Back in 2000 and 2001, when I was still at my previous job as a corporate finance advisor (actually, I was just starting after graduation), I had a chance to make a valuation and privatization project of one of the biggest Estonian companies. I travelled there and back a few times and I was able to meet Estonian people, visit the capital Tallinn and see the countryside. So here are a few facts about Estonia:
Estonia is a small country situated over the Baltic Sea in the north-eastern part of Europe. It is one of the least populated states in Europe with only 1.34 million citizens, out of which 410 thousand live in Tallinn. Although historically being part of Soviet Union, it is actually a relatively rich and modern country. The capital is a mix of old style buildings and new modern constructions occupied with banks, shops and restaurants. Estonian people like fancy items, especially cars. There is no other city in this part of Europe where every second car is a brand new BMW or Mercedes (well almost every second)! Just recently Estonia has introduced currency of EUR, so there will not be any exchange rate issues if you find yourself winning a big prize during EPT Tallinn.
Estonia is a short ferry trip close from Finland to the north, east is Russia and city of Sankt Petersburg and south lies another Baltic state, Latvia. Estonia has a rather cold winter climate, but in the summer temperatures are much more comfortable for people who do not like too much heat. For poker players who not only play cards but are also interested in sightseeing and culture, in 2011 Tallinn is European Capital of Culture, so there will be many events taking place.
I have also taken part in poker tournaments in Estonia. In 2010 I went to play Baltic Festival organized by PokerStars. Although not cashing in the main event I managed to win a turbo side event, so I have good memories about playing poker there. The poker room in five star Swisshotel is very nice and organization was outstanding. The hotel provides Pürovel Spa, has a pool, gym, treatment rooms and a fitness studio. Wireless and wired internet is free.
As the first stop of EPT Season 8, with €4.250 buyin Tallinn is a perfect place to start off well the EPT Player of the Year race. For those who find cards not cooperating well in the main event there will be many side events with buyins ranging from €300 in small turbo events to €10.000 for high roller players. Last year main event gathered more than 400 players and Kevin Stani brought home €400.000 for the first prize.
As always, my goal is to play solid poker, make good decisions and hope the cards are going my way. After already making two 3rd places in EPTs in 2008 and 2010, I want to finally see my name on the top of the results list :). It will not be easy, as there are a lot of very good players constantly improving their skills and each of them eyes the same spot. On the other hand I have also put a lot of work on my game and I feel good before going to Tallinn.
If you are still hesitating whether or not to go, just go ahead, buy a plane ticket and reserve a seat in the most prestigious poker tour in Europe. See you on the final table!