Currently Euro2008 is in full swing and the games are displayed every day for all the players in the Amazon Room, which is important considering how international the game of poker truly is.
The greatest thing about soccer (football if you prefer) is the way it lets countries compete on a truly global scale. Sometimes it's easy to forget that sports like American football and basketball are essentially limited to one country, while kicking around a soccer ball is something that almost every kid in every country has done at one point.
Poker is another game that has incredible worldwide appeal. There have been numerous attempts to settle once and for all which country is king in the poker world but because poker is not a team sport it's difficult to actually crown a clear champion in situations like the Max Pescatori, Luca Pagano, Dario Alioto and Dario Minieri represent the next generation of Italian poker players. Minieri in particular is a bit of a conundrum, because Italian players are sometimes known for their too-passive style. Minieri is hyper-aggressive and with many new Italian players learning about the game from him, there could be more like him in the coming years.
Poker is no doubt growing in Italy. The San Remo stop on the EPT this year was one of the best-attended tournaments of the tour's history. Look for many more adept poker players to come out of Italy.
France is another country that could be a major power in the poker world in the years to come. Players like David Benyamine, Bertrand Grospellier, Bruno Fitoussi, Arnaud Mattern and Fabrice Soulier are all exceptionally skilled and always a threat in high-stakes poker tournaments.
In many ways France feels like it has been somewhat excluded from the poker world because of the government's restrictive stance on poker. With the European Union forcing France to open up the online market, it could work wonders for some of the French players in terms of getting them a bit more publicity in the future.
England has an exceptional amount of experience in the game of poker. Players like Dave "Devilfish" Ulliot, Roland De Wolfe, Ram Vaswani and John Gale have been playing, and beating, poker games for years.
Sometimes the only knock on England is the fact they haven't won more in the years that the country has been a force in the poker world.
The game of choice in England is Pot-Limit Omaha and that might be one of the reasons they haven't made a lot of noise in events like the WSOP Main Event and the WPT Championship, which are all No-Limit Hold'em events.
Still, the future of the game in England is notably bright, with players like Neil Channing, Julian Thew, Victoria Coren and James Akenhead making headlines on a regular basis.
In addition the U.K. has some of the most forward-thinking laws with regard to online poker. The powers that be preach regulation and taxation instead of making the game illegal and forcing players to play poker on shady sites.
Be sure to tune in for part two of "The Best Poker Countries in the World," where we'll highlight countries like the United States and Canada. In the meantime you can try and put whatever country you hail from on the poker map by qualifying for the WSOP.