The 2014 EPT Barcelona €50,000 Super High Roller tourney certainly wasn’t short on compelling storylines. First off, Olivier Busquet beat Dan Colman to win the €896,434 ($1,188,996) top prize. This is interesting because Busquet was one of Colman’s main backers as the latter went on to win the 2014 WSOP Big One for One Drop and $15.3 million.
The more-recent story involves the t-shirts that Busquet and Colman wore during the final table. The former had “Save Gaza” written on his shirt while the latter sported “Free Palestine.” This final table was live-streamed, meaning thousands of viewers got a good look at the shirts. And certain poker fans weren’t too happy about the scene.
After hearing many complaints about the matter, Eric Hollreiser, PokerStars’ head of corporate communications issued the following statement:
In retrospect it was a mistake to allow them entry. Our tournaments are designed to promote poker and poker competition and not as a platform for political statements. Players have many channels to express their views on world politics, but our tournaments are not an appropriate place. We will refuse entry to any player displaying political statements of any kind.
Save Gaza is a movement to end the Israeli-Egyptian blockage of ships to the Gaza Strip. Many human rights activists have jumped on board this movement because they believe it’s the residents of Gaza who are suffering. Free Palestine is an older reference to how the Palestinians claim European Jews took over their land with the help of the British military.
Both phrases are very political and based on individual beliefs. So it’s no wonder why they’ve incited controversy on twitter. PokerStars is definitely making the right move for their company by declaring that no more political shirts will be allowed at the EPT tables.