The Good News: The website you run is rolling, and at an all time high.
The Bad News: Your changing of focus from your prior career to play poker, and run said website has basically turned into running said website, as the growth has been so rapid, its all you can do to simply keep up.
It's true; I essentially don't play poker anymore. It's a fact I take with a grain of salt for the moment, as I am so proud of the website that my colleagues and I have been able to build and grow, that I simply hope one day to be able to enjoy the growth, and find some time to play.
That's why the EPT tournaments are so great for me. It gives me an excuse to play some poker, while getting to work out of our home office, and bond with my colleagues.
EPT tournaments are just different. Certainly, there are cultural differences, and that's part of it. But, also they just feel more like I would hope poker tournaments would. Everyone is very relaxed, and having a good time. Mind you - these men and women will cut your heart out to take your chips - but all is done in the spirit of good competition.
In the eight + levels I lasted, with 23 tables in play, I might have heard a floor called twice. Twice. Maybe I heard three or four guys yell out 'yes!' all day. No one screamed at the top of their lungs that they were the 'king of the world', or had any cross words for anyone that knocked them out (that I heard). People were focused, yet relaxed. A lot of good poker was played.
The tide is turning with respect to the complexion of EPT tournaments. This year, French online cash qualifiers outnumbered Americans. I think this is the first time this has happened in the tours young history. Last year, I also played in this event, and I would say about half the field were Americans. This year, the field size doubled, and I would say 80% of the field were Europeans.
The point of all of this is that tournament poker in Europe is healthy indeed. Its exciting to see the growth, and a breath of fresh air to play in these tournaments.
The Casino Barriere is a terrific place to stage a poker tournament. Absolutely beautiful, and well thought out. The tournament is not held in the traditional casino, but in an adjacent ballroom. EPT tournaments, though they may start ten handed, are played out eight handed. Eight handed play adds to the relaxed nature of the tournament - and suits my game just fine, thank you.
Another note about the tournament play. The EPT uses 'circuit dealers', that is dealers that travel, and deal for a living. I must say that at the four EPT events I have played in, the dealing was always top notch. This makes such a difference. Thomas Kremser, and his staff should be proud of a well run tournament.
Qualifiers were put up at the five-star Normandy Barriere. This hotel is absolutely fantastic - but I must take them to task for one thing - Dial Up. Oh, you could get Wi Fi, but it cost about $55 a day, and you had to sit within about 50 feet of the business center where the hub was located. This area was generally filled with young European players getting the most out of their $55 a day by 6 tabling $2,000 No Limit on any one of several online poker sites. Apart from the internet access issue - the hotel was a pleasure.
Oh, yes - my play. Well, suffice it to say I played the role of Le Donk Americain to a 'T', and was out by level 9. My worst performance in any EPT event by far. I was well above average for hours 3-7, but didn't get a lot of help from the deck, and it seemed like every time I made a move at a pot - I went down in flames. As they say in France - C'est La Vie.
Its fantastic to see tournament poker in Europe so healthy, and I cannot wait to come back here to Europe and play more poker. Should I hope that the growth of this site slows down, and I have more time to play? Um....no - thank you very much. I'll take things the way they are.