In less than 30 days, Italy took down the first-ever Global Poker Masters World Cup, the Full Tilt Online Poker Series XXVIII Main Event, and the biggest possible prize on tap in the Spin & Go games available on PokerStars.it.
While the country celebrated a month to remember, the World Poker Tour announced that the first day of sales for the upcoming WPT Amsterdam showed that players are really getting ready for what could become one of the most exciting poker events of the season in Europe.
Was March 2015 Italy's Best Month Ever?
Looking at the numbers, one may seriously think that March 2015 has been one of the most remarkable months in the history of Italian poker. First, the country celebrated the biggest Italian Poker Tour ever, thanks to the 1,285 entries in the €1,100 buy-in IPT Malta Main Event that ran March 18-23.
Then, a team of four Italian players managed to bring home the title of the first-ever GPM, with the country's wunderkind Giuliano Bendinelli being selected as the best player of the competition.
"I have always said that I play for glory rather than for money, and that's why I believe this is one of the best days in my life," Bendinelli, who also tried to celebrate the victory by jumping in the fountain in front of the event's venue, told PokerNews. "Really, the GPM victory and the title of best player in the competition are something that I value more than many other things, a European Poker Tour Main Event victory included."
If you count that the team competition organized (and dreamt) by the Global Poker Index CEO Alex Dreyfus took on top players of the game like Isaac Haxton, Vanessa Selbst, Sam Trickett, and George Danzer, just to name a few, it is even more clear how epic the victory was. Italy's team was composed of Mustapha Kanit, Andrea Dato, Dario Sammartino, Rocco Palumbo, and Bendinelli.
Only a few days later, Kanit managed to carry his "potta_Xpotta" screen name on Full Tilt all the way through the 1,260-entry field that took part in the FTOPS Main Event to win $392,375.
As if this was not enough, last week Italy's "Paul1280" managed to get the best out of the Spin & Go games available at PokerStars.it, turning a €10 buy-in into a €100,000 prize. The 35-year-old restaurant worker, part-time poker dealer, and Supernova at PokerStars.it hails from Northern Italy, and he closed March with a dream victory that, numbers at hand, can happen only four times for every 1,000,000 $10 buy-in Spin & Gos played.
Players Already Lining Up for WPT Amsterdam
Although an unwritten marketing rule says that you should probably not make any big announcement on April 1 if you want to be taken seriously, the preparation of the WPT in Amsterdam is going so well that the general manager at WPT Europe, Hermance Blum, decided she could just take the risk.
Talking about the first day of seat sales to play at one of the most awaited tournaments of the season, Blum explained that things went so well that they were able to give away "40 seats in less than four hours."
"Everyone is very excited, especially because they will get to see Amsterdam in the spring, which is actually the perfect time before leaving to the US for the World Series of Poker," Blum told PokerNews.
According to Blum, players are enthusiastic about the upcoming WPT in Amsterdam because the events held in the past at the Holland Casino have shown how this should be considered as one of Europe's finest locations for poker players.
"People really loved how Holland Casino hosted them during the Master Classics," she continued. "So I can tell they expect nothing but the best poker experience with our two brands partnering together. We can tell WPT Amsterdam has already become a regular feature on the European circuit. It just instantly clicked!"
The WPT Amsterdam will run May 9-16, highlighted by the €3,300 Main Event. The festival's schedule also includes a €6,000 High Roller with unlimited reentry until the start of Day 2, a €1,500 Big Stack with single reentry, and several other events ranging in buy-ins of €300-€750.
Talking about the event, WPT President Adam Pliska said to be proud of the four-year deal inked by the WPT and Holland Casino as "the Dutch have a rich history in poker, including various final table appearances on the World Poker Tour, and we look forward to creating more memories with top professionals and aspiring players alike over the next four years."