Earlier this week, when Canadian superstar Mike “Timex” McDonald finished as runner-up to Dominik Panka in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event and came agonisingly close to becoming to the first-ever double European Poker Tour champion, I started to wonder how many British EPT champions there are and how many of those have come as close to McDonald has of winning two titles.
The EPT descends on the elegant French town of Deauville in a few days’ time, with the €5,300 buy-in Main Event commencing at noon on January 26. The EPT Deauville Main Event is the 96th Main Event to be played in the EPT’s 10-season history, which makes the fact that nobody has ever won two of them even more unbelievable, although two British champions have come close to winning two.
During Season 1, Ram Vaswani of The Hendon Mob fame, bulldozed his way through a 163-strong field in Dublin to get his hands on one of the first EPT trophies ever awarded. That particular event had a relatively low buy-in of €1,600, which meant Vaswani’s €93,000 first place prize was, and still is, one of the smallest winner’s prizes awarded on the EPT.
Three months after winning the Dublin leg of the EPT, Vaswani headed to the Casino Copenhagen for the fourth leg of the inaugural tour. Again, it was a compact crowd of 156 runners and Vaswani almost outlasted them all, eventually losing heads-up to Dutch pro Noah Boeken – Vaswani’s fellow Brit Julian Thew finished fourth.
Imagine if Vaswani had beaten Boeken in that heads-up match, this article wouldn’t have been written – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing – and we would never feel the buzz and excitement that surrounds the media room and tournament area when a former EPT champion makes another deep run in a Main Event.
The other British player who has an outright win to his name and a runner-up finish is Mark Teltscher. In Season 2, back in 2005, Teltscher took down the London leg of the EPT and took home £280,000, which is still the third largest cash of his career. Two years later, at Season 4’s Barcelona leg, Teltscher navigated his way through the majority of the 543 field to find himself heads-up against Denmark’s Sander Lyloff. Like Vaswani did in Season 1, Teltscher fell at the final hurdle and was defeated heads-up.
Of the 95 completed EPT Main Events that have been completed and written into the history books, 15 of them were won by players who call the United Kingdom home. The first British winner was John Shipley in Season 1, who claimed the title of EPT London champion, and since then we have had a British champion during every season except Season 9 – the closest we got in Season 9 was a fourth place finish in Prague by Ben Warrington.
British Players Who Have Won European Poker Tour Titles
|Season||Leg||Player||Buy-in||Entrants||Winner ’s Prize|
|3||Dublin||Roland de Wolfe||€5,000||389||€554,300|
|6||San Remo||Liv Boeree||€5,300||1,240||€1,250,000|
|7||San Remo||Rupert Elder||€5,300||987||€930,000|
As you can see, Season 7 was the stand out season for our players with them winning four main events. Toby Lewis got the ball rolling with a win in Vilamoura, Portugal and then Scotland’s David Vamplew worked his magic in the London leg. My personal favourite was Roberto Romanello’s win in Prague and then Rupert Elder secured the San Remo title to cap off an amazing season for British players.
Since that breath-taking season, it has been a difficult time for Brits in EPT Main Events, with only Zimnan Ziyard (Loutraki in Season 8) and Tom Middleton (Season 10) managing to come away with the winner’s trophy. But, and here’s the but, I have a sneaky feeling that by the time Deauville, Vienna, Sanremo and the Grand Final legs are done and dusted, we will have another British EPT champion.
Will they be the first double EPT champion? Only time will tell, but with the likes of Cody, Lewis, Vamplew, Boeree, Romanello and Middleton being regulars on the EPT, a British double champion is not out of the realms of possibility.
If a British player was to become a two-time EPT champion, who would your money be on? Let us know in the comments box.