Welcome to the first issue of Card Player Europe magazine. When the greatest poker magazine in the history of the world asked me to head up its European arm, I had to think for a while before deciding. But the rest of my body had no such problems, and my mouth answered, “Hell, yeah!” long before my brain had even registered the question. I should always be so lucky.
I remember my first poker magazine like yesterday. It was the spring of 1987 and I was a 16-year-old kid on his first trip to Las Vegas, a kid who knew 10 times more about craps than poker, and that wasn’t saying much at all. But during a half-hour I spent at Binion’s Horseshoe casino, which coincided with the time it took them to ask for my ID, I managed to pick up a magazine being distributed for free, a glossy magazine that previewed the 1987 World Series of Poker. The magazine was short on words but heavy on the pictures. There was a full spread on reigning champion Berry “Numbers” Johnston, plus photos and nicknames of the stars of the day. That was it. I was hooked on poker, and by the next time I returned to Vegas, I knew those faces better than my baseball cards. Seymour “The Cigar” Liebowitz, “The Oriental Express” Johnny Chan, and Mickey “Spats” Appleman became my heroes, and I knew them all by sight long before ever hearing one of them say a word. A picture can speak volumes, and that’s why I intend to make the faces of European poker a big part of this magazine. It’s a great bunch of characters who make up the European tour, a fantastic posse of stars, and one of my goals for this magazine is to introduce you intimately to the names that dot both the leader boards and the bar.
I also remember my first poker columnist. It was the “Mad Genius” Mike Caro. And while no one will ever accuse Mike of winning a world championship, it is his words, his enthusiasm, and his philosophy about poker that have educated millions through the years about how to think, how to learn, and how to win. I am proud to say that reading Caro has played a big part in who I am and how I see the poker world. Mike’s one of my poker heroes, and my first thought when gathering contributors for Card Player Europe is not how much they have won, but what they have to say. So, I am quite excited about the prospect of European poker players getting to hear the voices that we are in the process of assembling here at Card Player Europe, players who when they open their mouths are worth giving a listen — guys like Irishman Padraig Parkinson, who cloaks wisdom in a thick brogue, or Keith “The Camel” Hawkins, whose slow-lidded eyes observe everything on the scene without punches pulled.
I first came to European poker in the fall of 1993, on a hiatus from New Jersey while trying to escape a bad run. And while I was disappointed to find that the games were not as easy as I had hoped, I kept coming back and eventually stayed for good, because I found something else that in the end was more important. What I found has never gone away, my belief that poker in Europe is just a heck of a lot more fun, because no matter how brutal the tables might treat you, everyone gets together for a drink at the end; all strangers are welcome because we’re all strangers in Europe. There are plenty of good gamblers here, but they’re gentlemen to the extreme; in the early days it was stalwarts like Donnacha O’Dea, Mickey Finn, Sigi Stockinger, Tom Gibson, and Surinder Sunar. I might not have been able to beat them, but I sure enjoyed their company for dinner — and still do. Now, European poker has grown so big as to be extreme, but the spirit remains. We’re poker players, we are travelers, and we all love the game.
So, I will not rest until my main objective for this poker terpercayapublication is achieved, and that is to have a magazine that represents all the faces of European poker, every nation and every player, because it’s not just a one-stop tour anymore. So, in the near future, we will add many more voices to this magazine, players like Roy “The Boy” Brindley and Dutchman Rob Hollink, the young Swede Johnnie Backman and Norwegians and Danes, and Frenchmen and Spaniards and Russians and Finns, Germans and Greeks and Italians and Poles, Latvians and Slovenians and Austrians and more.