European Poker Tour

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Published: 14/08/2012

Now entering its 9th season, the PokerStars European Poker Tour (EPT) is richest, most popular and most successful of all poker tournament series in the world. Many of the EPT’s events are filmed for television, with shows broadcast across the continent and beyond. Adding to the allure of the tour, events take place within a variety of beautiful casinos in some of Europe’s most historic cities.

Managing the games and the numerous stops along the annual tour is the responsibility of PokerStars, the world’s largest regulated gaming operator and poker site, with more than 49 million members. EPT President Edgar Stuchly is the tour’s official spokesperson and it is also his task to “refine the vision for the tour, improve the customer experience for participating players, and grow the brand across Europe.”

In the very first season, the tour featured seven stops, making its way from Barcelona in September 2004 to Monte Carlo in March 2005. The five venues in between were located in London, Dublin, Copenhagen, Deauville and Vienna. The Grand Final worth €635,000 was won by Rob Hollink of the Netherlands.

Season Two saw Baden replace Vienna as the Austrian stop and Jeff Williams of the United States took top honours in Monte Carlo, winning the Grand Final worth €900,000. The third season saw an expansion to eight stops, as Dortmund and Warsaw were added and Deauville was dropped; the Grand Final prize rose to €1.8 million, won by Gavin Griffin of the United States.

By September 2007 and the start of Season Four, a decision had been take to broaden the format of the tour to include stops in Prague, Sanremo and the Bahamas. The latter was publicized as the “EPT PokerStars Caribbean Adventure,” with a $2 million top prize up for grabs on Paradise Island. The Grand Final, however, was even richer—winner Glenn Chorny of Canada picked up just over €2 million for his efforts in Monte Carlo in April 2008.

Baden was dropped and Budapest was added to the tour for Season Five, as was an extra installment in London—the so-called “£1 Million Showdown.” The Caribbean Adventure prize was upped to $3 million and Dutch professional Pieter De Korver picked up the €2.3 million Grand Final prize.

None of the changes from that season survived to Season Six, however. The Bahamas stop was dropped, while Kiev and Salzburg were included. Berlin replaced Dortmund and Portugal gained its first spot on the calendar with a stop in Vilamoura in November 2009. Lebanese poker star Nicolas Chouity won the Grand Final and its €1.7 million prize.

A dozen different venues appeared on the schedule for the 7th season of the European Poker Tour, with two very big changes to absorb. The tour kicked off in Tallinn, Estonia in August 2010 and concluded not in Monte Carlo but in Madrid on May 2011. The Grand Final prize of €1.5 million was taken by Ivan Freitez of Venezuela.

Season Eight also launched in Tallinn, but reinstated Monte Carlo as the tour’s ultimate destination. It also brought back the popular Caribbean Adventure and added two new stops: Loutraki, Greece and Campione, Italy. Mohsin Charania of the United States won the €1.35 million Grand Final in April 2012.

For the current season big improvements are expected, with “fewer stops, but much more poker,” according to the sponsors. The provisional schedule includes eight venues: Barcelona, Sanremo, Prague, Bahamas, Deauville, London, Berlin and Monte Carlo. The tour aims to focus on providing bigger festivals, more events, more variety and more buy-in levels in an effort to broaden its appeal beyond the current base.

To date, the United Kingdom and the United States are tied for the lead in tour victories with 13 winners each. Germany ranks third with nine triumphs, followed by Denmark with eight, Sweden with seven and France with six. In terms of seats at final tables, The U.S. holds the edge over the U.K. by a margin of 70 to 66. Sweden is third with 54.

Published on: 14/08/2012

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