We sat down and interviewed Teresa Nousiainen, the lovely Tournament Director of OlyBet Kings of Tallinn. Find out what she expects of the Nordic’s top festival this year.
Photo: Jukka Mykkänen
Teresa, you have been the Tournament Director of the festival since the very first Kings of Tallinn. What has been your role in making it an event not to be missed?
Kings of Tallinn surely is my ‘baby’. I suggested a poker festival concept to Risto Suurpõld and Olympic Casino three years ago and they were open to ideas. Risto and I worked on the idea together and here we now are with the biggest poker festival in the Nordics. I am really proud of Kings of Tallinn and the way it has grown. I am also very happy to be working with Risto and Olympic Entertainment Group. The whole team is truly great and I mean it from the bottom of my heart.
You are once again expecting a record-breaking field this year. What drives the growth of the festival?
I have never had that many people asking me about hotel rooms and the festival itself. My Facebook Messenger is full! Yes, this will absolutely be the biggest Kings of Tallinn so far.
I have never had that many people asking me about hotel rooms and the festival itself. My Facebook Messenger is full! Yes, this will absolutely be the biggest Kings of Tallinn so far. We have big poker celebrities travelling in and supporting Kings of Tallinn and it makes me feel very thankful. I think people can sense when something is being done with big heart and passion. We truly want to provide players with the best playing experience possible.
It’s the third year for Kings of Tallinn to take place. What has been the player’s feedback from previous years?
The feedback has been amazing. Juha Helppi, who is one of the top tournament players in the world, says Kings of Tallinn is on his calendar every year. That’s pretty cool! Players especially took the time and sent thank you emails and messages last year after the festival. You know you are doing something very right when a busy poker player takes the time to send you a thank you note just because they had such a great time. Players appreciate the warm atmosphere, the staff, and the tournament schedule. Our main problem last year was that we were running out of poker tables! That’s a pretty good ‘problem’, I would say. Now that we will be in the fabulous new Hilton Tallinn Park we will have so much more space, tables, and staff. I am really looking forward to it.
Now that we will be in the fabulous new Hilton Tallinn Park we will have so much more space, tables, and staff. I am really looking forward to it.
What makes Kings of Tallinn special and stand out from the poker festival scene?
I think what makes Kings of Tallinn a truly great outstanding poker festival is the drive, heart, and effort that we put into the planning and running the festival. We want to give players the best possible playing experience and I am sure it shows to players.
There are quite a few additions to the tournament schedule. What are some of the highlights this year?
I always take the time to talk with players, ask for ideas and overall feedback. This is my base for the tournament schedule. This year we have 35 events, including special tournaments that players have requested, like Sökö (Finnish Five Card Stud), Sviten (a Swedish Draw/ PLO Game), Crazy Pineapple, Omaha High/Low and Open Face Chinese Pineapple. Of course, most tournaments are still No Limit Texas Hold’Em – it is the most popular poker version in the world. Our Main Event is an 1100€ buy in Texas Hold’Em with 30 000 starting stack and 60-minute levels. What’s nice is that the late registration and re-entries are available until the start of day 2.
What has worked well in previous years and will definitely continue this year?
Players have really liked our Team Challenge. Players play all events individually but on top of winning money, players in four-player teams collect points for their team when cashing in any of the events. 2% of all tournament prize pools go to a special Team Challenge Prize Pool. The team with most points at the end of the festival will win extra prize money expected to reach close to €15,000! Also, the tournament structures have received good feedback, and the fact that Main Event ends every evening at 9pm. This gives players the chance to play side events, cash games and enjoy Tallinn as well! Players that play our 2150€ Highroller event are invited to an exclusive dinner in a top Tallinn restaurant – a nice surprise for players since the very first year of Kings of Tallinn.
The team with most points at the end of the festival will win extra prize money expected to reach close to €15,000
What can players expect when coming to Tallinn in February?
A fantastic fun atmosphere, beautiful venue and great staff – and of course crazy good action! We have so many well-known players coming in that I think this too gives Kings of Tallinn a special touch. It is fun to see big names in action!
Register now for Kings of Tallinn tournaments on OlyBet.com or at the cashier of Olympic Park Casino in Tallinn. Satellites are running on OlyBet.com with weekly direct qualifiers on Sunday.
Teresa Nousiainen showing WSOP champion Barny Boatman to his table