Really? You don't think a ticket to the EPT Grand Final is for you?
It's an easy mistake to make. Even as you read this you might be looking at pictures of Monaco, or the Salles des Etoiles where the EPT Main Event takes place, with its retractable roof and uninterrupted view of the Riviera, and be thinking: "nice, but surely not something I could ever do."
You wouldn't be alone either. Over the years we've met a great many men and women who thought the same: it happens to other people, those with more time and money, and besides it's a game for young men with the brains of mathematicians- in short: not me. Funnily enough we meet these people in Monaco, just as they're about to sit down to play the EPT Grand Final Main Event.
This week we heard from two more.
Gun Täljö and Eva Jiretorn are two Swedish women packing sun block and card protectors ready to board flights to the Mediterranean coast in about three weeks from now. Both are recreational players, both work full time, both have those doubts and obligations that make trips like this seem impossible. And yet both are about to play the biggest tournament of their lives thanks to a few Euros in a PokerStars Spin & Go.
Poker has never been more than recreation to Täljö, 56, who while working a job she loves as an economic administrator, has been playing poker for as long as she can remember. It's a great way to unwind away from work and win a few Euros, especially in quick tournaments with small fields, the games she prefers because, as she explained it, she lacks patience. It makes her a perfect fit for Spin & Gos.
And so last month Täljö logged on in the usual way, and feeling adventurous switched to €10 Spin & Go's from her usual €7 games. She described what happened next as "truly amazing". In the first Spin & Go she played that night she won €20. In the next a Monaco package worth €9,000.
"EPT is something I never ever even imagined playing... and to win was truly a shock," she said, before confessing: "When I really try to qualify for something I normally never do but when I don't that's when I succeed."
Something similar happened to Eva Jiretorn.
By day she handles communications for one of Sweden's largest banks, at other times she's a recreational poker player both online or live, and has been for around five years now. She's even tried an EPT Ladies event before. But now she's on her way to her first EPT Main Event.
"I felt a little bit bored since I only had one tournament going and it was very late at night," said Jiretorn. "Then I remembered that a friend of mine played just a few weeks ago and won a package to Monte Carlo. I thought to myself 'why not give it a shot?' I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the golden ticket, and then I won the Sit & Go too."
The result for Jiretorn, just like Täljö, is a package worth €9,000 that includes luxury accommodation at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort, travel expenses and that Main Event seat - and all for a few Euros spent playing what she going to play anyway. The sunshine, the scenery, and the unforgettable experience we throw in for free.
That's their story, and we'll look forward to hearing how it ends. For now, feel free to start your own story. Just remember it can happen, and you'll be in good company.
Don't believe us? It only takes a minutes to open a PokerStars account to begin your EPT campaign Click here to get started.
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.