Category Archives: EPT

Triple Crown Winners

[RR] “Are you guys excited about American Pharoah’s1 possible Triple Crown at the the Belmont Stakes tomorrow?” Roderick the Rock polled.

[LL] “Nay, horse racing is right up there with boxing on my list of sports that don’t need to exist”, Leroy the Lion opined. “It isn’t really any better for the animals than greyhound racing.”

[RR] “I’m not really into it either, but this year is interesting because no horse has won the Triple Crown for a record 37 years.”2

[SS] “I don’t know why everyone says that”, Stan the Stat argued. “Sure, it was only a quarter century between Citation in 1948 and Secretariat in 1973, but the longest drought was actually the first one. The Kentucky Derby became the last of the three races to debut in 1875,3 and the first Triple Crown was Sir Barton in 1919, which meant there were 44 straight years without a Triple Crown. That’s seven years longer than the current gap since Affirmed accomplished the feat.”

[FF] “How could a horse miss winning the Triple Crown if it didn’t exist yet?” Figaro the Fish wondered.

[SS] “The term did already exist and was used for horse racing in England. But if you mean that it wasn’t really bandied about to refer to the Kentucky Derby/Preakness/Belmont Stakes Triple Crown, you’re technically correct. Gallant Fox’s 1930 sweep was the first to get called a Triple Crown in the press.”

[LL] “I prefer the Triple Crown in Major League Baseball, where you get two for the price of one, one for hitting and one for pitching.”

[RR] “I’d prefer a Triple Crown of Poker… Does that exist?”

[SS] “Indeed it does. The Poker Triple Crown consists of winning World Series of Poker, World Poker Tour, and European Poker Tour tournaments. It’s currently rarer than the horse racing Triple Crown, with just five holders { July 9, 2017 update: now seven } compared to eleven, but since it’s a career accomplishment, the numbers are bound to grow rapidly over the next few years.4

Triple Crown of Poker Winners

Gavin Griffin 2007 2008 2004 26
Roland de Wolfe 2006 2005 2009 29
Jake Cody 2010 2010 2011 22
Bertrand Grospellier 2008 2008 2011 30
Davidi Kitai 2012 2011 2008 32
Mohsin Charania 2012 2013 2017 32
Harrison Gimbel 2010 2016 2017 32
Niall Farrell 2015 2016 2017 30

Kitai earned a second WSOP bracelet in 2014, while Charania won a second WPT bracelet also in 2014.”

[LL] “How many players are just one title short of the Triple Crown?”

[SS] “53, which is just two more than the number of horses who wound up one leg short. Most of the players are missing an EPT title, not surprising since that’s the newest and least prestigious of the three tours.

Just three players are only missing a WSOP bracelet: Moritz Kranich, Andrey Pateychuk, and Roberto Romanello. Just four are only lacking a WPT bracelet: Rob Hollink, Maxim Lykov, Jason Mercier, and Ram Vaswani.”

[LL] “So it’s a real horse race to see which poker player joins the Triple Crown club next.”


  1. Both owner Ahmed Zayat and the Jockey Club claim the other party was responsible for the misspelling (should be “pharaoh” for the Egyptian kings). { June 6, 2015: Better explanation of the misspelling. }
  2. E.g., Wikipedia echoes this claim.
  3. The Preakness started in 1873 and the Belmont Stakes in 1867.
  4. That is, as long as the three tours, especially the European Poker Tour, stay healthy. The European Poker Tour became the PokerStars Championship series in 2017, but is fundamentally the same otherwise.

    { June 6, 2015 update: American Pharoah became the twelfth winner of the Triple Crown in a wire-to-wire, five and a half length romp. }

    { July 1, 2015 update: Anthony Zinno won the WSOP $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller to join the list of players missing just an EPT title. }

    { June 23, 2016 update: Mike Watson won the 2016 PCA Main Event to join the list of players missing only a WSOP bracelet. }

    { July 4, 2016 update: Andrew Lichtenberger the WSOP $3,000 No Limit Hold ‘Em event to join the list of players missing just an EPT title. }

    { June 30, 2017 update: Mohsin Charania earned his Triple Crown by winning the 2017 WSOP $1,500 No Limit Hold ‘Em bracelet on June 29, 2017. }

    { July 9, 2017 update: Harrison Gimbel earned his Triple Crown by winning the 2017 WSOP $3,000 No Limit Hold ‘Em bracelet on July 9, 2017. }

    { November 8, 2017 update: Harrison Gimbel earned his Triple Crown by winning the 2017 WSOP Europe €25,000 No Limit Hold ‘Em – High Roller bracelet on November 2, 2017. }

    { June 9, 2018 update: Justify became the thirteenth winner of the Triple Crown, defeating Gronkowski by two lengths in the Belmont Stakes. }

[SS] “The EPT Grand Final1 has always had a 10,000-euro buy-in, but its rake has slowly crept up from 0 to 300 to 600 euros”, Stan the Stat continued. “The tournament originally ended the EPT season in March, but that has been in late April or early May since 2009.

European Poker Tour Grand Final Champions

Year Winner Prize Players Cashed Runner Up
2005 Rob Hollink $845,190 211 27 Brandon Schaefer
2006 Jeff Williams $1,084,037 298 27 Arshad Hussain
2007 Gavin Griffin $2,434,060 706 64 Marc Karam
2008 Glen Chorny $3,196,354 842 64 Denes Kalo
2009 Pieter De-Korver $3,024,167 935 88 Matt Woodward
2010 Nicolas Chouity $2,263,166 848 128 Josef Klinger
2011 Ivan Freitez-Rosales $2,226,345 686 104 Torsten Brinkmann
2012 Mohsin Charania $1,782,343 665 96 Lucille Cailly
2013 Steve O’Dwyer $1,604,972 531 80 Andrew Pantling
2014 Antonio Buonanno $1,715,526 650 95 Jack Salter
2015 Adrian Mateos2 $1,211,836 564 79 Muhyedine Fares
2016 Jan Bendik3 $1,096,568 1,098 159 Adrien Allain


  • Three Americans have won the EPT Grand Final — Williams, Griffin, and Charania — but you could also include O’Dwyer, who moved to Ireland after the major online poker sites shut down in the U.S. on Black Friday. No other country has won more than twice; Hollink and De-Korver both hail from the Netherlands.
  • 2007 runner-up Marc Karam is the only player who has reached the final table multiple times, finishing 4th the year before. Ben Grundy almost matched him, finishing 7th in 2005 and bubbling (9th) the following year.4
  • 2012 runner-up Frenchwoman Lucille Cailly is the only female to make the final table.
  • The 2008 event featured the largest first prize in EPT history ($3,196,354), but the following year had the most players (935).
  • After paying fewer than 10% of the players from 2006 to 2009, including a low of 7.6% in 2008, the EPT has rewarded about 15% of the field since 2010.

European Poker Tour Grand Final Final Hands

Year Winner Hand Value Runner Up Hand Value Board
2005 Rob Hollink J♠8♠ Two Pairs,
Jacks and 8s
Brandon Schaefer K♦7♠ Pair of Kings K♣9♦5♥8♣J♣
2006 Jeff Williams A♦T♣ Pair of 7s,
Ace Ten-kicker
Arshad Hussain A♥8♦ Pair of 7s,
Ace 9-kicker
2007 Gavin Griffin K♦5♣ Two Pairs,
Kings and 3s
Marc Karam 7♠4♠ Two Pairs,
4s and 3s
2008 Glen Chorny A♥5♥ Two Pairs,
Aces and 6s
Denes Kalo K♥Q♦ Two Pairs,
Queens and 6s
2009 Pieter De-Korver 9♠6♠ Pair of 6s,
Queen Ten 9-kicker
Matt Woodward 6♦4♥ Pair of 6s,
Queen Ten 7-kicker
2010 Nicolas Chouity A♦A♣ Pair of Aces Josef Klinger 8♦8♣ Pair of 8s K♦T♠9♥4♠Q♣
2011 Ivan Freitez-Rosales T♦9♦ Pair of 9s Torsten Brinkmann A♥K♦ Ace-high 9♠2♠5♥6♦8♣
2012 Mohsin Charania Q♠Q♥ Two Pairs,
Queens and 2s
Lucille Cailly A♦K♣ Pair of 2s 9♣3♥2♣7♠2♥
2013 Steve O’Dwyer T♣8♥ Four 8s Andrew Pantling K♠5♠ Flush,
2014 Antonio Buonanno A♠4♥ Ace-high Jack Salter K♦7♦ King-high J♥9♠2♥Q♦3♠
2015 Adrian Mateos2 A♥8♠ Two Pairs,
Queens and 8s
Muhyedine Fares A♠6♠ Pair of Queens 9♥8♥2♦Q♠Q♣
2016 Jan Bendik3 T♠T♦ Three Tens Adrien Allain 8♥8♦ Three Eights A♥8♣4♠T♥3♦


  • The chips went all-in preflop every year except 2005 (river), 2007 (flop), 2009 (flop), and 2013 (turn).
  • The eventual winner got his money in good every time except 2007 (45%), 2011 (40%), and 2013 (23%, hitting a 10-outer on the river). In 2009, De-Korver was ahead on the flop, but Woodward actually had a better chance of winning (44% to 32% with a 24% chance of a push) because of his nine flush outs.”


  1. The season-ending EPT championship was officially called the European Poker Tour Grand Final from 2004 to 2011 but has been referred to as the EPT Monte Carlo Grand Final since 2012.
  2. Adrian Mateos took down the 2015 title just hours after this article was posted.
  3. Jan Bendik won the final 2016 title on May 6, 2016.
  4. Johnny Lodden joined Karam with a third place finish in 2014 and a fourth in 2015.

Related Links:


European Poker Tour History

[RR] “Welcome back, Stan”, Roderick the Rock greeted.

[SS] “Thanks, sorry I couldn’t make the last couple tournaments”, Stan the Stat responded. “Always super busy during tax season.”

[FF] “At least you make money on it! Everyone pays taxes”, Figaro the Fish lamented.

[LL] “Especially Professional Technologists”, Leroy the Lion lamented.

[RR] “Even Poor Teachers.”

[SS] “Eminent Physics Theoreticians.”

[FF] “Emergency Parachute Testers.”

[LL] “Elephant Prosthesis Trainers.”

[SS] “In poker, what do you guys think of when I say ‘EPT’?” Stan the Stat segued.

[RR] “The Eastern Poker Tour,1 of course. Some of our regulars play there, especially Elias the Eagle, who’s usually among the league leaders.”

[SS] “What if someone from outside of New England said ‘EPT’ though?”

[LL] “You must be referring to the European Poker Tour then.”

[SS] “Yes, that’s the one. The European Poker Tour debuted in Barcelona over a decade ago in September 2004 as poker was reaching its peak of popularity just 16 months after Chris Moneymaker had won the World Series of Poker Main Event. Founder John Duthie was a television director who also happened to be pretty good at poker. In November 2000, he took down the debut Poker Million I2 shootout for a cool million pounds ($1,426,330).

With the World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour then almost entirely based in the U.S., Duthie wanted to create a poker tour for Europe3 with lower buy-ins4 for a regular television series that he would produce. He signed on casinos all across Europe to provide card rooms, PokerStars to sponsor the tournaments, and multi-country Eurosport and the U.K.’s Channel 5 and Challenge TV to broadcast the events.”

[RR] “And the EPT is still around, so it worked out pretty well?”

[SS] “Mostly. The EPT began with seven tour stops in 2004-05, and like the WSOP and WPT, grew as poker did, nearly doubling to 13 stops for three seasons from 2009-10 to 2011-12 before shrinking back to seven events in 2014-15. Similarly, the season-ending Grand Final’s field grew from 211 players in 2005 to 935 in 2009 then dropped back down to 531 in 2013 before recovering some since.

Barcelona and London have hosted events every season, while Monte Carlo has only missed one year and Deauville two. Prague and Paradise Island (Bahamas) have been regular tour stops since Season 4. The EPT season usually kicks off in Barcelona5 and ends in Monte Carlo,6 where Season 11 is currently wrapping up. The EPT Grand Final begins tomorrow.”

{ To be continued… }

{ December 28, 2016 update: The EPT has been rebranded as part of the PokerStars Championship for 2017. }


  1. The Eastern Poker Tour runs weekly Texas Hold ‘Em tournaments at dozens of locations in eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The tour manages pub events, charity events, and a points ladder used for qualifying for monthly, seasonal, and annual championship tournaments.
  2. The Poker Million event took a three-year break then ran annually from 2003 to 2010.
  3. Only the Bahamas event (the EPT PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in Paradise Island, which began in 2008) isn’t in Europe.
  4. EPT buy-ins were initially about half of the World Poker Tour’s, but field sizes grew so large that the entry fees were raised in Season 4.
  5. The exceptions were Season 6, which started in Kiev and Seasons 7 and 8, which started in Tallinn.
  6. The only exception was Season 7, which ended in Madrid.

Related Links: