EPT Berlin: The first really big one
Late last night, in the E4 nightclub on Berlin's Potsdammer Platz, members of the European media were discussing the imminent start of the PokerStars European Poker Tour Berlin event. Surrounded by women wearing feathers, tights and not much else, one comment stood out in particular: "This is going to be our first really big one," said a veteran of more than 40 such events.
This was a hugely notable observation. The European Poker Tour has visited some of the most prestigious locations across the continent and awarded some of the largest prize pools in world poker. But even in comparison with these remarkable events, this is our "first really big one".
The numbers say it all. The cap this week is 1,000 players, and there's a likelihood that we might bust through it. But even more notable than that is the guaranteed prize pool. The winner here will take at least €1 million. One. Million. Euros.
Other than that (Ha!), it's just another EPT. That means six days, tense competition, many, many familiar faces and doubtless some players graduating from the online tables to the biggest world stage with all the moves to make big waves. There are at least 243 PokerStars qualifiers here, but players are coming from all over the place.
Today we welcome at least the following: Michael Keiner, Sebastian Ruthenberg, Benjamin Kang, Johannes Steindl, Arnaud Mattern, Katja Thater, Tom McEvoy, Vicky Coren, Jude Ainsworth. (Pay particular attention to the "at least" sprinkled throughout this post.)
Action is due to get under way on day 1A at midday at a packed conference facility of the Grand Hyatt hotel. We will play nine one-hour levels today, with a 90-minute tournament break after six of those. It will be the same tomorrow.
All the action, as ever, will be blow-by-blow on PokerStars Blog, with latest chip counts on the chip-count page. Video coverage will be on PokerStars.tv and the tournament structure is on the tournament structure page.
Last year, Sandra Naujoks took this one down in her home country. This year? Who knows; stay tuned to find out.