EPT Monaco: Before you win two, win one
If you've ever read anything about the European Poker Tour (EPT), chances are you've read about this whole two-time winner hoodoo. We've written about it so many times, the keys practically type themselves. In short: no one has ever won two EPTszzzzzzzzzz.
Thing is, a quick glance around the High Roller field in Monaco today goes some way to explaining why no one has ever done the main event double. Quite apart from picking up a second trophy, some of poker's dyed-in-the-wall legends have never even won a first.
It's really quite stunning. Here are a few of the players in the Salle des Etoiles this afternoon, with the number of EPT titles in brackets beside their names:
Erik Seidel (0), Will Reynolds (0), Tom Marchese (0), Isaac Haxton (0), Vanessa Selbst (0), Bryn Kenney (0), Sami Kelopuro (0), Scott Seiver (0), Chris Moorman (0), David Williams (0), Dan Shak (0), Lex Veldhuis (0), Sorel Mizzi (0), Ivan Demidov (0), Jonathan Duhamel (0), Mike Watson (0), William Thorson (0), Martin Kabrhel (0), Daniel Negreanu (0), Toni Judet (0), Jason Sommerville (0), Yevgeniy Timoshenko (0), Daniel Cates (0), Phil Ivey (0), Alex Gomes (0), Dan Smith (0), Eugene Katchalov (0), JP Kelly (0), Philipp Gruissem (0), Steve O'Dwyer (0), Tobias Reinkemeier (0), Viktor Blom (0), Justin Bonomo (0) and Faraz Jaka (0).
You get the picture - and if this little lot haven't managed a single title between them, you can see why it's so hard for anyone to get another.
Of course, there also are some former main event champions in the field: Mike McDonald, Christophe Benzimra, Max Lykov, Martin Finger, Mark Teltscher, Liv Boeree, Jason Mercier, Martin Schleich, Patrick Antonius and ElkY. And a significant number of them have already picked up High Roller titles too.
We're not saying this lot aren't celebrated. Far from it. But they seem to have about as much chance as you or I at becoming the first two-time champ.
At the end of the first level of play, there were 51 players on the entry list, of which 50 remained. At the end of the second level of play, there were 100 players on the entry list, of which 99 remained.
Now, even as we get close to the end of level three, the board shows 113 registrations and 112 still in.
But unfortunately this isn't all as clear as it sounds. During this extended registration period, players have also been able to re-enter, once and once only. Govert Metaal, our first faller, did so. Ditto Daniel Negreanu. Tony Gregg busted and bought back; Kevin MacPhee busted but didn't.
Viktor Blom busted and said he would be buying back but hasn't yet. And doubtless in the coming hour a load more will be busting and maybe buying back, but maybe not. That number represents buy-ins, rather than actual people, and it's impossible to keep up with it all at the moment.
So it's as clear as mud, but hang in there and we will soon find out what is really going on.