Petter Northug continued his run at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas on Monday, upping his chip count by 50 percent and advancing to the fourth day of competition.
“During the three days he has played, he has not made a single mistake,” said Thorkild Gundersen, a journalist from Northug’s sponsor, Vi Menn Magazine, in an interview with the Norwegian website Nettavisen.
After his third day of play at the tournament, Northug checked out with 180,700 in chips, while the average player sits at 177,000, according to Vi Menn. Northug began Monday’s round with some 130,000 chips, quickly ran up his count to 200,000, and then lost a few hands later on in the day.
Roughly 1,200 players remain in the tournament, with the top 747 receiving prize money, and the field will likely be reduced below that number on Tuesday. Payouts start at $19,263 for places 676 through 747.
Coverage of the tournament has reached a boil in Norway, and a number of publications have raised concern over the fact that Northug will have to miss the World Cup opener if he qualifies for the final table of nine. (World Series organizers postpone the last table until November to allow players time to attract sponsors, and for media to hype the event.)
In an interview with the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet, Norwegian Head Coach Age Skinstaad played down the concerns.
“If [Northug qualifies], there is no problem…Everyone needs to relax and think of other things,” Skinstaad said. “I think it’s very, very positive that he’s involved with such things.”
Nat Herz is an Alaska-based journalist who moonlights for FasterSkier as an occasional reporter and podcast host. He was FasterSkier's full-time reporter in 2010 and 2011.