EPT12 Barcelona: Spain has its champ, but others underachieve still
When Adrian Mateos won the EPT Grand Final last season, one of the European Poker Tour's long-standing hoodoos was broken. Despite countless near misses, and despite hosting an EPT tournament during every season, Spain had somehow never produced a winner--until that moment in May.
Always in search of a new hoodoo to replace the old, it got me pondering which country would now take over the title of the EPT's most underachieving nation. But only a cursory investigation revealed that, in fact, we had maybe been a little hard on Spain. They weren't even the biggest European nation who have never produced a champion.
Step forward Turkey to collect that honour. Seventy-eight million people and not an EPT champion between them.
That too is perhaps a little harsh. Turkey is not exactly a poker stronghold and EPT Istanbul is a long way off. According to everybody's favourite online encyclopaedia, gambling in Turkey is strictly regulated, and the country's last casino closed in 1998.
Each of Europe's top ten most populous other nations has crowned at least one EPT champion, with the United Kingdom, the fifth biggest country in the continent, leading the way with 16 former winners. (That's 15 uniques and one re-entry; Vicky Coren-Mitchell's double triumph.)
It's pretty easy to determine the continent's overachieving nations, and they are all up there in the Nordic region. Sweden's 9.7 million population makes it only the 18th biggest in Europe, yet there have been nine champions under the blue and yellow flag. That's one EPT title per 1.07 million people.
Similarly Denmark is punching well above its weight. Its population of around 5.6 million puts it 25th on the size table, but its seven EPT titles can be shared around at a rate of one per 800,000. Only the Danes have managed to pull off back-to-back-to-back title-winning runs too, when Mickey Petersen, Frederick Jensen and Jannick Wrang won in Copenhagen, Madrid and Campione, respectively, in Season 8.
Taking all of this into account (and ignoring countries outside of Europe) the new EPT underachievers, I think, are Russia. The biggest nation in Europe has more than 146 million people in its vast land-mass, but has provided only three EPT champions, and none since Andrey Pateychuk in Sanremo in Season 8.
That's one EPT title per 48 million people, and that really is not enough to go round.
EPT PERFORMANCES OF EUROPE'S TEN LARGEST COUNTRIES
Population: 146 million
Winners: 3 (Max Lykov, Vladimir Geshkenbein, Andrey Pateychuk)
Population: 81 million
Winners: 13 (Andre Lettau, Sebastian Pauli, Julian Track, Daniel Pidun, Martin Finger, Benny Spindler, Martin Schleich, Michael Eiler, Sandra Naukoks, Moritz Kranich, Sebastian Ruthenberg, Michael Schulze, Duc Thang Nguyen)
Population: 78 million
Population: 66 million
Winners: 9 (Jan Boubli, Pascal Perrault, Arnaud Mattern, Bertrand Grospellier, Christophe Benzimra, Lucien Cohen, Ludovic Lacay, Remi Castaignon, Jean Montury)
Population: 65 million
Winners: 16 (John Shipley, Ram Vaswani, Mark Teltscher, Victoria Coren x2, Roland de Wolfe, Julian Thew, Will Fry, Jake Cody, Liv Boeree, Toby Lewis, David Vamplew, Roberto Romanello, Rupert Elder, Zimnan Ziyard, Tom Middleton)
Population: 60 million
Winners: 2 (Salvatore Bonavena, Antonio Buonanno)
Population: 46 million
Winners: 1 (Adrian Mateos)
Population: 43 million
Winners: 1 (Oleksii Khoroshenin)
Population: 39 million
Winners: 1 (Dominik Panka)
Population: 20 million
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