We talk often about a big win on the European Poker Tour being a life changing event. For anyone normal (i.e., not involved with poker) a seven-figure payday should represent a chance to make some very significant day-to-day changes like the pools winners of old. Who fancies a mock-tudor mansion in the Home Counties?
Poker champions, however, rarely actually translate their winnings into immediate disposable income. As the game has become more professional over the past decade, staking arrangements and swaps have become more common, while good bankroll management means it would be reckless to withdraw everything for one big beano.
Yet ask any of the 106 former EPT champions whether their win changed their lives and the enormous majority would say that it did. In the absence of a gung-ho attitude to wealth, several have found other ways to allow the success to change their life.
Take Jean Montury, for example. Last month, the French professional grinder picked up the biggest tournament win of his career when he hoisted the inaugural EPT Malta trophy above his head at the end of a gruelling final table. His €687,400 first prize would change anybody’s life, but he has done the sensible thing and not allowed it to go to his head.
Instead, as a way to permanently celebrate his triumph — and to never let him forget it as long as he lives — he commissioned a new tattoo on the outside of his right arm. It comprises two distinct symbols that tell their own story: a Maltese Cross, with a small PokerStars red spade in the centre.
I caught glimpse of the tattoo before play started this afternoon and Montury allowed a closer inspection, before covering it in his grey, long-sleeved hoodie. He said that it has only recently been completed and is still red and a little scabbed over, which prompted his coyness when asked if it could be photographed. “In two weeks, it will be OK,” he said.
He also said that his life since the event in Malta has a whirlwind, but that he has been trying to put it out of his mind as he tries to claim title number two. “It’s been very exciting, but now I stay focused on this one,” Montury said, before settling into the grind towards the bubble.
Things are a degree more relaxed over on Table 5 where Immanuel Siebert a PokerStars qualifier from Germany, is entertaining his table-mates with his miraculous R.O.I. feat. Siebert played an $11 super satellite online that got him into a $700 satellite. He then won that and booked his trip to Monaco.
He is, therefore, another one of those qualifiers on an enormous potential spin-up and his tale is delighting his Jeff Hakim, Steve O’Dwyer, Eugene Katchalov, Joao Barbosa, Ami Barer and Joao Simao, among others.
“No one here wants to bust you before the bubble,” Simao said. “Go eat something and just blind down.”
“I know you will, though,” Siebert said, drawing chuckles of general assent.
“But we won’t like it,” Simao added.
O’Dwyer chimed in. “It would be brutal though to bubble and have to go out and buy a beer that costs you more than your satellite entry,” he said.
That’s Monaco for you, where a life-changing sum only really earns you enough to get the check.
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