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Poker Tournament in the Arctic

10 Mar 2006

LONDON – (PRESS RELEASE) -- Just months after winning the first Extreme Poker Championship 30 feet underwater off the shores of St. Kitts in the Caribbean, Finnish Poker Pro was given the option to select the venue for the next Extreme event. Opting for "home field advantage," Juha is taking the tournament to his backyard -- in the arctic ice fields of Finland at the world's largest snow castle in Kemi on March 29. Deep in the bowels of the massive ice edifice, three online qualifiers will take on poker pros Rob Varkonyi, Juha Helppi and Pete "The Beat" Giordano, as they shuffle up and deal in one of the harshest climates the arctic 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 US 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 Juha 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."

Online tournaments to qualify for the tournament will be held on at 11.00 AM EST (4 PM GMT) on Sunday, March 12th. The three winners of Internet qualifying rounds 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 Finland 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.

For additional details on this event and other promotions, check out

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