In its three previous incarnations only once was a European able to lay hands on the title and keep the trophy where many would say it rightfully belongs. Two consecutive years have seen an American take those honors and with them, the prestige of the EPT, home with them across the ocean.
In Season 1 it was Rob Hollink of the Netherlands besting a final table stacked with the likes of Jani Sointula, Andy Black and Ram Vaswani.
This season only time will tell if America will prevail again or some fortunate Euro-rounder will hold it down for the home continent.
PL.com had the unfortunate responsibility of covering the aforementioned Italian event and having to spend the intervening time in Nice before catching the short train trip here to Monaco. Life just isn't fair.
We took the few short steps up the steeply inclined street from the station to our hotel, suitcases in tow, before heading out for a quick bite and the PokerStars-sponsored welcome party at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel, which also the venue for the poker proceedings that brought us all the way here from our native Canadia.
The goal of partying was accomplished and we somehow managed to drag ourselves out of bed by the very reasonable start time of 1 p.m. All told 392 turned up and coughed up the €10,000 buy-in needed to take a seat in this most prestigious of tournament rooms.
Pictures don't do this venue justice. It is without question the best-looking room PL.com has ever seen poker played in, with the Fontana Room at Bellagio taking a not-so-close second. Floor-to-ceiling windows frame a panorama of city, sea and hills which was revealed a few hours into the day with the opening of the enormous drapes.
Forty tables packed into the room, as cavernous as it may be, meant space was at a premium. With media from the four corners of the globe in attendance PL.com had to pull out a few of our patented tricks to bring you the action you so desperately crave. Given the amount of promotion being beamed around the world via the massive media room it's no surprise the European Poker Tour continues to flourish while other similar organizations, who have chosen to limit their visibility, are having a tough go of it as of late.
While the field this afternoon was laden with both cagy veterans and the younger generation looking to replace them, it was the latter who came out on top by the time the chips went in the bags. Scandinavian online phenoms Stephan Kjerstad and Johnny Lodden are leading the charge for the Day 1a survivors and we'll just have to wait and see if any of their Day 1b counterparts will be able to outdo them.
With registration open until the end of the first level tomorrow there's no telling how big this field will get before an official number is reached. Right now it's looking like the 800 mark will be broken, which means the prize pool for this tournament will be even bigger than what we saw one year ago. The payouts won't be posted until sometime tomorrow afternoon but a first prize of €2 million could be in the works.
For a look at all the action from today, as well as links to everything PL.com has to offer coverage-wise, it would be a smart move to head over to our Live Tournaments home.
So we're left with just a few questions going forward. Will America go three for four here in the heart of Europa? Will Johnny Lodden make his first final table on the EPT? Will PokerListings.com continue to pwn live tournament coverage for poker fans the world over? We know the answer to one of those questions. We'll leave it up to you to decide which.