Vilamoura is the 16th destination the European Poker Tour has made its own. Back in season one a full season was made up of just seven events making familiar the sights of Barcelona, London, Dublin, Copenhagen, Deauville and Monte Carlo. While some places dropped off the calendar new ones arrived in Dortmund, Warsaw, Prague, the Caribbean and beyond.
This year there will be 13, not to mention the high roller and side events that are appearing at nearly every stop on the tour now. A lot of faces have come and gone in that time, some winning big never to be seen again, others disappearing into oblivion and poker obscurity. You thought no one playing here now was born before 1985 but you’re wrong. In true “this is your life” fashion, we’ve got some of these guys here tonight…
In terms of longevity you could argue that the Grand Final of EPT season one was a key tournament for players looking for a shelf life longer than “flash in the pan.” Three players here today recorded their first cash in that event: Antony Lellouche (12th), Martin Wendt (14th) and Barny Boatman (23rd).
Lellouche has proved the most successful of the trio, at least in terms of the EPT. Five cashes in total and three final tables, the best being his runner-up finish to Jason Mercier in San Remo back in season four, a score worth $797,826. Wendt’s story since then has been one of appearances across Europe and four more tour cashes, most recently in Copenhagen last season. Then there’s Barny Boatman, the perennial Englishman, ever present with a few gaps here and there for skirmishes stateside, and nearly $1.5million in prize money.
Frenchman Michel Abecassis and former soccer player Thomas Brolin are both in this boat, each still regulars on the tour with two cashes between them.
Last but not least there are those who started on the other side of the fourth wall, reporters now being written about rather than doing the writing. Rolf Slotboom, once a stalwart of press rooms across Europe successfully switched sides, close to $600,000 in prize money with a break through win in Amsterdam in 2006. We should point out that the switch doesn’t always work. The blog’s very own Howard Swains and Simon Young have both sampled the good life back in seasons one and two. Between them: no cashes.