European Roulette Tour

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First conducted in 2011, the European Roulette Tour (ERT) is a series of televised roulette tournaments that take place in some of the most prestigious casinos around Europe. It was inaugurated by an online gaming web site, Casino770, to give roulette enthusiasts the opportunity to take part in big competitions much like those organised for poker players.

The site selected for the initial leg of the tour was the Casino de Spa in Belgium. In mid-September, it hosted ten finalists who competed for cash prizes of close to £15,000. The players were the survivors of qualifying round conducted online at the Casino770 web site throughout the month of August.

Every day from the 1st to the 31st, Casino770 held a so-called “Little Bet Roulette Tournament” that awarded players with points, based upon the number of winning spins each player made. One point was awarded for every 36th winning spin and results were tracked on a leaderboard. The top ten players at the end of the month received their invitations to the Main Event at Spa, where they joined ten locals elected by the hosting casino.

One unique aspect of the ERT is how the top prize is determined by three “magical roulette spins.” The overall tournament winner receives a cash award that calculated by multiplying the end result of his three spins by €100. That means a maximum prize of €10,080 could be won for spinning number 36 three times, but the award could be eve higher. Should the zero come up, it is worth €770 plus an extra spin.

The player who takes second place gets a fixed prize payout of €1,500. Third place wins £1,000, fourth place receives £500 and fifth place is worth £250. All prizes are guaranteed and paid out in cash. The winner of the inaugural ERT competition was Belgium’s Christophe Fouillé. He took home the Grand Prize of €4,800 as decided by his spins. Second place went to Cyril Gerbe and third place was taken by Moulay Hicham Alaoui.

For the second leg of the tour, the scene shifted to England, where a famous Nottingham casino called Dusk Till Dawn served as the venue for the finale. The 20 finalists who gathered there on 10 March 2012 included five survivors of the Casino Riva’s month-long online qualifier as well as the top finishers from Casino770’s tournament.

This installment featured the players vying against each other in four qualifying rounds that lasted just ten spins each. The chip leaders for the four rounds plus the highest ranked among all the second-place finishers then went on to compete in a final round.

The winner this time was a British university student who entered under the nickname “Csaba” and used a Martingale progression to beat his competition. His three magical roulette spins were 18, 30 and 13, which netted him £6,100. The second prize of £1,500 was picked up by an entrant named “Steven” and the £1,000 third prize went to Nkosinathi.

Plans are already underway to conduct a third of the tour. Satellite qualifiers, such as those held by Casino Riva and Casino770, will remain the primary vehicle for gaining a seat at the Main Event. The sponsoring online casinos also cover all of the travel, accommodation and food costs for the finalists up to £1,000.

According to those who have participated in the Main Event, there is a lot less pressure on players than one might imagine. Although the television cameras and lights are bit distracting, there is no cost whatsoever to enter so as Csaba put it in his post-ERT interview, “This was an opportunity to enjoy gambling without the risk of losing anything…. The Roulette machine was very generous fortunately.”

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