EPT8 Monaco: He is the Wahlroos
He used to be a regular on the European Poker Tour. Not only that he was one of its characters, an original, devoid of the need to appear popular on television, or create some mythical reputation for himself. He played for a living but he played for fun. Now Thomas Wahlroos no longer plays for a living but still plays for fun.
"I'm trading stocks and bonds," said Wahlroos at the break, explaining his absence on the tour. "I play a few events every year. Because I live in London I'll play the London EPT events. I'm down here for this and then European World Series, that's pretty much what I'm playing these days."
The game has changed somewhat in the time he has been away. There are more events (albeit few next year with a new look), bigger prize pools and about 30 more champions. The atmosphere remains as does Walhroos's natural enthusiasm for the game. Does he miss it?
"Sure, it's really good to come back and see some old friends," he said. "The field is getting much tougher in my absence. It's tough to beat these guys but I'm not doing this professionally now so I'm just here to have fun and produce some kind of results."
Having fun has been at the heart of Wahlroos's game, which over the past six years has seen him reach a World Poker Tour final table, scored numerous World Series cashes and as recently as October 2011, when he won the £10,000 Six-Max High Roller event during EPT London, a couple of days away from the office that earned him £226,400.
During his prime as a casual trouble maker Wahlroos once caused a stir during the World Series of Poker. Taking his sizeable stack to his new table Wahlroos interrupted a tense hand that was going on at his new table and immediately called the clock, much to the chagrin of those involved. But regardless of the uproar, the move had flair. Wahlroos always had flair. Did he remember doing that?
"No," he said through a grin. "I'm sure there are a few Wahlroos stories that I've forgotten over the years. That might have happened."
It did happen. Or at least I hope it did.