In my opinion, one of the greatest innovations on the EPT in recent seasons has been the EPT Concierge. It's a service that helps players set up non-poker activities and excursion while they're at EPT events - things like restaurants, golfing, and other fun, local activities - often for discounted rates.
Go-karting was one of the nice things offered at EPT Sanremo. As I really enjoy driving cars and playing driving simulation computer games, I immediately thought that this would be something for me. Unfortunately I was out of the tournament early, so I had time to give go-karting a try.
The go-kart track staff didn't only measure our lap times. They set up qualification and racing like in Formula 1 for us. We had a Formula 1 start with quarterfinals, semifinals and final. In those heats, whoever was first on the finish line was the winner. It was a great way to bring out everyone's competitive nature.
Also, to make the chances equal for everybody, they weighed all of us. Extra weight was added to the go-karts of people who were lighter than others. It was a very professional touch, especially given all of the different weights of the poker players involved. We had a few Hungarians, some Finns, and of course several PokerStars players - Giada Fang, Richard Toth, Dario Minieri and me. It wouldn't have been much of a race putting Dario or Giada up against some of the Hungarians without the extra weight!
I have a very competitive nature. When I was young, I was a member of Poland's National Alpine Ski Team. Ever since then I've been drawn to racing events and sports. I really like to test myself against other people. Racing against somebody, instead of just against a watch, increases the pressure for everyone. You really have to perform well, without any mistakes.
I also love fast cars. Just before going to Sanremo, I went to Germany to do some race driving. It was organized by the German car manufacturer Opel. After the mandatory safe driving lesson, I was able to get out on the track for some fast laps. My top speed was 260 km/h - what a rush!
We didn't hit those speeds on the go-kart track, but we did pass each other. I've watched lots of Formula 1, so I know how the F1 drivers overtake each other. I started in 2nd place in the final and was right behind the leader, a very good Finn. I kept pushing him until he finally made a mistake that allowed me to overtake him and win the event. It was exhilarating and fun.
You might be shocked to learn that we didn't have any bets on the outcome. I think maybe some of the press made some side bets, but for the 20 competitors it was all about bragging rights. After the final, we had a proper F1 winner ceremony. There was a podium, champagne and a trophy. As the champion, I couldn't resist holding the trophy up in front of everyone else and spraying them with the champagne.
As we all know, you can't win every poker tournament. If you cash one in five times, you're doing great. Those other four times, however, you're going to have to find something else to do. If EPT Concierge keeps organizing great events like the Sanremo go-kart excursion, the sting of busting out of an EPT main event will be a little less.