It wasn’t the result that Poland’s Marcin Kacprzak was hoping for.
The online qualifier and aspiring poker pro busted the European Poker Tour (EPT) Barcelona Main Event in 67th place, during the first level of Day 4. For his efforts, he pocketed €23,650, the second-largest score of his poker career.
But when you consider that 1) this was Kacprzak’s maiden EPT Main Event, and 2) he booked his trip to Barcelona for just €5, his run becomes all the more impressive.
“It’s my dream to play poker for a living,” he says, on his way to the payouts desk. “I’m really trying to go for it.”
€5 > €55 > €530 > EPT Barcelona
From home games in friends’ garages in his teens to Barcelona and the EPT, Marcin Kacprzak has enjoyed quite a trip.
It all started earlier this year when Kacprzak – who lives and works in Germany in the automotive industry – was playing a regular online poker session on PokerStars. His average buy-in is now €50 – up from €30 at the start of 2023, thanks to a fine run of form.
“I was grinding as usual and I thought I’d try something extra,” he says. “I thought, let’s try to win a package to the EPT.”
He’s tried to qualify before, to no avail. But this time was different.
His journey began in a €5.50 satellite. He then won a seat in a €55 satellite, before finally reaching a €530 qualifier.
He went all the way and won a full package: His €5,300 Main Event buy-in, plus hotel and expenses for a week in beautiful Barcelona.
“It was a dream,” he says. “I really wanted to come here.”
ONE STEP CLOSER
One part of the EPT experience that was brand new to Marcin Kacprzak and many qualifiers like him is playing in front of cameras under the bright TV lights.
It’s one thing to suddenly be playing against tougher competition than you’re used to. But then you also have cameras capturing the action – and every reaction.
“It’s very different,” he says. “Sometimes I didn’t know what to do, but it was fun. I think, in time, it will become normal.”
This score takes Kacprzak’s one step closer to his poker pro goal, but for now, it’s time to enjoy Barcelona with his girlfriend.
“She has really enjoyed her trip,” he says. “She’s been everywhere sightseeing. Now I can join her and we’ll have our holiday.
“We had a lot of fun at the Player Party, some dancing and some drinks. It was great.
“I hope to see you in Cyprus!”
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