Travel Blog: Campione

ept-thumb-promo.jpgI had been to Lake Como once a few years back and was absolutely mesmerized by it, so to find out Campione was close by and a similar setting to Como (perched on the shore of Lake Lugano) excited me very much. It really did not disappoint either. I met Mantyvdas, my Lithuanian cameraman at the airport in Milan and from there we took an hour cab to Campione, through winding roads and picturesque scenery. One moment we were in Italy and then the next, we found ourselves in Switzerland. I was confused at first with what country we were actually in and what language we should speak, but after a little investigation work, it became clear Campione, although in Switzerland was an Italian territory and was definitely much more Italian than Swiss. Thank god, I thought as my preference for Italian food was way higher than Swiss. Yep, I'm always thinking about food.


The casino

I woke early the next morning as the sun streamed through the curtains. As I pulled them back I stood in awe of the beautiful view of Lake Lugano from my window. It was absolutely breathtaking and I couldn't wait to get out and explore. A little more investigation work down the line and I discovered that actually 68% of the lake was in Switzerland, while the remainder in Italy. That could only express the immensity of this stretch of water. Little sailing boats glided peacefully along and a few older people were spotted out walking their canine pooches, though it was surprisingly quiet out and about. It was such a tranquil setting though, quiet and peaceful was just as it should have been.
Luckily for you, we took our video camera out.

It was decided that EPT Campione would have 2pm starts, instead of our usual 12pm, which suited me down to the ground (and more than likely the players as they are never of the variety to rise early!) I had brought my tennis racket with me as I had just started to pick up the hobby from years back, so one morning it was great to get out and play before the tournament started and the clay courts were literally right next to the lake. I had never played with such beautiful scenery next to me. Needless to say I didn't win, but I picked up a great tan!

The weather was sublime every day and I am bringing a little golden glimmer back to London town. One tip I must offer though, if you are thinking of making it out to Campione in the future, try not to ever get a taxi, they are the most expensive taxis probably in the world! There is a little bus that goes back and forth from Campione to Lake Lugano which costs a few euros and it is much more economical!

As always many Team PokerStars Pros joined us for this Italian leg of the tour, the majority taking part of Day 1b. As we were approaching the end of Season 8 too the race for points for EPT Player of the Year was also heating up, with just a few hundred points separating Czech player Ondrej Vinklarek and the notorious Welshman Roberto Romanello. I took to the tournament floor to find out who people thought deserved this title the most.

By Day 4, no Team PokerStars Pros remained, Liv Boeree made it the furthest with a 51st place finish and cash for €9,000. Yet still we had an interesting field of players with a lot of playing experience including the likes of Fabrice Soulier, Per Linde and David Vamplew. We had all just escaped our hangovers by this time too as the EPT Players party was on the evening of Day 2 and on a boat. Yes! A boat! Forgive me for acting like a bit of a fruitcake in this video, but I just felt the need to re-enact that scene from Titanic. I probably should have saved your poor eardrums and not sung though.

As the final table emerged it became clear we had a great line up with a lot of experience and all players from different countries, which was interesting really seeing as 42% of the field were Italian. The final table was no breeze and four-handed play seemed to last a lifetime as the big stack went to the short stack and then kept doubling up.

It was not until 4am that the end was night and Jannick Wrang became the third consecutive Dane to win an EPT. Mickey Petersen took down EPT Copenhagen; Frederik Jensen had Madrid under his belt and now Wrang had Campione in the bag.

He was extremely happy to have beaten American pro Olivier Busquet heads-up, for Busquet had the reputation as one of the best heads-up players in the world. Wrang had also qualified online on in a €109 rebuy satellite, claiming his €640,000 first place win had initially only cost him €309. Not a bad profit! Here is our video with him moments after he took down EPT Campione.

Just around two weeks back at home in London, time to un-pack the bags, put the washing on, catch up with some car-crash telly, see my friends and then its back on the road to Berlin for a three-week trip covering back-to-back EPTs for the end of the season. Bring. It. On.

Laura Cornelius
@PokerStars in European Poker Tour