The 2015 PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final is just days away, and the anticipation couldn't be higher for one of the greatest poker festivals of the year. Once again, the Grand Final will take to Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort in luxurious Monaco for the closure of Season 11 of the EPT.
There are a whopping 78 events featured on the schedule, highlighted by the €100,000 Super High Roller, the €10,600 Main Event, and the €25,500 High Roller. With such an impressive 11 days of poker lying in wait, PokerNews would like to point out a few keys things for you to keep an eye on.
€100,000 Super High Roller Field Could Be Largest Ever
For another year, there will be no waiting before diving right into some towering high-stakes action, as the €100,000 Super High Roller starts April 30. According to PokerStars, there are already nearly 40 players confirmed for the event, and the word on the street is that there will be a few new faces taking a shot in the six-figure buy-in tournament. Of those named to be playing are Antonio Esfandiari, Dan Smith, Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel, Isaac Haxton, Max Altergott, Mike McDonald, Phil Ivey, Sam Trickett, and Talal Shakerchi.
With nearly 40 players confirmed, a handful of new faces planned to be in the field, and reentries allowed, there's a very good chance this event will break its record.
Last year, Daniel Colman topped a field of 62 entries, and the field size has generated steady increase each year. The first installment in 2012 was won by Justin Bonomo after he topped 45 entries, then in 2013 it was Max Altergott topped a field of 50 entries. That's an 11-percent increase from 2012 to 2013 and a 24-percent increase from 2013 to 2014. If you average those increases out to 17.5 percent and project that onto 2015's field, you're looking at over 70 entries this year.
Hello, prize pool.
Can Zinno Play with the Big Boys?
We mentioned a handful of notables expected to be in the field, but it's not one of those that we'd like to focus on for our next point of interest.
Anthony Zinno, winner of three World Poker Tour titles, will be popping his PokerStars super high roller cherry. To our knowledge, he's never played an event with a buy-in of $100,000 or greater, and it will be exciting to see the player hotter than anyone else right now lock horns with what is one of the toughest fields to overcome in poker.
Zinno's already having a career year with just shy of $1.6 million in live earnings, but the average talent gap in a WPT main event versus a PokerStars super high roller is very large. It comes of large interest to see if he can perform well against the type of elite competition he'll be going toe to toe with in Monaco.
€25,500 High Roller Is the Event to Watch
The €10,600 Main Event will likely produce the largest prize pool, the €100,000 and €50,000 events will feature stacked fields at incredible price tags, but the €25,500 High Roller will be the best event on the schedule, for two reasons.
Much like the $25,500 High Roller at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure each year, this event will attract a large field, create a huge prize pool, and have one of the most premier player pools of the year. For the first reason, the toughness of the event will be much higher than the €10,600 Main Event even if the prize pool won't be as much. That gets our blood pumping. For the second reason, although the buy-in will be less than the the €100,000 and €50,000 events the field size should be at least two times the combined field size of those events. Combine that with the first reason, and now our blood is reaching its boiling point.
Since its first edition in Season 5, and minus the one off year of 2011 during Season 7 when only 58 entries were tallied for the €25,500 High Roller, the event has seen remarkable jumps in attendance. Just take a look at the following table:
|Season — Year||Entries||Prize Pool||Winner||First-Place Prize|
|Season 5 — 2009||79||€1,975,000||Vanessa Rousso||€532,500|
|Season 6 — 2010||113||€2,825,000||Tobias Reinkemeier||€956,000|
|Season 7 — 2011||58||€1,435,500||Bertrand Grospellier||€525,000|
|Season 8 — 2012||133||€3,325,000||Igor Kurganov||€1,080,000|
|Season 9 — 2013||158||€3,871,000||Steven Silverman||€775,400|
|Season 10 — 2014||214||€5,243,000||Philipp Gruissem||€993,963|
The EPT Grand Final €25,500 High Roller and the PCA $25,500 High Roller are very similar in field-size history. This year will be the seventh installment of the EPT Grand Final €25,500 High Roller, and the PCA $25,500 High Roller had its seventh instalment earlier this year in January. Minus one down year for each event, the fields sizes have gotten larger. The following table looks at the two events side by side for each year:
|Year||PCA $25K Entries||% Change||EPT GF €25K Entries||% Change|
Knowing how close the two events mirror each other with similar average growth, it wouldn't be out of the question to see this year's EPT Grand Final €25,500 High Roller top 250 total entries with ease.
Special €50,000 Super High Roller
On Sunday, May 3, a special one-day €50,000 Super High Roller with single reentry will take place. As compared to the other super high roller on the schedule, players will begin with 50,000 less chips (200,000 versus 250,000), and level length has been cut in half to 30 minutes to accommodate for the one-day format. This should be a really cool event and the faster pace of play will certainly keep the chips flying.
Many of the same big names playing the €100,000 Super High Roller should be in action for this event. Recently, the 2015 L.A. Poker Classic held a $50,000 Turbo High Roller 6-Max that generated a prize pool of over $1.5 million from 31 entries. Plus, venues such as the ARIA Resort & Casino regularly hold high roller events that only last one day. That tells us the demand is there from high-stakes players for these one-day, big buy-in events, and an elite, packed field should see a large top prize of €500,000-€1,000,000 handed out.