Volcanic Eruption Spells Disaster for Airline Companies and a Bail-biting Dash for the European Poker Tour

Very few people ever dream of having their lives disrupted in one way or another by a volcano on the rampage. Now, thanks to a rather tempestuous volcano beneath the Eyjafjallajokull Glacier (yes, that’s a name) in Southeast Iceland, air traffic all over Europe has been grounded by massive amounts of volcanic ash in the atmosphere. As a result, millions of tourists are stranded in countries the world over while the airline business is staggering under the weight of countless hotel bills, grounded flights, loss of revenue and other conundrums such as: what to do with a million disgruntled passengers?

Some of these passengers included poker players making their way to the European Poker Tour underway in San Remo, Italy, only to find that nature had thrown a substantial hurdle in their path. While some managed to squeak through on flights soon after the eruption before airports clipped on to the idea that it could be dangerous for aircraft, others had to seek alternate modes of transport. Soon after air traffic was grounded, messages flooded Twitter, Facebook and Online Poker chat room sites and forums; sent by stranded poker players crying, pulling their hair out and chewing their nails to the quick for having had to miss out on the action. 

And action there is aplenty! Last year’s EPT was heralded as the biggest major poker tournament ever held in Europe and involved a hefty €5,300 buy-in, a total of 1,177 players and a total prize pool of €5,713,300! That’s over 7.5 million US Dollars! This sum went to a rather delirious 20 year-old student from Amsterdam, called Constant Rijkenberg who took the pot after a grueling 6 hour final against Finland’s Kalle Niemi. His last words before he disappeared with the pot were: “I expected it.”

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