EPT Final in Monte Carlo
The EPT Final in Monte Carlo recently was the crowning tournament in the initial season of the European Poker Tour. The week was awesome. It was a celebration of European poker, and everyone felt it. This was what European poker can be, and it was the spirit in which European poker can exist. It was in a beautiful location, with the focus on poker. There was camaraderie at the bar, lovely food, high ceilings, and high-quality poker. The week kicked off with a welcome party that seemed more like a gathering of friends. European poker players know one another, and they like to hang out. They like to crowd up to the bar and talk about poker, and then get down to business when the tournament begins. The English, Irish, Swedes, Dutch, Spanish, Austrians, Germans, French, Danes, Finns, and the Russians were all there. And there wasn’t a cross word spoken all week.
Marcel Luske (standing, right) in good company
What makes the European Poker Tour great? Diversity, for one. Even though Pokerstars was the unabashed sponsor, there was plenty of room for other names, mainly because EPT Director John Duthie has insisted on diverse logos being allowed. And this should not change. There were many sites in attendance with marketing teams looking on. PacificPoker ran with Alan Betson and Burnley John. The fledgling EverestPoker grabbed a bunch of the French, including 10th-place finisher Anthony Lellouche. PokerChamps was there with a strong stand of Danes, led by the impressive Scandi law firm of Hansen, Olsen, and Sagstrom. Betfair cheered on Willie Tann and Ben Grundy. NoblePoker was headed by John Kabbaj and Gary Bush. Martin’sPoker came out in force with a team of seven Swedes strong, spearheaded by Martin de Knijff and ably amped up by Ken Lenaard, Cecilia Nordenstam, and rising star Alexander Stevic. PrimaPoker ran with the Hendon Mob. And PokerStars’ sponsored players included world champions Greg Raymer and Chris Moneymaker, along with Isabelle Mercier.
One innovation that was universally applauded was that the entire tournament was played with eighthanded tables. Never have so many poker players gotten so excited about something that at first glance may seem minor. There’s just more play to an eighthanded table, and more skill required. And if murmurs from John Duthie about capping events in the future to accommodate this innovation are true, we’ll be seeing a tour with long legs for the future. Dutchman Rob Hollink played a great game to win the title, and he deserved the 650,000 and the crown. Other stars from the first season also had performances of note, especially American Brandon Schaefer, who played like a dream to take second after winning situs poker online terpercaya in Deauville, and Swede Alex Stevic, who won in Barcelona and came back to take third.
EPT season two is on the horizon. Let’s hope that diversity will continue to be encouraged and accepted by inclusion of both multiple sponsors and players from all points on the globe. That’s the spirit that will be good for all players, and very good for poker.