EPT8 Copenhagen: How to win an EPT


Winning a main event on the European Poker Tour is notoriously hard. It's supposed to be. To date there have been nearly 80 EPTs, each won by the most talented players in the game, none of whom have yet been able to win a second. There's no specific formula to success that they can claim to know, no secret or magic elixir, to bring with it wealth and triumph. It's just a week of hard graft each time.

That's all well and good but are there ways you can increase your chances? Get the odds to work in your favour more? We think there might be and offer this cut-out-and-keep practical guide for players below.

Put it to use for guaranteed* results.

Don't arrive first
An easy one to start with. Never be the first to sit down. Don't be that guy who shows up 40 minutes early, almost before the dealer, and gets their paperwork squared off before another player even arrives. Come to think of it, don't be the second player to arrive either. Try to wait until the last minute and walk into the tournament room with the crowd.

If possible arrive late
This is even better, if you're brave enough to try it. Sure, you'll lose a few chips but the impression it gives to other players at your table is of "strength through ambivalence". As you take your seat be sure to toss your crumpled registration ticket on the table and raise immediately. If a hand is in progress as you arrive at your table, try calling the clock on whoever is in the hand to acquire an immediate table presence.

Look right
It's crucial that you spend a lot of time on your appearance while appearing to have spent no time on your appearance. Under no circumstances should you wear leather shoes but if you must think twice about applying polish. Wear your trousers low, exposing your underpants, and leave the tie out of it. No more Ed Hardy please, those days have gone, but if you can rustle up a hooded top so much the better. Mess your hair up and don't wash it.

In short, look like this:


Not like this...

Sorry sir...

Own expensive accessories
In the same way your mother would take you to the store each summer to kit you out in school shoes shirts, trousers and a new geometry kit, you need to take the same approach when playing an EPT.

Get yourself some sunglasses and headphones. It's important not to scrimp on these as the other children will spot a cut price pair and know you're not serious. If you can't afford good headphones (presumably because you haven't won an EPT yet), the best thing to do is try to convince people you've gone old-school by wearing a pair so old that they must be expensive. Like the ones that used to come with the original Sony Walkman. Under no circumstances should you hand write a brand name onto them.

Spend time, not in a hand, wisely
Never look like you're trying to follow the game to gain information on other people. This may be what was written in the books years ago but modern players simply don't do this anymore, to a point where it has become frowned upon. Instead, be sure to spend time when not in a hand fiddling with an electronic device, be it a telephone or iPad. Feel free to play games -solitaire for example, or that game with the birds - or maybe watch a film. Don't take this to mean sewing or needlework.

Be young
Another important one, and it's no use "dressing young" either. People will spot this and pull you to shreds. By young we mean young - no more than 30 years of age, and even that's pushing it. Ideally you should be under 25 and not yet need to shave or pay bills.

A potential EPT winner, today...

If you're "old"
If you have to be old, make sure you're playing your first EPT event. You'll need a story and it might help if you are the owner of a waste disposal company for example, having collected dirt as a child and turned it into a profitable business before leaving school.

Ideally you should be a recreational player who played an EPT satellite at the urging of your friends who had already won their seats. It would be best also if you had been in two minds before making the journey and it goes without saying that a young child cheering you on from home is a bonus.

Be good
This isn't meant in the way your mother wanted, but in terms of your talent as a poker player. One thing that links all EPT winners, even the unexpected ones, is a certain degree of skill. You cannot luck your way to an EPT win (we've previously established that this will only take you as far as fifth), or rely on good cards, you need something else.

You also need strong arms to lift the trophy, and if you can put together a short snappy sentence about how you feel to have won, that would be very much appreciated. Congratulations, you're now a champion.

* Results are not guaranteed.

Stephen Bartley
@StephenBartley in European Poker Tour