I was very excited to hear that the World Poker Tour would be making a stop in Portoroz, Slovenia this year. I went there last year and made a pretty bold statement to anyone who would listen that it was going to become one of the most popular European poker destinations in years to come. With the WPT appearing to agree with me, I could well be correct.
My friend who introduced it to me described it as ‘Monte Carlo without the price tag’ which is a pretty accurate first assessment of the place. Amazing weather, stunning views, first class hospitality – yet very affordable, especially if you are a poker player. The Casino is responsible for most of the tourism, so as a result, you can expect to be treated like royalty.
My own personal description of Portoroz is – a place for poker players to take their girlfriends. I have been all around the world with poker, but rarely took my girlfriend with me because she would be bored inside a casino most of the time.
Not only is Slovenia beautiful, great weather, and great shopping, it is also very safe. I always feel a little vulnerable whenever I go to a new (non English speaking) country but not here. Usually within the first hour I have seen either a potential mugger or a drunk Brit ruining the place, but there were none to be seen. With a population of only 4000 crime is nearly non-existent, which means I was very happy for my girlfriend to do her own thing while I played poker.
Proposed to my girlfriend while I was there
I cannot pick out any one thing that made the place my favourite place in Europe, but it is. The scenery, the hospitality, the weather, the food, the shopping, the safety – I may have had individually better experiences in other places at other times, but never all at once and never for the price I paid. It all allowed me to feel like a big shot, without having to count the pennies for the next month.
In fact it is such a great place to take your girlfriend, that my girlfriend became my fiancée. It wasn’t planned, but I was so taken by Portoroz that I actually proposed to my girlfriend, Gina, while I was there. She said yes, obviously, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have written this blog post.
Romance aside, I haven’t even got to the best bit yet – Italians! Slovenia is a popular tourist destination with Italians and every time a major festival is on in the Casino Portoroz the Italians outnumber the locals 20-1. I know Tony G is already licking his lips at the prospect of playing in this tournament.
WPT Slovenia may not be the biggest event in the WPT Calendar; it may not produce the biggest prize pool or the biggest stories. But, I will say with a degree of certainty that everyone who plays it for the first time this month will fall in love with place and hope that it makes an appearance on the tour next year – particularly if they take their girlfriends with them.
Post written by Barry Carter.