'I lost $100 my first session… now I compete for millions!' PokerStars ambassador reveals top tips at EPT in Monaco | The Sun

IF you're playing a poker game and you look around the table and and can't tell who the sucker is, it's you.

Paul Newman said that. Although Paul Newman clearly never sat around a table of unenlightened journalists and influencers, most of whom had never played before. Suckers would have been kind, Paul.

Arguments aplenty over who is the "big blind", what exactly "semi-bluff" means, and why on earth a Flush is ranked higher than a Straight.

It shouldn't be. I will die on that hill.

Exclusive PokerStars Bonus

Get 200% up to £300 plus 100 Free Spins

18+ New casino players only. Min. deposit £10 with code ‘THESUN’. Debit card only. Selected Slots only. Wagering requirements apply. Game contributions vary. Terms apply.


Nevertheless, we were all gathered in Monaco for the PokerStars European Poker Tour (EPT) to try our hand at being James Bond.

I should stress I'm talking about Bond's Poker abilities in Casino Royale, and not the 21 baddies he killed in You Only Live Twice. That's next month's trip.

I digress.

PokerStars offers a truly epic experience of poker, welcoming the community to the French Riviera, a place bursting with glitz, glamour and more than a touch of opulence.

And opulence is indeed what was going through my mind as I boarded the helicopter that whisked me along the jewelled coast and into the heart of Monte Carlo. I did have to remind myself I wasn't in an episode of Succession.

Anyway, I wanted to find out what all the fuss was about, and why poker, principally live poker, has enjoyed such a huge rise popularity in recent times.

It didn't take long to find out.

From its perch on the hillside and surrounded on three sides by the Mediterranean, Sporting Monte-Carlo played host to the event. Their website describes it as a 'dream stage' for major entertainment events… they weren't lying.

Inside, the main tournament room offers floor-to-ceiling views over Monte Carlo Bay and has a retractable roof to allow the sun to sweep across the room. I know, it sounds like the next location of The White Lotus.

It's known as the Salle des Etoiles (or Room of the Stars if you don't have Google translate) and it would see hundreds of players from across the world settle down, share anecdotes and unite in their passion for poker.

But that was tomorrow. And – as everyone knows – the eve of battle is ALWAYS reserved for a lavish Cirque du Soleil-themed welcome party with drinks, food and entertainment good enough for a Las Vegas residency.

One attendee was PokerStars ambassador Parker Talbot.

Parker is a high-roller and took fifth place in the EPT Prague Main Event for a massive £240,000 prize in 2022, but things weren't always so cushy for the Canadian.

He said: "When I started out I only had $200 to play with and I lost $100 my first session!

"I won $300 in my second, and never really looked back from there. Now I play tournaments with buy-ins up to $25,000, and sometimes competing for millions!

"My first time playing live poker was honestly terrifying. It was so much faster than I ever could have imagined. I was super intimidated. But by the end of the second session, it was already starting to come together and I'd gotten the hang of the speed of play."

You might be forgiven for thinking that the majesty of Monte Carlo had worn off for a player of Parker's stature, but he remains just as in awe as us novices and had some advice for those considering attending in the future.

"The PokerStars EPT venue here in Monaco is incredible. I've never seen anything like it. When the top comes off it's an amazing place to be and to play poker," he added.

"Just do it! Honestly if you really want to, give it two or three sessions. Accept that the first time or two it's potentially going to be stressful, but you'll ease into it. Poker is the most beautiful game, so get in there and battle!"

There's certainly no shortage of opportunities. For 2023 PokerStars has a jam-packed year of live events with the return of many well-loved, prestigious locations and two brand-new stops (Paris which was in February and Cyprus) on the tour, 2023 is a big one!

With Parker's encouraging words ringing in my ears and a handy tutorial hosted by the hugely talented PokerStars ambassadors Jennifer Shahade and Nick Walsh, it was time for me to take to the tables.

Given my only previous experience had been a couple of online games and religiously watching the movie Rounders as a teenager, I really didn't know what to expect from my first live poker experience.

My first thought? What the hell was I worried about.

It was exactly as Parker had predicted. After a couple of hands I got the hang of the speed of play. Chatting, laughing and winning the odd hand against interesting characters from all over the place left me feeling like part of the poker family.

Check out our tips for playing online poker

I got what all the fuss was about. Live events DO offer the same enjoyment as playing online but there's so much more to enjoy. The amazing venue, the people, the atmospheric buzz, the satisfying clinking of chips on the table. It really is something to behold.

Oh, and if you were wondering – I did beat all of the journalists and influencers in our tournament, but succumbed to the lads from 'Poker News', so I'm counting it as a win…

PokerStars is currently in Monaco as part of their partnership with Oracle Red Bull Racing for the Grand Prix.

Exclusive PokerStars Bonus

Get 200% up to £300 plus 100 Free Spins

18+ New casino players only. Min. deposit £10 with code ‘THESUN’. Debit card only. Selected Slots only. Wagering requirements apply. Game contributions vary. Terms apply.


If you get the chance to check in at one of their incredible tournaments coming up this year – listed below – you won't be disappointed.

  • EPT Barcelona (August 21-September 3, 2023)
  • EPT Cyprus (October 11-22, 2023)
  • EPT Prague (December 6-17, 2023)

Remember to gamble responsibly

A responsible gambler is someone who:

  • Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
  • Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
  • Never chase their losses
  • Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
  • GamCare – www.gamcare.org.uk
  • Gamble Aware – www.begambleaware.org

Most read in Betting

I'm a casino expert – here’s how to make the most of your free spins bonuses

Top payout slots in the UK: Best-paying slots for May 2023

I’m a casino expert – Here are my top 5 casinos for UK players

Best online casinos in the UK: Top 10 casino sites for 2023

Source: Read Full Article