The Curious Case of the Numbers at the First EPT Final

How many were there again?

The 2015 EPT Grand Final is getting closer to the history books with just 22 players left on Day 4.

The first prize is 1 million and change. 564 players ponied up, of that I’m pretty sure.

What should the players who bust do today? Explore Monte Carlo where they charge you 35 for a Coca Cola without any shame whatsoever?

I guess they can always grind online; room service only charges you 20.

Is it really Season 11 already? It seems like it was just Season 1. Maybe not like yesterday, but like a couple of months ago.

According to Wikipedia, Season 1 of the EPT was in 2005. Strange indeed; there must be dimensions science has yet to discover.

The year was 2005

Daniel Negreanu apparently has found them. How else can you explain his luck on Twitch?

Poker Was Booming

So the year was 2005, poker was booming and everybody could pick up spending money for champagne and buy in online whenever they needed.

The Tournament Director on the biggest poker stage of European poker was Thomas Kremser.

I met him at the Concord Casino in Vienna where he worked as the poker manager. He worked the floor with his long stature, perfect tan and a smile worthy of Hollywood.

All the female dealers were in love with him and he picked the one with the most beautiful ass, belonging to Mariana Rado.

They married and together with Concord's best dealer formed a successful trio that were at the right place at the right time. They handled many TV shows like Late Night Poker and William Hill Grand Prix.

Since I was on a lot of them I got to know them. But not that much really, because they were always working and probably too tired for a beer in the bar afterwards.

Registration in the Cloakroom

Kremser was the obvious choice as tournament director when the EPT tour kicked off. He did a good job and was appreciated by everybody.

Swedish PokerStars blogger Lina Olofsson even proclaimed him to be the best TD of all time. One of her good traits is that she is loyal, but I have to mention my friends Steve Frazier and Matt Savage in that discussion.

Thomas Kremser
Thomas Kremser

The first-ever EPT final had two starting days. I played Day 2 and registered just before the start.

It wasn't all high tech like it is today. They registered you from the cloakroom, took the 10,000 in cash and putting it in a cardboard box.

I asked how many had registered. By the number and the line behind me I expected Day 2 to have more players than Day 1. You know, like always.

A short time later the cards were in the air and I remembered making a very thin value bet on the river with AK on a dangerous board and getting called by AQ.

One of the most successful online players then was Swede Bengt Sonnert and he said “wow” when I showed my hand and it was good.

Stuff like that is important to get the respect of your opponents and sets the tone for the rest of the day. It is also important to get pots like that to make you feel good about your own game.

Haven't Seen Before or After

While I was snuggling with my ego I looked at the tournament clock. Strangely enough the number of players was less than Day 1.

I assumed that they weren't done with the registrations. But time passed and nothing happened. Even more strange, I remember thinking to myself, since there was late registration.

The third part of Thomas Kremser's trio walked around with pen and paper, keeping track of certain players.

Juha Helppi
Ask Juha Helppi

I don’t remember exactly what he did. Probably because it was very strange and I have never seen that before - not prior and not after.

I asked him what he was doing and he looked at me like I had just taken a shit in his mouth.

Brain exercise break: What is 10,000 times 10? What is five percent of 220? What is the sum of those numbers times 7?

Ask Juha Helppi About That

Back to the blog again. I was focusing on my own game and when it fell apart I kind of lost interest in the curious fact that Day 2 had fewer players than Day 1.

Obviously it had a reasonable and logical explanation. Registration had mixed something up somewhere and that is the end of the story.

Thomas Kremser and his trio went on to fame and fortune. I don’t know how much he made but he won the Lifetime Achivement award at the 2007 European Poker Awards.

He was in charge of WPT events and did the EPT for seven years until after the EPT final in Madrid in 2011 when he decided to quit because “The time is right to explore new adventures.”

You can ask Juha Helppi about that.

About Ken Lennaárd:

Sweden's most controversial poker blogger Ken Lennaárd has been around the professional poker circuit for almost 20 years. Among his numerous accomplishments are Swedish Championships both live and online, three WSOP final tables and over $1.5m in live earnings. He's now bringing his singular poker voice to the English world via Look for new posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

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