Published: 29 Mar 12 14:30 CET | Print version
Campione, a small Italian town on the banks of Lake Lugano, has two particularly outstanding characteristics. First, it’s completely surrounded by Switzerland. Second, it’s the home of the largest casino in Europe.
The European Poker Tour (EPT) has arrived in Campione for the first time and a large field of players – including several big-name Germans – has begun play in the main event.
Over 800 Expected for EPT Campione
Known for the largest fields on the EPT, the Italian stops have had more than a thousand players at times and about 800 are expected to take part in this year’s edition in Campione, which started on Monday.
The final table will play out on March 31 along with several side-event final tables, like the €10.000 buy-in High Roller or the €5000 6-max turbo event.
For the main event the buy-in is €5000 plus the €300 fee, if you didn’t qualify online, and first-place is expected to pay in the neighbourhood of €750.000.
Last year, young Russian shooting star Andrey Pateychuk won the main event and €800.000.
With appearances by UK poker icon Barny Boatman and former EPT Berlin winner Kevin MacPhee, the eight-headed final table was a colourful mix of both young and old and professional and amateur players from eight different countries.
The Germans didn’t fare too well in Italy in 2011, though. Only two of them made the money: Udo Tran in 94th place and Hans-Joachim Hein in 122nd place out of 837 players.
Several well-known Germans have made the trip down to the Alps this year. Among them are Benny Spindler and Tobias Reinkemeier, two of the five most successful German players ever.
Campione – Picture Perfect Casino Setting
Campione, as you might have noticed, sounds Italian, and the small town does in fact belong to Italy. Apart from that, though, everything there is very much Swiss.
The currency is Swiss, the license plates are Swiss and even the mentality resembles the neighbours to the North much more than that of its actual home country.
With a postcard-worthy setting on the Eastern coast of the Lake, it’s about the most beautiful locale for a casino you can find on the continent.
Designed by Mario Botta, the Casino di Campione was built in 2007. With 55.000 m2 of playing area over nine levels (if you count the three-level parking garage) it’s also bigger than any other European casino.
Campione is also one of only four places in Italy with a casino to its name - the others being Venice, San Remo and Aosta.
The first Casino Campione opened as early as 1917 and its main intention was to lure foreign diplomats to an inconspicuous environment and then elicit classified information from them.
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