InterPoker.com announced yesterday its next Extreme Poker Challenge is scheduled to take place in the arctic ice fields of Finland at the world's largest snow castle in Kemi on March 29, 2006. Reigning champion and Finnish pro Juha Helppi was given the option to select the venue for the next Challenge after winning the first Extreme Poker Championship 30 feet under the sea in St. Kitts this past November at the Caribbean Poker Classic.
Battling sub-zero temperatures, three online qualifiers will take their seats at the Kemi event against poker pros Robert Varkonyi, Juha Helppi, and Pete Giordano in one of the harshest climates the artic has to offer.
"By opening up the tournament to Internet qualifiers, we are giving online players a chance to make poker history, as well as the celebrity status of achieving the title 'Extreme Poker Champion,'" said InterPoker spokesperson Peter Marcus.
"While Juha undoubtedly has the home field advantage in this tournament, there is always the possibility that a competitive and talented U.S. professionals or one of our InterPoker online qualifiers will take the title from Juha."
Constructed in December, 2005, the Snow Castle is made up of approximately 60,000 cubic feet of snow and ice, and maintains a constant internal temperature well below freezing. Enormous snow towers, intricate ice sculptures and a spacious (and extremely chilled) dining hall are trademark elements of the newly raised world landmark.
"The snow castle is very beautiful and very cold -- just like the city where I grew up. I will be right at home in the castle, and aim to take advantage of home field advantage in every way possible," said Helppi.
In addition to battling the frigid temperatures, players will encounter new rules in the arctic tournament that will make play more challenging. For example, when a player takes a major hit in his or her chip stack, they will be given the option of buying back their chips in exchange for an article of clothing, such as their coat or shirt.
Players leave the competition when they run out of chips (and all non-essential clothing), or are forced to leave after succumbing to the cold. Medical personnel will be present at all times to monitor the health of all participants."Poker is an endurance sport and we have just made it harder, no one can doubt that playing poker in subzero temperatures, with very little light, requires the utmost concentration, patience and mental stamina," said Peter Marcus.
"As our players overcome these obstacles and learn increased discipline and concentration during Extreme play, there is little doubt that you will see many more InterPoker satellite tournament qualifiers arriving at extreme final tables in the near future."
The main qualifying tournament will be held at InterPoker.com at 11.00 a.m. (EST) on Sunday, March 12, for $1. An additional $500 will be added to the prize pool by InterPoker.com. Satellite tournaments began yesterday at the poker room.
The three winners of Internet qualifying event will receive a complete Extreme Poker prize package including airfare, hotel, and meals for the trip to the Arctic Kemi Snow Castle.
The winner of the Kemi event will not only claim the title of "Extreme Poker Champion," they will also win an automatic entry into the 2006 Final Extreme Underwater Poker Championship in St. Kitts.
Please see Helppi Wins InterPoker.com Extreme Poker Challenge at CPC for details on the inaugural Extreme Poker tournament.