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​“Every time we organize something we try to push a level higher”

Jan Packa

We all wanted to believe that The Festival in Tallinn was going to go ahead in June, but of course Covid had other ideas. On to Bratislava! The new dates for your diaries are September 20-26 when we will descend on one of Europe’s best casinos, in one of its most beautiful and vibrant cities. Our venue for what is now the inaugural stop on The Festival Series will be the plush Banco Casino, in the heart of Bratislava’s historic old town. I spoke to Banco’s head of marketing Jan Packa about what players can expect at The Festival in Bratislava.

Banco Casino is like a living organism

“We have in Banco Casino a great team, especially the poker team, two really hard-working and competent poker managers in Zuzana Mikulikova and Michal Borovsky” Jan tells me. “Banco Casino is like a living organism - everyone knows what to do, everyone is extraordinary, shall we say. We are getting more and more popularity among players, and we’ve completely changed the curve for Slovakian poker. We’ve set new standards for poker and brought big tournaments - we’re trying to bring to the poker community as much action and value as possible - what they deserve to be honest.” Indeed, Banco Casino has acquired a reputation over the past few years for their customer-focussed approach and extremely high standards - something that Jan is rightly proud of. “Every time we organise something we try to push a level higher,” he goes on, “And so we are kind of successful in that, in all modesty! So that’s what we’re offering to the players. Our ideology is to give our guests four things: experience, service on a high level, fun, and unforgettable moments. Because I think it’s all about the moments - when you’re playing poker, you remember when you bluffed, you remember when you qualified for the final table… Those are the moments you’ll remember for your whole life, and we’re trying to provide a full experience to our customers.”

We are located in the heart of historic Bratislava

As well as providing one of the best poker experiences in Europe, Banco Casino have extensive experience in running blackjack and roulette events as well. “Of course!” Jan laughs, “Basically our casino is divided into three areas - the poker area, where we have tournaments and cash games, and then we have a section for players who like to play in private, and then there’s the game area, so slot machines, roulette, blackjack, whatever.”

It’s not just what goes on inside the casino itself that makes Banco Casino such a fantastic venue. “Banco Casino has the best location of any casino in the world,” Jan says, “Because we are located in the heart of historic Bratislava. So people spend their time not only in the casino but they can take a break, take a walk, dinner, have fun. So, first I’d start with the nightlife in Bratislava - it’s great, and popular around the world. We have a lot of clubs, bars, places where you can just sit and have a chill time. The second thing I’d like to recommend is restaurants and cafés - everyone has to try the Slovakian cuisine! And Bratislava has all kinds of different restaurants as well. Third, there are many historical monuments. And everything is walkable from the casino, so you don’t have to move anywhere, because you are inside the city. So my advice to players is to come to Bratislava for a longer stay, and then enjoy Banco Casino as well as the city.”

Jan and his team at Banco Casino couldn’t be more excited about hosting The Festival in Bratislava. “First time I heard about The Festival and who’s behind it - experienced people like Franke and Mauritz and all the guys I like to cooperate with - I must say that I was happy and proud that Banco Casino was going to be a part of it. For us as a casino, it’s a step forward to bring to Slovakia something bigger and exciting for our players, not just the ones from Slovakia - we have a lot of players from Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland and other countries. So basically The Festival is going to be a celebration of poker for the players and I hope that everyone’s going to join.” September can’t come fast enough.