Low-rolling High Roller: The Life of an EPTourist

Today we debut the first part of an upcoming occasional series from PokerStars' Innovation Coordinator & Ideation Manager, Christin Maschmann. When she isn't coming up with new ideas and fun stuff at PokerStars, she travels the EPT on a surprisingly low budget.


FANGIRL

"Sure, just show up at the venue. It'll be fine!"

I couldn't believe it. The most famous German female poker player and WSOP bracelet winner, Katja Thater, had replied to my email, and I was excited to head to the event venue RDS (Royal Dublin Society) one November day in 2007 after work to visit my first ever European Poker Tour event.

Only half a year earlier I had started playing online poker and quickly fell in love with everything PokerStars. I wanted to get my hands on as much branded merchandise as possible, and I wanted to learn to play poker like Daniel Negreanu.

As I was living in Dublin at the time, my first live play experiences were €30 self-dealt tournaments at the "Fitz," the Fitzwilliams Card Club. When I heard there was a live PokerStars event for big money coming to Dublin, my fangirl heart leaped, and I knew I had to see that.

But could I actually just go there and watch?

So, I had written an email to the former Team Pro Katja to ask and got the above reply.

I couldn't wait to get out of the office (I was working at Yahoo! at the time but had already sent my first applications to PokerStars) to get to the venue.

When I arrived I was surprised I could just walk into the tournament room and in between tables. I quickly spotted the tall and charismatic Katja, and we chatted a bit until Annette Obrestad (who ended up runner-up in this event) stopped by as well. In all of the months I played poker I had wondered if a woman could exist in this male-dominated world. Suddenly I was standing next to two of the most famous female European poker players.

Every day after work, I went to the RDS to watch people play poker. I didn't really know what was going on, but I just loved being there, listening to the sound of the chips and the cards, absorbing the atmosphere, and wishing that someday I could play in a tournament like this.

Together with my Italian poker friend Enrico, I sat at a PokerStars branded table and we let our dreams take over.


Want to roll with the high rollers? Click here to get a PokerStars account.

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First time at a PokerStars table 2007 - Dreaming that one day I could play at an EPT myself


FIRST STEPS

I guess it was because women just rarely show interest that I was given a lot of love at the event. I was invited to join the dinner buffet and got a player bag as a souvenir. I asked all my questions, which included how to get a job at PokerStars.

Out of this conversation came an invitation to help out for IntelliPoker, PokerStars' poker school at EPT Dortmund in January 2008, which I gladly accepted. Ultimately I was offered the job for this daughter-company of PokerStars.

At the time, Daniel Negreanu still was my poker hero. I did one interview with him, and it had convinced the team to hire me to do PR and Marketing.

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Daniel was the main reason in 2007 that I became a poker and PokerStars fan. Not even a year later, I met him here

I had taken my first step.

Little did I know back then that when I eventually got the job at PokerStars, I would neither be allowed to play online on the site nor play EPT Main Events. I had to make a choice between the dream of being a poker player and the dream of working for PokerStars. I chose the safe option, took the job at PokerStars in 2010, and moved to the Isle of Man.

After having worked at EPT Dortmund, San Remo, and Monte Carlo, my love for the game kept growing, and my fascination didn't wane. So I decided to become an EPTourist!

My plan was to visit places I hadn't been to or wanted to visit again anyway and do so while the EPT was in town. I wanted to go sightseeing, play at least one side event at each stop, and spend time with friends I made along the way - staff, media, dealers, and players.

Eight of the 15 EPTs I visited were mainly for holidays.

3,000 DAYS LATER

"Hurry up, will ya?" I said to Team PokerStars Pro Johnny Lodden who had just won a big pot and took forever picking up his chips while I waited to put my ante in for the next hand. He just smirked and raked the chips over the line.

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There I was more than eight years later at the same venue (with the same chairs!). In February 2016 PokerStars' European Poker Tour had made its return to the RDS in Dublin, and so had I.

However, things had changed.

I was still a poker fangirl, but I wasn't playing the EPT Main Event. I was still an employee and still not allowed to play those. I had come to Dublin to work a few of those days, play the UKIPT Main Event, the Women's, and Charity event. The last of those was one of the most exciting tournaments was another proof I had become an integral part of the poker world. The first table I sat down at I played with Team Pros Theo Jorgensen and Jake Cody. Andre Akkari walked past, greeting me cheerfully. I got moved to sit next to Johnny Lodden who, whenever I wasn't involved in a hand, showed me the cards he was playing (it was a fun charity event, so this wasn't an issue and they were always exposed to all in the end). The next table I got moved to, my seat was right next to Eugene Katchalov who greeted me with "Hi, Christin!" I had just enough time for a selfie with him before I busted the tournament. But my fangirl heart was very happy.

All this was on Valentine's Day, and as it happened I ended up having an amazing steak dinner with a group of seven poker players that included two EPT champions.

During the festival two people approached me, recognizing me from my Twitch streams. So, although the poker didn't go well for me on this trip, I was a very happy poker fan.

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Back in 2016 - tattooed and branded

I have come a long way, and I know I am not gonna stop here.

In this series of articles I will tell you about my adventures on the circuit and how I usually manage to hang out in places like London or Monte Carlo without spending a fortune. I am not a big money player, and I have a limited travel bankroll.

Nevertheless, it is possible to mingle with the high rollers while low-rolling it almost all the way. Over the next few months, I'll show you how.

My next EPT trip is probably going to be Barcelona, but I will look back on some of my previous travels in the meantime.


Want to roll with the high rollers? Click here to get a PokerStars account.
Christin Maschmann is the PokerStars Innovation Coordinator & Ideation Manager