Thursday, 18th April 2024 00:23
Home / Power Path Interviews / Waiting tables to poker tables: A Gold Pass winner’s journey to EPT Paris

At least 10 PokerStars players are cashing in their Gold Power Path passes here at the European Poker Tour (EPT) in Paris, many of them setting foot in a major live tournament for the first time. That’s the case for France’s Noa Chan, a bartender and musician by trade, who is hoping to find another reason to stay up until the early hours here in Paris.

Chan says that he has been interested in poker for several years having first encountered the game thanks to online and TV broadcasts. He then trod the familiar path through online micro-stakes games into slightly bigger online tournaments.

He discovered the Power Path, where players progress through various tournaments of gradually increasing buy-ins. All PokerStars players can earn themselves a ticket worth €0.50 to play a Step 1 Spin & Go, usually just by playing one real-money hand.

If you can progress through the Step 1, you can enter Steps 2 and 3, which have an entry fee of €1.50 or €10 to play.

The final step is a €100 buy-in MTT, but the only way in is via qualification. You can’t buy-in directly at that level. It means no one has spent more than €10 on their entry.

Noa Chan in action at the FPS Main Event


Chan stumped up his €10 and four hours later found himself clutching a Gold Pass.

That permitted him entry to the EPT Main Event (a €5,300 buy-in), the FPS Main Event (worth €1,100) and the FPS Cup (€550). He also had €600 in expenses.

Chan is sitting down today to play his first ever EPT Main Event.

Earlier in the week he spoke to Victor Saumont about his progress to this point and his excitement about playing. Here’s what Noa Chan had to say.


How did you discover poker and what was your first live experience?

I have been interested in poker from afar for a long time thanks to broadcasts on Direct 8 and NRJ12 at the time, and which are now on YouTube.

I had a poker set at home when I was little but it was really two former colleagues who introduced me to the game. (One of them actually won a €10,000 Spin on

I’m more of an online player than a live player, I have very little live experience. My only real experience is from €2/€4 cash game at the Casino Barrière in Lille and Ultimate Poker.

How has your poker experience developed over the years?

Let’s say that I started by learning on my own, by playing small Spin & Gos, then playing freerolls and micro-limit tournaments. After that, I did a lot of studying through PokerStars Learn or thanks to this magnificent free resource that is YouTube.

Over time, just practised a lot. I’m not a grinder, not the type to multi-table, but rather the type to open a tournament, play it hard, learn and then start again. Even today, I work on my ranges regularly and I do mathematics on the side which helps a lot to progress.


What are your favourite game formats?

MTTs! I almost only play them. This is what takes up 80 percent of my poker sessions. 15 percent Spin & Gos and 5 percent cash games, when I want to take my mind off things.

I am more of a small/medium limit player. I quite often play in KO tournaments and have gradually started to play with deeper structures. Most recently, I played the Main Event of the Winter Series, where I finished 500th I think after being chip leader for a large part of Day 1. I had set myself the objective of chasing the bounties and was among the players who earned the most. So far, so good. My objective is to consolidate the knowledge I have already and gradually increase the limits I play.

Describe your Power Path qualification.

Step 4 went more smoothly than Step 3. Step 3 was complicated despite the fact that there were 70 tickets. At 100 left, I was down to 2 BB after a kings vs. queens set-up and I think I shipped my ticket with 0.7 BB. I actually closed the table while waiting for the short stacks to be knocked out.

Step 4 started well. The tournament had already started when I finished my Step 3, and after two double-ups, I rarely left the top 20. The structure of the tournament meant that the chip leader had 10/15 blinds and the rest of the field 4/5 blinds. So the more the short stacks jumped, the closer we got to the goal. And at four left on the final table, I found myself short too. The chip leader was all-in on almost all hands, and I took the spot with a pair of 6s. It was a flip and I won it when I hit a set on the river. It was a real sweat!

I got myself just ahead of the short stacks, who had no choice but to shove all the time. It all happened quite quickly. I won this Gold Pass with only €10 invested in four hours of play!

Chan returned to action in the EPT Main Event


How did you decide to use this Gold Pass?

Quickly, I chose to take the package for the EPT, with the ticket for the EPT Main Event (€5,300), for the FPS Main Event (€1,100) and for the FPS Cup (€550) and expenses.

I’m not a grinder. Online tickets might have been nice but I prefer to take advantage of this one opportunity to play a tournament like EPT Paris. Otherwise I might have found myself being too casual and throwing away online tickets, telling myself “No problem, I still have 20 more left.”

What are your interests outside of poker?

In life, I am a bartender and I make music on the side, so nothing to do with poker. My schedule is quite unusual. I have the lifestyle of a restaurateur, I live outside the norm. When I’m not working or playing, I compose instrumentals (instrumental parts of a song) on ​​the side. It’s my secret place that allows me to breathe and open my mind.

What would be a good result for you on the EPT Paris? And what would be a fantastic outcome?

A good result? It’s hard to quantify knowing that it’s my first big tournament with this kind of buy-in. I would say to enjoy it first. I have the chance to go there with less pressure knowing that it is “free” for me. For the FPS, I hope to get to at least Day 2.

The EPT too, the goal will be to take advantage of the opportunity, to learn from this type of event and, why not, if I run well also get to Day 2. Razvan Belea, last year’s winner, was a qualifier and won the tournament!


Will this be your first live tournament?

Yes! It’s hard to believe, but I’ve never played a live MTT. I plan to go and get ready before the EPT, just to acclimatise myself, to get used to live play. But a tournament of this magnitude? Yes, it will be the first time.

How do you think this will go? Are you dreading the moment?

Obviously, there is a little apprehension. Even though I’m rather sociable, here I’m going to be in a place that will be completely new with the cameras, the people, the noise. The goal is to go with as little pressure as possible and know that once I’m at the table, I should be fine.

I asked for advice from friends who have already played live tournaments and are more experienced. I’m going to prepare on my own by participating in smaller buy-in tournaments in advance, with a lot of theoretical work at home and a few online sessions to keep things in check.


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