The European Poker Tour and Everything You Need to Know

Joseph MacNaughton

The European Poker tour is a series of live tournaments that take place across Europe. This tournament series first started in 2004 near the beginning of the world wide boom of Texas Hold'Em poker. This poker boom has been credited to Chris Moneymaker who took down the World Series of Poker Main event. He won the world series of poker main event by qualifying with a low buy in satellite. 

The European Poker Tour is very similar to other poker tours such as the World Poker tour and previously discontinued tours such as the UK and Ireland poker tour. The premise of most poker tours is usually the same. A major poker tournament or tournaments will take place in fabulous casinos. After the event is finished, another tournament in a different city and or country will take place not too long after. After about 1 year there will be points calculated for the players who entered in multiple tournaments and additional prizes, awards and honours will be presented to the players who did the best. 

The European Poker is owned and ran by the poker giant, PokerStars. There are some differences between the European Poker tour and the World Poker tour. The first obvious one being the World Poker Tour has tournaments across the world while the European Poker tour will have tournaments only based in Europe. The final table of the European Poker tour, also known as the EPT, will be played 8 handed while the World Poker tour final tables will be played 6 handed. 

The European Poker Tour has varied a lot over the years with how many tournaments will take place over 1 series. In the first series in 2004, it started on the 18th of September of 2004 and completed on the 19th of March in Monte Carlo. There were a total of 7 poker tournaments in this series of the European poker tour. Later in the fourth series, which took place between 2007 and 2008, there were 11 poker tournaments in the series. If we take a look at the most current series, which is the 2018 series, only 4 poker tournaments were planned. The reasoning behind the varying amount of different tournaments isn't always clear or known. Some have speculated or announced that this is due to Casinos not able to host such a large venue, as the EPT is one of the most popular if not the most popular poker tournament series in Europe. 

Notable series events

One notable European Poker Tour series was their sixth season. A little over half way through the season 6 tour of the EPT, the tournament was currently being hosted in Berlin. In March 2010 four masked robbers, armed with weapons, including knives and one or more guns, committed a robbery mid tournament during the event. The robbers can be seen on the live stream wearing masks and demanding cash as they made a hasty get away. The police and casino reported that they stole 242,000 Euros. 

There were no fatalities and no one was injured too badly. The robbers were not very good at covering their tracks as they were caught and arrested only days later. They were easily convicted due to the overwhelming amount of evidence and sentenced to three years in prison. 

Another notable series comes to the player, Victoria Coren Mitchell. She is one of the most famous female poker players out there, who previously sponsored and represented the name of Pokerstars. She was the first player to win 2 separate EPT titles in the 2006 London Poker tour as well as the only female to win a poker tour. Back then there was very few female poker players and the poker field was an almost entirely male dominated game. Well, even to this day it is still very much a male dominated game but each year the number of female players continues to grow. 

Where are the tournaments usually held?

The events over the years have taken place all across the Europe. With Barcelona making an appearance on every poker tour. Some cities are not revisited or at least for a long time, it's not completely clear why Barcelona has been given a place each year but cities like Berlin or Malta are sometimes included and sometimes not. 

You can find where past events have been held and where future EPT events will be held on their website at http://www.pokerstarslive.com/ept/. This can let you know if there's a major EPT event coming to a location near you or if you would like to plan a holiday somewhere in Europe and include entering a great poker tournament too!

How much you can win

How much you can win in the European poker tour will depend on a lot of factors. How many tournaments are you willing to play being one of the biggest factors and the most important factor being how long you last in each tournament! It doesn't matter if you enter every tournament if you keep losing all your chips too early! 

The size of EPT tournament entrance fees in the very first season was considerably smaller than it is today. With the first tournament being a 1000 euro buy-in tournament in Barcelona with only 229 entrants. In the most recent EPT event in Barcelona in 2018 the buy-in has been raised to 5300 Euros and there were 1931 entrants. This goes to show how much bigger poker's popularity has grown over the years. The buy-in has increased 5 times the amount it initially was, which you would think would discourage some of the players from entering. But the amount of entrants has almost gone up 10 times! Pitor Nurzynski took down the 2018 Barcelona EPT tour for a little over 1 million Euros which is quite a big jump from the first Barcelona EPT event where 1st place took down a humble 80,000 Euros. 

How to enter in an EPT event 

Like most tournaments there's a number of ways to enter. You may bring yourself to the live venue and register on the day of the tournament. You can register in advance using the PokerStars software and pay the full tournament admission fee. 

You may also win a ticket via a live or online satellite. A satellite is basically a mini tournament which the winner or winners will receive a ticket into a much bigger tournament such as an EPT event. 

Online satellites come in a wide variety of formats and stakes. Some with a very small field but a first place prize of a high buy-in to other tournaments where you may win a ticket for as little as 1 dollar! These small buy-in satellite tournaments will usually mean the player pool will be quite large and very difficult to win. Winning one of these small buy-in tournaments  may not initially win you a ticket to enter the main event but instead the prize will be a ticket to a bigger satellite event where the eventual prize is a ticket to an EPT event. 

In conclusion

The EPT is a major televised poker tour which is sure to be a lot of fun. You will likely get to meet professionals and amateurs from around the world competing to try and take the tournament down. 

The buy-in for these major tournaments is not for everyone. Satellites is a great way for a wider range of people to be able to buy into these tournaments as the entrance fee is definitely not something anyone that has an interest in poker can just willy-nilly sign up to.

Even if you do not wish to try and enter the EPT events, a lot of the highlights and the most interesting hands of the tournament are televised and commentated on. Anyone that is a fan of poker will get some great entertainment from simply watching and following along to the action. After watching an EPT event you may feel you have what it takes to enter one and take home the big first prize!

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