Do not usually start blog posts with a small disclaimer - but this post will be an exception. Going to put down some observations on the rise of Europe in the poker world... but did not want to be seen as against any of my US / Canadian / Antipodean readers... if you are intelligent and articulate then I have never cared what country you are from.
So, the rise of Europe.
2008 was a good year for the old continent... Peter Eastgate winning the main event for those (crazy) Danes... Annette Obrestad moving from a fat internet pro to a fat internationally known live and internet poker pro... Elky rising in prominence after some high profile wins and so on, the rise of Russian pros too.
As we reach 2009 we see a UK player at the top of the P5s rankings (Moorman1), a Hungarian in 3rd (Breeth) (great country BTW, invented the rubix cube, biros and nuclear weapons you know!) and yet more on the outskirts of the 'big time'.
My prediction is that 2009 will be the year that the playing field between North America and Europe is considered level...
Lets face it for a moment, when it comes to poker Europe lags by 5 or 6 years at least. While the first 'internet pros' were sprining up in the US, we were just discovering that a game called Texas Holdem existed. While the US players were dominating the internet leaderboards, most Europeans were donking around in $20 games on Party Poker.
In some ways we need to include the UIGEA into the picture, I think this sped things up as far as leveling the playing field goes. Not by a huge amount, after all anyone 'serious' about poker can still play... its only the average joes who used to regularly lose money who are gone. Maybe we could argue that the leveling off of talent was brought forward by a year or so.
Personally I love reading some small stakes goon on the forum talk about the 'Eurodonks'. Why? because it shows me just how many players Europe is producing at the moment. The huge pool of potential talent... sure there are lots of donks - in 2005 they were US citizens relaxing with $100 at the end of a hard week at work... now they are average EU guys (and gals!)... most will lose and give up, but some will succeed and out of those a small percentage will hit the big time... relieving those small stakes ego's of their hard-ground bankrolls readily.
Yes, I'm happy for the Eurodonks and the level playing field of 09... because in 2010 and beyond it is the Europeans / Russians who will be laughing at the US players they brush aside along the way.
Remember - I'm not anti US (in fact the only prejudice I have is against low intelligence 'animals in human bodies - which just happen to make up 98% of the world's population!!). Just painting a picture on the record of the future... if I'm wrong then let me know in mid-2010!
GL at the tables, Mark