Last week, the top 10 players in the world (as ranked by the Global Poker Index), squared off for the third Epic Poker League Main Event, held at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. At the end of the five-day tournament, Philadelphia’s Chris Klodnicki emerged victorious, taking $801,680 and the champion’s ring. With the win, Klodnicki raised his lifetime earnings to $2,818,881.
The win also secured Klodnicki’s spot in the season-ending $1,000,000 Epic Poker League Championship Freeroll, which is open to the 27 players with the highest earnings in the four regular season main events from the Epic Poker League’s inaugural season, under the auspices of Annie Duke, EPL commissioner.
Big League Sports spoke with Klodnicki about the EPL and his epic win.
Big Lead Sports: What was the upside of the Epic Poker League competition vs. others in which you have participated?
Chris Klodnicki: The Epic Poker League definitely runs great tournaments and goes out of the way to accommodate the players. The free rooms, $100 food vouchers, and limo ride from the airport are just the start. Epic also adds $400,000 to each of their main event prize pools, and collects no rake from league members. On top of that, they have the million-dollar freeroll at the end of the season. Their tournament director, Matt Savage, is the best in the business. The tournament structure is great and he makes sure everything runs smoothly. EPL also employs some of the best dealers, which really makes a difference compared to some other tournaments. EPL also provides a type of concierge service at the table that is a nice luxury (food delivery, dinner reservations). All of these things make playing Epic tournaments more enjoyable.
CK: There aren’t many downsides that I can think of. I would say the biggest downside to playing Epic tournaments is having to compete against the best players in the world. Some people enjoy the challenge, but I would much rather play against weaker competition any day. The lack of rake and the added $400,000 definitely compensates for this though.
BLS: How much more intense do you expect the event to be when you compete in the $1M season-ending competition?
CK: I don’t expect this event to be any more intense than the other events to be honest. It should be a great tournament with extremely tough competition, but I’m going to approach it just like I would any other tournament.
BLS: What do pokers players do with their winnings – right back into the pot or . . . ?
CK: Every poker player invests their winnings differently. Some like to keep upping the stakes. Some take their winnings to the table games. Some like to buy expensive things. I prefer to save my money. I’m not really into taking shots, I’d rather slowly make my way up to higher stakes. After this win, I’ll probably use some of the money improve my home. I could maybe use a new car, too. My 2000 X-Terra has seen better days.
BLS: What is your assessment of the first season of EPL and what the future holds?
CK: I think the first season was a success overall. I have played the first three events and plan on playing the fourth as well, and it seems like most of the players are happy with the EPL so far. They have really been going out their way to take care of the players, and that’s so important for keeping them coming back. I really don’t know what the future holds for EPL, but I really hope that it succeeds. A professional league definitely helps to legitimize poker.