EPT8 Campione: Italian enthusiasm for side events and parties

ept-thumb-promo.jpgThe growth of poker has reached fully around the globe spreading out from Las Vegas through Ireland into the UK, mainland Europe and Asia, down through Central and South America. You would be hard pressed, however, to find any nation that has taken to the game more enthusiastically than the Italians. They love it.

Without playing up to any national stereotypes* the game is particularly suited to the Italians. They love a bit of machismo; it's all chest thumping, card flapping, slow rolls, balls on the table poker. And it's great fun to watch and, some would say, to play against.

Emiliano Bono, for instance, would put a piece of black cloth on his head each time he was all-in, a trick which seemed to please the poker gods as he pushed his way through to a runner-up finish at EPT Prague in Season 7 the year Roberto Romanello took his title and burst into tears (he's half-Italian). Although Italy has only claimed one EPT title so far (one-and-a-half if you include Romanello), it is hotly contesting final table appearance with 40 berths in the final eight since Season 1, just behind Germany. It's only a matter of time until they pick up another title, they're certainly getting enough practice.

*We are, of course, playing up to national stereotypes.

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EPT Campione: loads of action, on and off the tables

The PokerStars Italian Poker Tour has been a roaring success during its first three seasons with Campione being one of its key stops and it's easy to see why, it's a lovely casino, a great tournament space. A field of 482 amassed for the SFr2,000 IPT main event here in November.

As you'd expect from a country that's thrown itself into the game, there are a whole lot of side events here. Find all the EPT Campione side events by clicking on this click. Cash games will be running from 3pm until 2.30am each day (or so we've been told) with No-Limit Hold'em and Pot-Limit Omaha games starting from 1-2 and going up to 20-40 (all in Swiss Francs, which are 1.2 to the Euro).

Now then, for those of you that come to Campione and don't want to play poker 24/7 (I know, there aren't many) the Casino Campione D'Italia has laid on some great diversions. We've cherry picked a few things that caught our eye.

The EPT Party
28 March, Day 2 of the main event
The EPT Campione party promises to be a good one. On a boat? Tick. Free booze? Tick. Free food? Tick. Open until 4am? Yes, another tick. The boat leaves the picturesque town of Lugano at 9.30pm on Wednesday night and moors up a short stroll away from the casino at the Campione pier. It's the perfect place for celebrating making Day 3/drowning your sorrows for a late bust out. The PokerStarsBlog video team will be out and about sticking their camera in people's faces. Please feel free to pull faces, make embarrassing dance moves or stick one finger in the air while shouting, "I am number one." There is no guarantee that you won't look like an idiot but, hey, we're in Italy, tap into your inner enthusiast.

Beer festival
29 March, Day 3 of the main event
Make your way to the fifth floor of the casino (it's a big place) and you'll find Cienfuegas, a Cuban cigar bar that's hosting a beer festival (or BEER FESTIVAL!!! in its promotional copy) featuring more than 20 beers from around the world. It's pretty much what it says on the tin.

Hospital party
30 March, Day 4 of the main event
Now, we're not entirely sure what this is all about but it could be worth finding out. Starting at 9pm at Cienfuegas (yes, the same fifth floor cigar bar), 'special nurses' are going to be on hand to soothe your bad beat pains.

Tournament snapshot
Level 2: blinds 75-150
Players: tbc
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Rick Dacey
@PokerStars in Campione