His aggressive, sometimes seemingly random style made him the darling of the rail and he ended 2007 up over $1.5million
Sami Kelopuro was a high stakes hero in 2007 – now he’s back with a bang….
Sami Kelopuro could do no wrong.
A huge winner in the biggest nose-bleed games in the world, playing heads-up against durrrr, Phil Ivey and the rest of the worlds best, ‘LarsLuzak’ was tearing up the online scene. His aggressive, sometimes seemingly random style made him the darling of the rail and he ended 2007 up over $1.5million in the short-handed NLH & PLO games (see a Poker King blog from September ’07 here for an example of his popularity). In July he had even won the PokerStars $10,000 NLH High-Roller event for $72,000, defeating the on-fire ‘ActionJeff’ in heads-up play.
Just as Sami from Helsinki was closing in on mythical status, he disappeared from the games altogether. Throughout the start of 2008, LarsLuzak seemingly vanished from the face of the earth as forum posters debated whether he had become another ‘busto’ product of the highest variance games on the net. Then in October, ‘LarsLuzak’ returned to the games and after starting up a Finnish blog a lot more is now known about the mystery man (don’t bother trying to read it unless your Finnish is world-class – the English translations make no sense). Kelopuro said he took a break from the games due to a lack of high-stakes ring game action and a shortage of heads-up opponents and went travelling to Thailand. But now he is back and despite losing a $400,000 pot to David Benyamine in his first session is regularly taking on the $500/$1000 NLH & $200/$400 PLO games.
But was he back earlier than October? Controversy erupted in September when Tom Dwan accused Kelopuro of playing on Full Tilt pro Peter Jepsen’s account after losing a $500,000 pot to the Dane. Dwan even told Phil Ivey in the chat box of his suspicions. Both Jepsen & Kelopuro have strongly denied the claims and demanded an apology from Dwan (though they claim the dispute has since been resolved). There are also claims that Kelopuro also uses the mysterious FT account ‘present’ who is a regular in the high stakes games; indeed, the avatar for the account is a soldier, and the Finn did spend time doing military service.
Whatever is said about LarsLuzak, no-one can deny his skill level in heads-up games and the Finn is unsurprisingly good friends with fellow countrymen Patrik Antonius & Ilari ‘Ziigmund’ Sahamies. In Antonius’ blog entry for March he describes Kelopuro: “We decided to call one of the most successful HU no limit players, our friend Sami “LarsLuzak” Kelpuro to see if he would be interested in gambling with his buddies. Sami is only 23 but he has established himself as an online legend and has a hard time finding opponents that will play him.” (The ‘gambling’ referred to Patrik & Ilari playing a series of high stakes heads-up matches against Sami & fellow high stakes player Jani Vilmunen).
With ‘Lars’ back in the games, we can be assured of plenty of high stakes action for the foreseeable future, such as this $124,000 pot with Phil Ivey:
Welcome back Sami.