Fast forward three years, and [B]Simon Brandstrom[/B] appears to have picked up where he lift off. After becoming the 11th Swedish player to win a European Poker Tour Main Event with his victory at EPT Barcelona, he followed that up with a maiden WPT title in Nottingham, England.
And after three years, he says, of mostly staying at home and studying not only is Brandstrom excited to be back in Barcelona, but he’s through to Day 4 on the hunt for a second EPT title.
“Three years ago seems like a long time ago,” he told PokerNews, “But at the same time it feels like not too long ago that I won this event. I’ve been at home, like most people, been studying a bit poker-wise and doing other things as well.”
A heads-up deal between Brandstrom and Marton Czuczor saw the Swede pocket €1,290,166 after defeating a field of 1,988 players — now only the second-largest EPT Main Event field in history.
“I’m just grateful to have the opportunity to have a chance of winning again”
“2019 was something very special for me. I can’t really think that I can do that again. But getting to Day 4 in this tournament…I’m just grateful to have the opportunity to have a chance of winning again.”
Cashing in the two largest EPT Main Events in history — and winning at least one of them — would be a huge achievement, and Brandstrom isn’t surprised that the event continues to be one of the most popular in the world.
“Poker in general has grown over COVID so I wasn’t too surprised to see that the attendance was bigger this year. Barcelona as a venue is great, everybody knows this. It’s a lovely place to be right at the beach. Lovely weather, good food here so everybody loves it.”
Only two players — Victoria Coren Mitchell and Mikalai Pobal — have ever won two EPT titles, and Brandstrom is in contention with fewer than 70 players remaining. He says he still thinks back on his 2019 victory, but is keeping his feet firmly on the ground.
“I’m just trying to stay in the moment, so I don’t get ahead of myself. I don’t think too much about that win. I don’t usually either. I go back maybe once or twice a year to see the celebrations just to get a good feeling, but now we just take it one hand at a time.”
Will Shillibier is based in the United Kingdom. He graduated from the University of Kent in 2017 with a B.A. in German, and then studied for a NCTJ Diploma in Sports Journalism at Sportsbeat in Manchester. He previously worked as a freelance live reporter, and video presenter for the World Poker Tour.