi battled 4 opponents 30 feet under sea level to win InterPoker.com's Extreme Poker Championship at the 2005 Caribbean Poker Classic (CPC) in St. Kitts, it has been announced. Contrary to a report filed by PokerListings.com earlier this week, Helppi did not battle heads-up against World Series of Poker (WSOP) champ Rob Varkonyi. Instead, he and four other competitors faced off in the first ever underwater poker tournament to vie for the title of Extreme Poker Champion.
Helppi's opponents included poker pros Phil Laak and Kenna James, along with Internet qualifier Louise H. from Denmark and InterPoker.com spokesperson Peter Marcus.
The five players donned scuba gear and wet suits, and descended into the depths of the ocean to compete at a weighted, deep sea poker table with custom-made weighted poker chips and waterproof cards.
Despite a multitude of distractions, including schools of fish, corals, and a stingray, Helppi defeated his competitors in front of a live, snorkeling audience that included WSOP champions Kathy Liebert, Todd Whiteless, and Jennifer Tilly, and InterPoker representatives Mike de Halpert and Kristen Makin.
Helppi was awarded the Caribbean Poker Classic Extreme Poker bracelet, which is crafted from authentic Caribbean seashells and beads, at the InterPoker.com awards ceremony on Tuesday, November 29.
"Without a doubt, this was one of the most challenging tournaments in which I have ever competed," said Helppi. "Not only are Phil and Kenna two of the best poker players I have ever faced, I also had to overcome obstacles such as water leaking into my mask and staying away from the stingray. I feel like I truly earned this victory."
CryptoLogic VP of Poker Software Development, Andy Goetsch, acted as tournament director and dealer. Participating players spent all of Tuesday morning training for the event at a dive center in St. Kitts.
InterPoker.com staff planned and organized the underwater tournament for nearly three months, and have announced it was just the first in a slew of Extreme Poker Events the site plans to execute.
The poker room is currently accepting suggestions from players as to where they think a good location for the next Extreme Poker Event would be. Mountaintops, desert plans and artic wastelands have all been deemed acceptable as potential venues.
Please see InterPoker.com for further details.