EPT8 Madrid: All the way from Season 1...
It takes a particular European Poker Tour bore to be able to name particular winners. Luckily most of these geeks work at these events in some capacity, writing blogs.
The name Alexander Stevic doesn't mean a lot to some people, but to aficionados, and anyone who has made a living out of the EPT, he's the man who won the first ever EPT main event, back in Barcelona in 2004. The EPT and the poker world is now a different place.
"There are more players, more money!" said Stevic. "Not like four years ago, five years ago, but it's better, everything is better organised; everything is running smooth; on time, that's something I like. PokerStars is doing a very good job."
Back in Season 1 there was no way of knowing that the tour would become the giant of world poker that it is today. It was merely the dream of a man named John Duthie sitting in his bath, and a few people at PokerStars looking to take poker into the mainstream.
Alexander Stevic (standing) talking with Juan Manuel Pastor
"You kind of felt that something was about to happen because so many players turned up," said Stevic. "A lot of pros; a lot of Scandinavians and English pros. You kind of felt that this would be something big: the European Poker Tour. It was a huge success. Since then it's been better and better all the time."
For Stevic though, one of the tour's early pioneers, playing every EPT event just isn't an option for the poker player grinding out a living.
"I play one or two tournaments per year," said Stevic. "I mainly play cash games. I would like to play more tournaments. But it costs a lot to travel around - all the buy ins and the travel - so I play two three tournaments per year."
It's a point worth highlighting. Back in season one the seven events would cost €23,179 to play. That's just the buy in. Adding travel and accommodation to that would certainly near double it (a good advert for satellites on PokerStars). Now, in season eight, with 134 events, that figure is now €78,168.
For now though it's the rail for Stevic, but at least there's consolation in something that didn't exist back in season one.
"I got knocked out the third hand," said Stevic. "I had very little chips but I might try the 2k event."