Lee Davy sits down with Christian Scalzi, the World Poker Tour Tournament Director for Europe, to talk about his role as part of the World Poker Tour team.
Christian Scalzi is the glue that keeps the World Poker Tour European events together. This is no easy task. There are 23 officially recognized languages throughout Europe, and more than 60 regional variations. Add a touch of slang onto that slice of complicated pie and you get the gist of the task laid at the feet of Scalzi.
Of those 23 languages, Scalzi speaks five of them (Italian, French, English, Spanish, Portuguese) and he is also learning Russian such is the impact that country are having on the European poker community.
It’s also a job that owns a significant portion of your time on this planet. This isn’t the English Premier League. There is no break. Tournaments roll into tournaments that roll into tournaments. I’m amazed that I even got a chance to speak to the fella.
How long have you been working for the World Poker Tour?
“I have been working with the WPT for four seasons. I am very happy, and still very motivated.”
Describe the changing face of poker.
“It’s changed a lot. I started in 2006 and I can see that poker has grown a lot…not like the boom we experienced in 2008 – 2010, but we can see that there are lots of tournaments around the world – and they are all very busy. That’s great news for the poker industry.”
How different is it running a National/Regional event, compared to a Main Event?
“It’s completely different. We are very happy with our increase in National and Regional numbers. The amateurs who buy-in between $500-$1,000 really enjoy the experience, and I think poker needs to attract these types of players.”
With so many tournaments, how difficult is it balancing work, rest and play?
“I have some periods that are really busy, like Oct and Nov, but in Dec I will only be in Paris, so I get some chance to spend time with my family. I am lucky because my wife works in the casino industry, back home at San Remo. I also have a beautiful baby, and I miss her too, but I also bring my family to some events…that’s a wonderful opportunity.”
How complicated is it now there are so many different variants of live tournament poker?
“The preparation of the festival is difficult because different countries use different systems in order to offer their local players what they prefer. The problem is we sometimes have to change different languages, but once you are focused on the tournament…as long as you love your job…your mind is always working, and nothing is a problem.
Do you ever play poker?
“When I have time off I don’t want to play big festival poker. But I do like to play with friends, over a few beers and a pizza.”
What is it like working with Matt Savage?
“Matt is a great help for me. I am always in touch with him, especially regarding the WPT500 format because of the successful event he ran in the Aria this summer. I am hoping to work for him at the WPT500 Aria in the summer.”