Around the World with Lynn Gilmartin: Berlin, Germany
The PokerStars.net European Poker Tour's first visit to Berlin in season six was certainly one that will be remembered for many years not only for setting records as the biggest poker tournament ever seen in the country, but also after the infamous robbery that took place in the middle of the Main Event. Some may be weary about returning, but I would safely bet that this will be one of the most secure tournaments of the year in one of the world's hippest cities.
Spending every day in the poker room would simply be a crime when you are in one of Europe's most popular tourist destinations. With more than 9,000 restaurants and bars, more than 100 theaters with shows on every day, almost 200 museums, and countless cabaret shows, there is simply no excuse for staying inside.
Berlin offers many historic sites with incredible architecture, and, being the "home of techno," some of the best nightlife you'll ever experience. Berghain club, which was voted the best in the world (yes, the world), can be found on the border between Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain — hence the name. Many neighborhoods offer their own unique characters, so you will definitely find something that suits your taste whether it be chic Kürfurstendamm to central, historic Mitte, bohemian Kreuzberg or artsy Prenzlauer Berg.
If time is not your friend, then you're in luck because there's plenty to see near the EPT host casino because it is in the heart of the city. Nearby is the futuristic Potsdamer Platz (pictured above), one of the liveliest spots in Germany. Here you can satisfy any shopping needs you may have or ride in the fastest lift in Europe, which takes just 20 seconds to reach a 100-meter-high panoramic viewing platform in the Kollhoff-Building for a fascinating view of Berlin including the former course of the Berlin Wall. If you have a full day to spare, along with a craving for some exercise after all those hours sitting at the poker table, I recommend taking the running course through City East. Beginning at Potsdamer Platz, it follows the course of the former Berlin Wall where you will pass sights such as former border crossing point Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin's most beautiful square, the Gendarmenmarkt, as well as the Nicolaiviertel. You'll then pass Alex, the Tränenpalast up to Unter den Linden, the Brandenburg Gate and the Tiergarten, as well as many more of Berlin's highlights. The list goes on and on for the sightseeing in this extravagant city. Gloria Balding gave us a taste of some of these amazing sights last year.
Lonely Planet describes Berlin as a "cauldron of cultural cool reminiscent of New York in the '80s" with cafes and clubs jammed until the wee hours. Add to that the brilliant public transportation and freely flowing traffic despite the city's hectic pace, restaurant bills that would only pay for a starter back home, and clubs with no velvet ropes. What are you waiting for? Poker parties are notorious at times for being a little on the bland side with few if any attractive women decorating the dance floor. Evidently in this video, poker parties in Germany are exempt from this reputation.
With just short of 1,000 players entering the PokerStars.net European Poker Tour €5,300 Main Event last year, we saw a whopping prize pool of €4,725,000 divvied up among 144 players, with the champion, 29-year-old American Kevin "ImaLuckSac" MacPhee pocketing €1 million to go with his trophy. After the serial PokerStars qualifier won his long-awaited EPT title, MacPhee's achievement also won him the Players' Choice Award at the Season 6 EPT Awards held last May. Despite his live success, he still loves online poker. In the latest edition of the Sunday Grind, find out how he grinds his online tournaments while on the road.
This year's five-day EPT Main Event, side events and cash games will be held at Spielbank Berlin starting April 5, 2011, with a cap of 800 players. The venue is hosting step satellites in their poker room now until April 2, and, of course, if you're after some cash-game action, the poker room will host a range of games and limits from 1 p.m. to 4 a.m. daily.
To catch all the live action during the PokerStars.net European Poker Tour Berlin, follow @PokerNews_Live on Twitter