Consult a list of poker player’s luxury items and a popular choice among the European elite poker set might be a luxury yacht. After this weekend, that might not be the case, as Spanish player Diego Gomez Gonzalez’ luxury liner, which sleeps 20 people, sank off the coast of the Mediterranean Sea after catching fire and burning, with black smoke filing the sky.

Gonzalez Yacht Burns and Sinks

In what is a developing story, the 88-foot luxury yacht belonging to Spanish poker pro Diego Gomez Gonzalez burned to a crisp before sinking off the Mediterranean coast on Saturday. It is as yet unclear whether the owner of the yacht, Spanish poker professional Diego Gomez Gonzalez, was onboard at the time, but the yacht, which can hold 20 passengers and has 17 people on deck as it caught fire, sunk in the Mediterranean Sea on Saturday as the fire was unable to be put out.

While all 17 passengers who were onboard at the time made it safely to shore via rescue boats, one crew member did require medical treatment for minor burns at the scene. The cause of the fire, as well as if Gonzalez was on the vessel, remains unclear, but at around six in the evening on Saturday, near the Mediterranean island of Formentera, the yacht cause fire.

The blaze quickly spread and as black smoke billowed from the hull into the evening sky, everyone on board escaped from the craft and kept a safe distance. Unfortunately, it was too late to save the yacht, as the luxury liner burned with a ferocious intensity before sinking into the sea.

The boat’s five crew members and dozen passengers all escaped without serious injury in what could have been a much more dangerous incident had the fire consumed the vessel quicker than it already did. Thankfully, all 17 who were onboard got off safely, but the yacht itself will not sail again, sinking to the ocean floor. As restaurant-goers filmed the fire and helped passengers, all watched stunned as the boat went down off the Southeastern coast of Spain near Ibiza, where the vessel is commonly docked. The yacht, which costs around $50,000 to charter during peak summer months, was 28 years old, and featured luxury cabins and even an on-deck jacuzzi.

Who is Diego Gomez Gonzalez?

The Madrid-based poker professional Diego Gomez Gonzalez has won $492, 532 at the live felt, though perhaps oddly, hasn’t cashed in a live event since 2021 when he finished 66th in a €550-entry event in his home city of the Spanish capital. Gonzalez’ biggest-ever win at the live felt was back in 2012 when he finished fifth in the European Poker Tour Main Event in Prague. Back then, Gonzalez won $256,189 in an event eventually won by Swedish player Ramzi Jelassi.

The Lion Diego
The Lion, otherwise known as Diego Gomez Gonzalez

Currently sitting in 59th place on the Spanish All-Time Money List for tournament results in ranking events, Gonzalez has hardly played since live poker returned after COVID. With three cashes in the 2020 WSOP Online series totalling $24,000, Gonzalez may not be playing poker for such a large amount of his professional time recently.

When he won his biggest score in Prague in that EPT Main Event, Gonzalez did so while wearing a full lion outfit. Thereafter, he earned the nickname – you guessed it – ‘The Lion’. Will Gonzalez to poker, presuming that he was chartering the yacht for others to use, or is he done for good with the game?

Next Stop Barcelona for ‘The Lion’?

If ‘The Lion’ does fancy playing poker as soon as he possibly can, then he might be eyeing up the European Poker Tour as it stops in Barcelona. Taking place between August 21st and Spetember 3rd, there will be millions up for grabs and the Spaniard could do a lot worse than planning a trip to the Catalan capital in Basque country.

EPT Barcelona will be hugely popular but recent omens don’t bode well for Spanish winners. Incredibly, of the 37 events that took place on the EPT 2022 schedule, only one side event with a €550 buy-in was won by a home country player, as Spanish poker player Sergio Leon claimed victory in the No Limit Hold’em event for just $17,510.

After the drama of his literal boat burning – viewable via the Daily Mail in this video that has gone around the world – surely the Lion will want to enter the ‘Mane’ Event with its €5,300 entry fee and possible life-changing money. Who knows what Gonzalez could buy with his winnings if he takes down the likely seven-figure top prize.

That sort of money could even stretch to something like a luxury yacht… or maybe not.

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Paul seaton

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Paul Seaton, a poker luminary with over a decade of experience, has reported live from iconic poker events, including the World Series of Poker, European Poker Tour, and World Poker Tour. He's not just a spectator; he's been the Editor of BLUFF Europe Magazine and Head of Media for partypoker. Paul's poker insights have graced publications like PokerNews, 888poker, and PokerStake, where he's interviewed poker legends such as Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel, Phil Hellmuth, and The Hendon Mob’s, entire lineup. His exceptional work even earned him a Global Poker Award nomination for Best Written Content. In the poker world, Paul Seaton's expertise is a force to be reckoned with, captivating enthusiasts worldwide.

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