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European Poker Tour
From London to Berlin, Barcelona to Tallinn – EPT overview
The tour was established by Team PokerStars pro and media / television guru John Duthie. Duthie had pioneered the hole-cam revelation, which first featured in 1999’s ‘Late Night Poker’.
Following the online boom (triggered by Moneymaker’s rags to riches satellite story at the WSOP 2003), poker TV shows and tournament became more popular.
Duthie capitalised on this by creating the EPT in 2004, also anchoring commentary for the first season and negotiating PokerStars’s role as primary sponsor.
The EPT is a tour of Europe’s notable cities, including London, Berlin and Barcelona, and more obscure locations such as Tallinn and Baden. Only Barcelona, Copenhagen and London have been permanent fixtures on the EPT circuit.
Unsurprisingly, given the place’s money, glitz and glamour, the Monte Carlo stop has traditionally been the end of season finale. It also shoulders the biggest prize pool, with Canadian Glen Chorny scooping a massive $3,196,354 for his Season Four triumph.
A host of stellar names have found success on the EPT. A fresh-faced Patrik Antonius, now one of the most sought-after nosebleed stakes players, achieved international stardom with his season two victory at Baden.
According to the EPT leaderboards, the most consistent casher is Italian Luca Pagano, followed by dynamic Frenchman Bertrand ‘Elky’ Grospellier. Winners Jason Mercier and Gavin Griffin ensure there is a strong, stateside presence on the EPT.
Note that these three players are all PokerStars pros and it is possible to seen them play at the at pokerstars.
The latter, along with aggressive Englishman Roland de Wolfe, is the only player to have won coveted EPT, WPT and WSOP titles. PokerStars pro and journalist Victoria Coren remained until 2010 the only female victor, when she captured the EPT London on home soil in 2006. But with Liv Boeree's victory at the EPT San Remo in April 2010, there are two now.
The EPT Season Six was a rollercoaster ride. Organisers were much maligned for agreeing a stop in Kyiv, Ukraine, as a replacement for the EPT Moscow. The Kremlin’s crackdown on gambling in Russia saw attention switched to Kyiv, but the tournament attracted only 300 competitors and guaranteed just €330,000 to winner Maxim Lykov.
The highroller event was even more of a farce, with just three players forking out the €20k entry fee. The EPT has been criticised for its more ‘unfashionable’ stops, which attract less players and guarantee smaller prize pools. Controversy struck again at the EPT Berlin, when four armed robbers charged in and fleeced the cage attendants, plunging the whole hall into chaos.
Although the EPT is now in its seventh season, a few questions remain. Just how popular is the tour? Does it have a promising future?
Unquestionably, poker’s online popularity is harming the EPT’s integrity. But, in all fairness, it defies logic for Patrik Antonius to travel to Kyiv for a €330k first prize when he can claim $1.7 million in a single pot on Full Tilt Poker.
The EPT is still valued by European pros and tournament specialists, but the financial incentives aren’t enough for the likes of Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan to participate on a regular basis.
At least Canadian pro Daniel Negreanu remains a prominent figure, due to his PokerStars connections. Because of its European core, the EPT will remain second fiddle to the WPT and WSOP tournament circuits, but the London and Monte Carlo stops are still key dates in a professional’s calendar.
Organisers will hope anti-poker government legislature, similar to that in Russia, does not affect future plans of expansion. According to early Season Seven stats (384 players entered the EPT Vilamoura – a Portuguese record), the EPT is booming, yet its fields pale in comparison to those at American events.
PokerStars will be hoping its online satellites, beginning as low as $4.40 to the EPT London, will help fuel interest.
PokerStars offers satellite tournaments to the EPT and other major events like the WSOP and Pokerstars Caribbean Adventure. You can qualify for these satellites with your Frequent Player Points (FPPS) and turn them into the adventure of a lifetime in Europe or The Bahamas!
If you have not yet registered, use pokerstars marketing code when you sign up for a 100% bonus up to $600 applicable to your first three deposits.