It has been five years already for the PokerStars.com European Poker Tour (EPT)! What started out as a simple plan to bring organized tournaments to the European poker players has become a lasting reality. EPT founder John Duthie has seen his dreams come true. The seeds Duthie planted across Europe have grown into a wonderful flower blooming the lavish petals of success. With the help of worldwide and professional television production, an amazing tournament staff led by Thomas Kremser, and the sponsorship of online super-power PokerStars, the pro poker circuit in Europe has never been stronger. Showcasing a diverse selection of well organized tournament stops and maintaining an ever increasing prize pool has built the EPT a reputation as one of the best poker circuits in the world.
Since its inception, the EPT has been responsible for some amazing outcomes in life that run deeper than poker. Sure, poker elite have been created and bank accounts have been filled up with hundreds of thousands of Euros, but people's lives have also been tangibly enriched by other means. The EPT allows people to explore new cities and cultures. It allows for friendships to be made and businesses forged, and it creates amazing stories to be shared across many cultures.
The fifth season of the EPT is rapidly approaching, and we are going
to do our best to provide our readers with a guide to all of the stops for the upcoming season. We want everyone that participates in the EPT to be able to use our resource to help them plan more than just which tournament strategy to employ, or what satellite to win. There are many great places to visit in each city, and many fun activities which shouldn't go ignored. We will be explaining some great information in this series of articles, so check back as all the stops are explored and dissected to maximize your EPT experience!
For everyone that has been following the European Poker Tour, it is hard to believe how fast the years go by. There are four completed seasons already with 13 different cities having being visited. Many of these tournaments are televised world-wide, bringing Europe's finest casinos into the limelight. It is also great for the eight people who make the final table, as they all become instant poker celebrities. There is also always the chance of getting fabulous endorsements, especially from PokerStars, since 'Stars is the official sponsor and organizer of the Tour.
The first European Poker Tour tournaments commenced in sunny Spain, kicking off in September 2004 at the Gran Casino Barcelona. There have been 33 main events since, spreading out through Barcelona, London, Dublin, Copenhagen, Deauville, Vienna, Monte Carlo, Baden, Dortmund, Warsaw, Prague, The Caribbean, and San Remo.
The prize pools have tripled since 2004, with even more growth expected over Season Five. Keep in mind that a big reason for this is that the main event buy-in has increased over the last couple of seasons. Originally the main event buy-in was €4000, but now they are usually between €5000 and €10000. The rise in price has attracted many more players from overseas, and pumped up the winnings considerably. The Monte Carlo Grand Finale of Season 4 paid out €2M, and was the biggest prize pool in the history of European tournament play.
Season Five is Alive
Season Five will consist of 10 stops, and will see the return of the Deauville France event which has been absent for seasons three and four. There will also be a new addition to the Tour, which will be the inaugural event from Budapest, Hungary. The EPT will stretch far out from east to west this season, covering nearly 1500 kilometres from London to Budapest! Remember to get a good frequent flyer point plan! It is a super positive to see such poker growth in Eastern Europe.
Many pros have been heard whispering that the EPT is their favorite of the pro poker circuits. The fields at the WPT are too tough, and the structures are fast. The WSOP is a grueling 6 weeks in the Las Vegas summer heat contending with massive fields. All the other smaller tours are just that - smaller tours. The EPT is laid back, and the players are not always the most experienced. The structure of play is also more favorable to the player then some of the other tours. The casinos and mentality of each culture is unique, making every stop an entertaining place with lots of great things to do.
The next article will be about the numero uno stop on the tour, which like every other year will be in Barcelona. Stay tuned for the next feature article about Barca, as we describe the sights and sounds of one of the greatest places in the world.
Special Attractions for Season 5 of the EPT
There will be plenty of exciting reasons to partake in the EPT. Some of the excitement will come from some smart changes made by the casinos and organizers. For example, in the October stop in London, there will be a special "High Roller" tournament. This will be a no-limit Holdem event with a buy-in of £20,000 + £300. This will be pretty crazy, since it will attract the true high rollers of the European circuit. First prize will be a guarantee of £1M.
There are certainly many great options of stuff to do for the rest of the non-high rollers. San Remo is a great stop on the EPT, as it is tucked away in a beautiful beach town. There are several EPT stops that feature world class beaches, so pack some swimwear. San Remo is a small town of just under 60,000 people, so if the idea of a peaceful and refreshing sea-side holiday in combination with some poker sounds appealing, then look into San Remo.
It is an Italian paradise on the Mediterranean with loads of fabulous tourist attractions. There are great golf courses, horse riding grounds and plenty of boutiques and restaurants. It is also rumored that the 5-card stud variation of poker was invented in San Remo! San Remo is considered one of the premier stops on the Italian Riviera, and there will be a future article getting into great detail, so stay tuned.
Not much more to say. Barcelona, in the south of Spain, is an amazing city. The history, the beaches, the food, it is all absolutely lovely. This is also one of the oldest stops on the EPT, so the casino and organizers pull it off to perfection. If anyone wants to go to play or rail an EPT, this is safest bet to have a comfortable and enjoyable time. The next article will be all about the Barcelona events, nightlife, tourist attractions and more, so be sure to read it if you are liking how this sounds. It will be worth it.
PokerStars is the official sponsor and backbone of the European Poker Tour. They do amazing live reporting, and have a host of blog writers bringing the stories to the people. PokerStars is also the home of the best satellites for the tour, with shots at winning entries for every single stop. Check out the site for more details, as the EPT satellites are comprehensive and inexhaustibly running around the clock. PokerStars also has 'Step Satellites' which are a cheap way to qualify over a series of escalating buy-in sit and goes.
Here is the rundown of all the stops:
EPT Barcelona Open : September 10-14th 2008, at the Gran Casino Barcelona, Spain. The Main Event will have a buy-in of €8,000 + 250, and there is a 600 player limit.
EPT London : October 1-5th 2008, at the Victoria Casino in London, England. The Main Event will have a £5,200 + 200 buy-in with a limit of 500 players.
EPT Budapest : October 28-November 1st, at the Las Vegas Casino in the Sofitel Hotel in Budapest, Hungary. The Main Event will have a buy-in of €4,350, and there is a limit of 500 entrants.
EPT Polish Open : November 15th-19th at the Warsaw Hyatt Regency in Warsaw, Poland. The Main Event will be a buy-in of ZI (Zloty) 20,000 + 1000. No player limit has been announced yet.
EPT Prague: December 9-13th 2008, at the Hilton Hotel in Prague, Czech Republic. The buy-in for the Main Event will be €5,000 + 250, and this tournament has a limit of 600 players.
EPT French Open: January 20-24th 2009, at the Casino Barriere in Deauville, France. The buy-in for the Main Event will be €5,000 + 300 and the limit of players is 700.
EPT Scandinavian Open: February 17-21st 2009, at the Casino Copenhagen in Copenhagen, Denmark. The buy-in for the Main Event will be 50,000 + 2,250 DKR with a maximum limit of 500 players
EPT German Open: March 10-14th 2009, at the Casino Hohensyburg in Dortmund, Germany. The entry fee for the Main event will be €5,000 + 250 with a player limit of 500.
EPT San Remo: April 18-23rd 2009, at the Casino San Remo in San Remo, Italy. The buy in for the Main Event will be €5,000 + 250 and the player limit will be a large field of 800.
EPT Grand Final: April 28-May 3rd 2009, at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort in Monte Carlo, Monaco. The entry fee for the Main Event Finale will be €10,000 + €600 with a huge maximum player cap of 1000.