Thursday, 18th April 2024 00:28
Home / Poker / Lightning strikes twice as Sophie Gal earns her household’s second Gold Pass

Wearing a neat white sweater bearing the simple slogan, “LOVE”, Sophie Gal came along to Le Palais des Congrès yesterday ostensibly to support her husband Julien in his endeavours on the European Poker Tour (EPT).

But there soon turned out to be more to love about this trip than just familial camaraderie.

Not long ago, Julien, a recreational online player, had won a Gold Pass in the PokerStars Power Path, earning him $10,000 in tournament buy-ins. He opted to use some of it to play the EPT Main Event in his home city — a tournament far higher than his regular buy-in, but a no brainer for this French poker enthusiast who lives nearby.

He didn’t cash, but agreed to return to the venue the day after the tournament to allow the PokerStars TV crew to interview him. Sophie, an English teacher, came too. They would have a night out in the city and she could help him with translation during the interview, if he needed it.

Julien Gal in action in the EPT Main Event

A profitable delay

As the TV crew faffed around getting ready for the interview (TV crews do this a lot), Sophie’s attention was drawn to the PokerStars information desk and a promotion for players on

Anyone with an online account could draw a ticket from a huge box of more than 300 envelopes. There were prizes hidden in there: some €10 online tournament tickets, a few €30 tickets, and a handful of Bronze Passes worth €100.

There was also one Silver Pass (€2,300) and one Gold Pass (€9,300). But, of course, it was completely impossible for Sophie to win a Gold Pass. Her husband had already won one. There’s no way that two people from the same household could win. Could they?

Reader, they could.

Summer Zemel, one of the aforementioned TV crew, was filming on her cellphone as Sophie stepped up to the box. She is clearly expecting nothing more than some mediocre disappointment and hastily whips the card from her selected envelope.

But onlookers see it before Sophie does: she had indeed landed the Gold Pass. Lighting had struck the Gal household twice.


Impossible is nothing

“Impossible!” bellowed Julien, quickly running forward to celebrate with his wife. Dalila Chaouch, the PokerStars liaison for French players, similarly could not contain her excitement. Chaouch said she had a feeling that Sophie Gal would win the pass and insisted Zemel film it.

“I only play with friends,” a stunned Sophie whispers to the camera, revealing that she is strictly a home-game player, sitting down only for small stakes with people she knows.

With €9,000 in tournament buy-ins now assured, Sophie has the opportunity to expand her poker experience. Right now, that might be a problem as her job means she can only take time off during school holidays. But PokerStars are flexible and have promised her that as soon as she finds an event she can play, the ticket is there waiting for her.

It may be in Barcelona in summer, if schedules work out. Otherwise, perhaps in Paris again next year, a wait that will give her the chance to learn more about the game.

Either way, we cannot wait to watch the second Gal cash in their Gold Pass and sit at the PokerStars tables. This story, already brilliant, can only get better.

Sophie Gal clutches her new Gold Pass




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