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Tim Vance - Final-Table Chip Leader
With hardly an entry on his PL.com profile, few expected American Tim Vance to be leading the field going into the final table of the EPT4 PokerStars Copenhagen Scandinavian Open. Expectations aside, Vance crushed the competition during today's action and enters the final eight poised to take down his first major title.
His personality a stark contrast to the stoic and reserved facades of many players here in Denmark, Vance is anything but circumspect. Tim seems to have more energy than he knows what to do with, certainly too much to spend more than a few minutes at a time in his seat. Alternately standing over his stack and walking back and forth from the rail to carry on one of many conversations, Vance decimated the competition at one of the toughest tournaments in the world here today.
We caught up with Tim on one of the last breaks of the evening. In response to our request for an interview he said, "C'mon outside. I can smoke and talk at the same time!" When we got outside though, the interview got off to a difficult start.
At every tournament he plays Vance wears a picture of his three-and-a-half-year-old daughter taped to the inside of his cap. She's clearly the biggest part of Tim's life, and we were interested to learn more. When asked about his daughter though, the usually outspoken and brazen Vance became quiet, speechless.
"I get emotional when I think about her. Maybe we should stop this interview."
Turning off the recorder we spoke for a few minutes before Tim decided to continue. Changing the subject, we turned to the biggest hand of the day, one in which Tim made an unbelievable read and solidified his position as chip leader.
There were 13 players left and Vance already held a small chip advantage over his nearest competition. Kristian Pedersen opened the pot to $50,000, with blinds of $8k/$16k, and Vance re-popped to $150,000. Pedersen smooth-called and the flop came down Q♥ J♠ 5♣. Vance led out for $100,000 only to see his opponent move all-in for an additional $162,000.
Although the size of the pot was certainly a factor, Vance was faced with calling off a large portion of the $400,000 he had behind. After some intense scrutiny of the situation Tim announced to the table, and the crowd, that he was sure Pedersen was holding ace-king. "I call!" he said as he slammed his pocket nines down on the felt.
Pedersen could only shake his head and wonder how Vance could make such a call, felting big slick in disbelief. Although Tim had to dodge a scary number of outs on the turn and river the poker gods must have seen his performance and rewarded him by allowing his hand to hold up.
"I knew he had ace-king," Vance said as we smoked in the gale-force wind outside the Casino Copenhagen. "There's no way he calls with ace-jack or ace-queen when I come over the top for $100,000 pre-flop. I was a little worried he was slow-playing ace-ace but I thought that player would come back over the top with that."
It's one thing to make the read but it's another to put your tournament life on the line on that basis alone.
If anyone had their doubts about Vance's effectiveness today, that hand certainly cleared the matter up. In truth his Scandinavian opponents seemed thrown off by his alacrity at the table. "I'm sure they see me just like cash game players used to see me before I played tournaments, as an arrogant asshole!"
Despite playing the part of the American to a tee, we suspect there's a part of Vance's life that doesn't quite jibe with that estimation, and a few people in it who would beg to differ with that opinion.
Tim came to be at this event the same way he got to go to the EPT London, through an FPP qualifier on PokerStars. "I was waiting for the Sunday $400k tournament and it flashed that there was a 10,000 friendly player points [sic] qualifier. My trip to London was one of the best of my life so I thought I'd come here and do it again."
Owner of a construction company back home in the States, Vance has been playing poker his entire life. Heading into this final table as the overwhelming chip leader, Tim is on the verge of the biggest score in his poker career.