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Dutch News

by Anthon-Pieter Wink |  Published: Aug 01, 2007

The Dutch at the World Series of Poker: Who Will Be the First?
Of course, the World Series of Poker is in everyone's mind now, but in the Netherlands, the Twentse Series of Poker has received a lot of buzz, as well. It made a bold move by trying to set up a €10,000 buy-in tournament for this year, but things fell through when attendance still seemed to be small. Upper management of the Holland Casino chain then decided to keep the main tournament of the year in Amsterdam with its Master Classics of Poker, which will return in the fall. So, exit the biggest tournament the Netherlands would ever see and enter the regular and more modest €1,000 and €2,000 tournaments. Maybe Holland isn't ready for €10,000 tournaments yet. Maybe Amsterdam will surprise us this year. But for now, the atmosphere in Twente was excellent, as always, and Dutch successes were omnipresent: The biggest feat came from PokerInfo regular Frank List, who chopped the main event for more than €40,000.

As I'm writing this, the TSOP is over, the WSOP is in full swing, and the whole of Holland is following it; I am serious, the whole of Holland. From the suits in the metro to the barmen in the village pubs to the friends of my mother's at their weekly tea party, everybody is talking about it. Coverage of a poker event has never been so extensive in the Netherlands, with delegated teams of writers reporting every move the Dutchies make in any of the events. And since they are there, they might as well give us, the people stuck at home, an update on chip counts and interesting moves by the other players. Literally every Dutch check-raise is analyzed, every change in clothing is noticed, and every little cough is explained as a move to off-balance the opponents.

Why such elaborate reports? Because this is the year of the first Dutchman winning a bracelet. Everyone is certain of it. Besides the question of who will be the first, online discussions are held mostly about how many WSOP titles will be won by Dutchies this year. People are playing the earlier events just to be the first Dutch bracelet winner, and players who cannot attend until early July are afraid that they are without a chance to become the first.

And even from an objective point of view, it must be said that there is a fair chance it will finally happen this year. Dutchmen make up a larger percentage of the field every year: Estimates of the earlier events show more than 40 Dutchmen in fields of 3,000. That might not seem much, but a statistical probability of more than 1 percent to win an event, combined with the substantial amount of talent in the Netherlands and the huge number of events this year, spells D-u-t-c-h B-r-a-c-e-l-e-t.

A lot of the online discussion is now on which one of the players is most likely to succeed. Taking into account that you probably already know the answer, here's what the visitors of PokerInfo thought four days into the Series:

Steve Wong - 28.6 percent
Marcel Luske - 12.6 percent
Lex Veldhuis - 12.6 percent
Rolf Slotboom - 10 percent
Peter Dalhuijsen - 7.4 percent
Rob Hollink - 3.7 percent
Armijn Meijer - 3.7 percent
Marc Naalden - 3 percent
Noah Boeken - 2.6 percent
Other well-known player - 3.4 percent
Unknown Dutch player - 12.2 percent

On PokerNews, however, the general opinion is a bit different. While Steve Wong posts his reports of Vegas life and the WSOP on, Lex Veldhuis (RaSZi) does so on the "rival site", and there, Lex is a big favourite for the title. Both sites have grown over the last few years to become the major poker portals in the Netherlands, completed by, the site of Peter Dalhuijsen and companions. Users often either choose one side and stick with it or equally divide their poker reading and discussion time over both sites. Of course, each of the portals would love to see a team member, dedicated user, or even administrator take down a title. But the feeling of "our little country against the rest of the world" is creating some brotherhood and mutual support, which results in cross-posts, interviews of each other's forum members, and such.

When you read this column, the name of the first Dutch bracelet winner might be known. And as I write this now, I believe it will be known. But, objectively, there is a chance that we will have to wait at least another year. I would be mildly surprised and relieved at the same time. Inasmuch as it doesn't look like I will be able to attend the WSOP this year, there is still a chance, next year, for me to become the first.

Anthon-Pieter Wink is a freelance poker writer and journalist who writes for