The 2019 EPT Monte Carlo Main Event has been good for players who qualified for the tournament online. Just ask Ryan Riess.

Ryan Riess is on a roll here in Monte Carlo

The 2013 WSOP Main Event champ is one of six players remaining in the hunt for this year’s title. Should he go on to win, he would become the first world champion to add an EPT Main Event title to his resumé. He would also earn a massive return on his initial investment, given that he earned his seat in a PokerStars online satellite.

Riess was one of 105 players PokerStars qualifiers who played this tournament. Together they represented 11.3 percent of the 922-player field, or roughly one out of every nine participants.

As a group these qualifiers outperformed the rest of the field. In all, 22 of them made the money — that’s 16.2 percent, or roughly one in six, of all those who did so.

Click on an image in the gallery below and move left/right to view.

A number of relatively unknown players enjoyed great success thanks to earning their seats at PokerStars.

Evy Widvey Kvilhaug from Haugesund, Norway, went the furthest in the tournament on the smallest buy-in, having begun her journey in a €55 satellite. Widvey Kvilhaug won that tourney and then a €530 qualifier to earn her Main Event package. Cashing in 23rd place gave her a return on investment of more than 55,000 percent.

Online qualifier Evy Widvey Kvilhaug

“It’s real scary!” she said of tangling with the big guns. “I’m really out of my depth. But it’s fun too, because I’ve seen a lot of them on TV.”

The United Kingdom’s Ambrose Travers was one of Widvey Kvilhaug’s Day 4 victims. But Travers’ 28th place paid €19,990, which was an ROI of over 360,000 percent. His qualifying path began for an investment of just €5.50.

“I came over here to play with the best players in the world, in the best place in the world,” Travers told us just before Day 4 began. “I thought it would be great to get a min-cash. And now here’s 30 left out of 900.”

Plenty of players we already knew were also among those collecting big money, like Brazilian star and two-time WCOOP winner Bruno Volkmann. “I came here almost as a vacation because I had a big result in Rio,” he told us after finishing in 14th place on Day 4. “I like to travel with my family and I wanted to come here to Monte Carlo with my parents because they like the Grand Prix. To cash is a great bonus.”

Even for those who didn’t end up making the money, EPT Monte Carlo was a positive experience. Perhaps nobody signifies this better than Sio Hong Si, a Spin & Go qualifier from Macau whose total outlay for his week-long vacation to Monaco was a mere $3. “I feel so excited that I can make it to Day 2, even with 7300 chips,” he told us after surviving his starting flight with the shortest remaining stack. “It is a dream come true, I feel very good. Thank you PokerStars to make me come here!”

While it remains to be seen whether the last remaining satellite winner takes down the title, there’s no doubt that the experience of playing in luxurious Monaco made winners of all of our PokerStars qualifiers.

Jason has covered poker since 2005. He lives in Washington state with his wife and three dogs.

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