European Poker Tour History

[RR] “Welcome back, Stan”, Roderick the Rock greeted.

[SS] “Thanks, sorry I couldn’t make the last couple tournaments”, Stan the Stat responded. “Always super busy during tax season.”

[FF] “At least you make money on it! Everyone pays taxes”, Figaro the Fish lamented.

[LL] “Especially Professional Technologists”, Leroy the Lion lamented.

[RR] “Even Poor Teachers.”

[SS] “Eminent Physics Theoreticians.”

[FF] “Emergency Parachute Testers.”

[LL] “Elephant Prosthesis Trainers.”

[SS] “In poker, what do you guys think of when I say ‘EPT’?” Stan the Stat segued.

[RR] “The Eastern Poker Tour,1 of course. Some of our regulars play there, especially Elias the Eagle, who’s usually among the league leaders.”

[SS] “What if someone from outside of New England said ‘EPT’ though?”

[LL] “You must be referring to the European Poker Tour then.”

[SS] “Yes, that’s the one. The European Poker Tour debuted in Barcelona over a decade ago in September 2004 as poker was reaching its peak of popularity just 16 months after Chris Moneymaker had won the World Series of Poker Main Event. Founder John Duthie was a television director who also happened to be pretty good at poker. In November 2000, he took down the debut Poker Million I2 shootout for a cool million pounds ($1,426,330).

With the World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour then almost entirely based in the U.S., Duthie wanted to create a poker tour for Europe3 with lower buy-ins4 for a regular television series that he would produce. He signed on casinos all across Europe to provide card rooms, PokerStars to sponsor the tournaments, and multi-country Eurosport and the U.K.’s Channel 5 and Challenge TV to broadcast the events.”

[RR] “And the EPT is still around, so it worked out pretty well?”

[SS] “Mostly. The EPT began with seven tour stops in 2004-05, and like the WSOP and WPT, grew as poker did, nearly doubling to 13 stops for three seasons from 2009-10 to 2011-12 before shrinking back to seven events in 2014-15. Similarly, the season-ending Grand Final’s field grew from 211 players in 2005 to 935 in 2009 then dropped back down to 531 in 2013 before recovering some since.

Barcelona and London have hosted events every season, while Monte Carlo has only missed one year and Deauville two. Prague and Paradise Island (Bahamas) have been regular tour stops since Season 4. The EPT season usually kicks off in Barcelona5 and ends in Monte Carlo,6 where Season 11 is currently wrapping up. The EPT Grand Final begins tomorrow.”

{ To be continued… }

{ December 28, 2016 update: The EPT has been rebranded as part of the PokerStars Championship for 2017. }

Footnotes:

  1. The Eastern Poker Tour runs weekly Texas Hold ‘Em tournaments at dozens of locations in eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The tour manages pub events, charity events, and a points ladder used for qualifying for monthly, seasonal, and annual championship tournaments.
  2. The Poker Million event took a three-year break then ran annually from 2003 to 2010.
  3. Only the Bahamas event (the EPT PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in Paradise Island, which began in 2008) isn’t in Europe.
  4. EPT buy-ins were initially about half of the World Poker Tour’s, but field sizes grew so large that the entry fees were raised in Season 4.
  5. The exceptions were Season 6, which started in Kiev and Seasons 7 and 8, which started in Tallinn.
  6. The only exception was Season 7, which ended in Madrid.

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