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Ziigmund stays quiet at EPT finale
Ilari "Ziigmund" Sahamies talks a lot of trash in the chat box playing online. His live persona is a little different.
The aggression, however, remains.
Having spent Day 2 at the PokerStars.com European Poker Tour Grand Final a near-silent observer at a Table of Doom that featured Sorel Mizzi, Sebastian Ruthenberg, Dennis Phillips and Liya Gerasimova, Sahamies indulged Mizzi in a bit of post-game analysis at the end of play.
"What did you have those two hands when I laid it down to your three-bet?" Mizzi asked the phenom.
Sahamies shrugged and kept his mouth shut. But Mizzi persisted.
"Air," the Finn said. "I had air."
"And what did you have when I folded to you on that ace-high flop?"
"I had king-high," he said. "You?"
"Ace-ten," said Mizzi, shaking his head. "Why do I give you so much respect?"
Indeed, with Sahamies' reputation as a hyper-aggressive maniac at the tables, even an acknowledged LAG-tard like Mizzi looks tight in comparison.
That super-aggro style has paid dividends for Ziigmund, who learned poker after meeting fellow Finn Patrik Antonius at the pool tables.
Over the last year he's up over $4.4 million in all online cash games.
It's not just his earnings he's known for, however. The 2+2 forums are filled with examples of his vitriolic chat-box rants.
The prototype for fellow chat box assassin _FullFlush1_, Sahamies has called out everyone from Hansen, Matusow and David Benyamine to George W. Bush.
He told PokerListings.com it's nothing to take personally.
"It's just talk," he said. "With Gus, I'm just joking, but some of the other players just want to take it like I'm being serious."
He certainly stays quiet in person, spending Thursday's allotted seven levels sitting quietly, stacking his chips and avoiding the spotlight.
Even when prodded, Sahamies demurred from making any comments that could be considered controversial.
"I don't know," he said when asked which of his online opponents he thought was weakest. "I can't say any names. There are some weak players, but I can't say any names."
And what does he think of Luke "_FullFlush1_" Schwartz?
"I can't really say," he said. "I've only played a few hands with him so I can't really say what I think."
Sahamies did consent to tell PokerListings who he thinks is his strongest online opponent.
"Patrik Antonius," he said. "Absolutely."
Along with Sami "LarsLuzak" Kelopuro (a "solid" player, according to Ziigmund), Sahamies and Antonius make up a fearsome Finnish high-stakes triumvirate.
Collectively, the trio is up more than $10 million in online cash games over the last year of play.
Sahamies, though, had few answers when asked why his compatriots have had such success.
"That's a good question, because there are only about five million people in Finland and a lot of us are high-stakes players," he said. "Maybe it's just a coincidence."
"The real question is, why are the top three high-stakes players in the world from Finland?" Kelopuro added.
But neither he nor Sahamies was able to provide the answer.
Sahamies finished up Day 2 in Monte Carlo with about 200k in chips and is in great shape to add to his $327k in career tournament earnings with an in-the-money finish here in Monaco.
But as with all nosebleed-stakes players, the opportunity cost for his playing this event is enormous. Why, then, play tournaments at all?
"I want to play tournaments like every other player," Sahamies said. "It's fun and a little draining.
"A win would be very nice. I haven't ever won an EPT event and it's not really what I'm playing for, but it would be nice."
With about 149 players left in the field and three more days left to play, Sahamies has a long way to go before he can start thinking about winning.
But will he keep his vaunted mouth shut when he's sitting on the €2.3 million first prize? Only time will tell.
EPT Grand Final action continues with the play down to 32 on Friday. Tune in to all of the action in the PokerListings.com Live Tournaments section.