Part of this job is having results, images and names from random poker tournaments engraved into your skull. It’s not always a problem, or wasn’t. Having started to cover the European Poker Tour in season two I got to around Season six and noticed results were no longer sticking in my mind.
I can tell you that Mads Andersen won EPT Copenhagen in Season 2; that Roland de Wolfe won Dublin in Season 3, not to mention Arnaud Mattern’s performance in Prague in Season 4 and Michael Martin in London in Season 5. But Season 6? That’s a blur. So too Season 7. I was in Prague less than three weeks ago and cannot remember who won.
So when I saw Peter Eichhardt taking a seat in the main event this week it a relief to remember something. Back in the early days Peter Eichhardt was one of the originals, not just for being among the first players of note on the EPT, but in his appearance, best described as a well-washed Hells Angel transported from the Middle Ages.
Eichhardt struck first in Deauville in season one, finishing in seventh place, one place ahead of Luca Pagano but behind eventual winner Brandon Schaefer. Two seasons later Eichhardt did the same in Baden, crashing out in eighth place (he’d held the chip lead with ten left) in an event that also introduced the world to 22-year-old Dario Minieri.
Two EPT cashes, and both from final tables. That was 2006. Then, Eichhardt disappeared from the tour while scoring tournament wins in Estonia, Sweden and Finland, before he turned his back on the touring world.
Back in the saddle this week in what is his first PCA, Eichhardt now looks like a man content with his lot; a family man spending more time at home, perhaps jogging a few memories by dipping his toe in to the poker world, if only briefly.
“I don’t play that much anymore,” said Eichhardt at the break, before adding with financial acumen out of sync with the popular trend: “I think it’s kind of expensive to go around playing all these tournaments.”
Eichhardt is here as a PokerStars qualifier, years since he was a major player on the EPT, plenty of time for there to be some big changes.
“It’s a lot of these young kids you’ve never seen before,” said Eichhardt. “They’re really good, so it’s tough.
“I started playing 20 years ago, going to Las Vegas. Then you knew who was good. You knew all their names. Now you have no clue.”
If a few years away from the high stakes end of the game is enough to add some pragmatism to the Swede, the memory of his former exploits brought him to life, recalling easily the fine detail of a final table more than five years ago.
“I was smallest in chips because I lost three big hands and I was a big chip leader at ten players” said Eichhardt. “I just remember from ten players to the final I was really disappointed because I thought I had a really good chance to win that tournament. It didn’t turn out.”
Regardless, as a veteran of the reporting staff (one media room in Season 2 was the space underneath a staircase) to a veteran of the playing staff, it’s good to see Eichhardt back. For how long, I couldn’t tell you. And if anyone can remind me who won EPT Prague last month I’d be really grateful.