About the European Poker Tour

The European Poker Tour is recognized as one of the premier poker tournament series in the world. It holds the same esteem as the World Poker Tour and the World Series of Poker. Players from all over the globe compete in several months of intense competition. While all the main event games are Texas Hold’em, there are plenty of EPT satellites. Each city hosting a main event also features ladies’ games and various poker styles.

The European Poker Tour consists of events like the EPT Scandinavian Open or EPT Prague. These events take place in major European cities known for their beauty and tourist appeal. Each year, new sites are added to the European Poker Tour. The EPT, which started with only seven events, now tours thirteen locations across the continent. Some cities, such as Barcelona, London, and Copenhagen, have been constants since the beginning. Others appear only for a season or two.

PokerStars (one of the US online poker sites) is the official sponsor of the European Poker Tour and other large-scale tours worldwide. These include the North American Poker Tour, the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, the Asia Pacific Poker Tour, and the Latin America Poker Tour. Region-specific tours in Italy, the UK and Ireland, and Australia and New Zealand are also sponsored by PokerStars.

Buy-ins for the main events range from €3,000 to €10,000. The number of players varies by location and has been rising steadily every year. Well-established tournaments like the Barcelona Open and the Sanremo event tend to have more players and larger prize pools. Players over the age of 18 are welcome to participate (although in Tallinn, the minimum age is 21). EPT tournament players must sign a waiver form. The EPT recommends that participants try to win their spot through satellite qualifiers on the site. Players can also buy their seats directly through the website, with prices varying per event.

History of the European Poker Tour

Unlike many other large-scale poker tournaments, the European Poker Tour was started by a former professional poker player. John Duthie, a former Poker Million tournament winner, wanted to give more people access to the game. With Texas Hold’em at an all-time high in popularity, he decided to create a new poker tour. The World Poker Tour and World Series of Poker both catered to professional players. However, the WSOP was held entirely in the United States, and the WPT, despite having locations worldwide, was still dominated by American tournaments. Thus, the European Poker Tour was born, offering high-stakes tournaments in European locations.

As the EPT grew, the number of locales increased from seven to thirteen. The EPT initially drew more players by starting with considerably smaller buy-ins for most events. This strategy was successful, and many part-time poker players launched full-time professional careers after participating in EPT events.

The first seasons of the EPT

Season 1 of the European Poker Tour aimed to set itself apart by drawing new players with lower buy-ins and seven European locations. European players dominated this first season, with England having more than twice the seats at the final tables as any other country. Original locations included Barcelona, London, Dublin, Copenhagen, Deauville, Vienna, and Monte Carlo.

Season 2 saw the addition of Baden and the removal of Vienna, making it similar in size to the inaugural season. Scandinavians dominated this season, taking first place in four of the seven events.

Season 3 added Dortmund (replacing Deauville) and Warsaw. By this time, the buy-ins were comparable to those of other large-scale poker competitions. Scandinavians won four of the eight events, with Brits claiming two.

Season 4 introduced Prague and Sanremo and included the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure for three seasons. Americans dominated this season, winning three events, followed by the French with two.

Season 5 saw the removal of Baden and Dublin and the addition of Budapest for one season. Germany performed well, winning three events. Players from the Netherlands, Pieter de Korver and Constant Rijkenberg, won two events during this season.

Season 6 added Berlin, Snowfest, and Vilamoura as permanent fixtures, while Kiev was added for a single season. Americans won four events, with the British players winning two.

Season 7 introduced Tallinn and removed Budapest. This season featured an expanded schedule with more events. British players had a strong showing, winning three events, while Americans and Italians each claimed two titles.

Season 8 saw the addition of Loutraki in Greece and Madrid, marking a return to Spain outside of Barcelona. The season was dominated by players from the United States and Germany, each winning three events. Notably, this season also included the first event held in the Bahamas under the EPT banner.

Season 9 introduced Campione in Italy and included a return to Deauville. The format was revamped, and the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo became a highlight. This season was notable for the rise of young talents, with several first-time winners from various countries, including Russia and Canada.

Season 10 expanded further with events in London and Vienna making a comeback. The season saw a mix of seasoned pros and new players winning events, with Sweden emerging as a dominant force, winning four events. The season also marked the beginning of a partnership with the European Poker Championship (EPC) for select events.

Season 11 added Malta and removed Sanremo. This season was marked by high-stakes action and significant prize pools, attracting top-tier professional players from around the world. The UK and Germany were particularly successful, with each country winning multiple events.

Season 12 introduced new stops in Dublin and Marbella, expanding the tour’s reach. This season saw a more global field of competitors, with winners from countries as diverse as Brazil, China, and Australia. The season was also noted for its increased focus on player experience and hospitality.

Season 13 brought back some classic locations and introduced Sochi in Russia. The season saw the rise of new poker stars and was marked by intense competition and larger fields. Players from the United States, France, and Italy were particularly successful, each claiming multiple titles.

EPT finals

The Grand Final of the European Poker Tour is one of the most anticipated events of the year. It is on par with the WSOP Main Event and the World Poker Tour Championships. For the first six seasons, all EPT Grand Finals took place in Monte Carlo, Monaco. In Season 7, the Grand Final moved to Madrid, Spain.

During Season 1, Dutchman Rob Hollink took the first place prize of €635,000. American Brandon Schaefer came in second. In Season 2, American Jeff Williams, who qualified through PokerStars at 19, won the €900,000 first place, beating Arshad Hussain. Season 3 saw American Gavin Griffin win the €1,850,010 prize, beating Canadian Marc Karam.

In Season 4, Canadian Glen Chorny won the €2,020,000 prize, taking the title from Hungarian Denes Kalo. Dutchman Pieter de Korver won the €2.3 million first place prize in Season 5, beating American Matthew Woodward. In Season 6, Lebanese Nicolas Chouity eliminated six of his seven final table opponents, winning the €1.7 million first place prize.

The Grand Final moved to Madrid, Spain, in Season 7, bringing new excitement to the event. Swedish player Viktor Blom, better known as “Isildur1,” took home the €1.5 million prize. Season 8 saw the Grand Final return to Monte Carlo, where Russian player Mikhail Golyak won the top prize of €1.7 million, defeating a field of top professionals. In Season 9, the trend of thrilling finales continued with Canadian player Steve O’Dwyer winning €1.2 million. The Grand Final took place in Monte Carlo, further cementing its status as a premier poker destination.

Italian player Antonio Buonanno claimed the €1.24 million prize in Season 10, notable for the intense heads-up battle against Britain’s Jack Salter. Remaining in Monte Carlo, Season 11 saw Spanish player Adrian Mateos emerge victorious, winning €1.08 million. The win solidified his reputation as one of poker’s brightest young talents. In Season 12, Jan Bendik from Slovakia took the title and the €961,800 prize, showcasing the truly international nature of the EPT.

Season 13 marked another exciting Grand Final in Monte Carlo, where American player Elton Tsang triumphed, winning €1.2 million. Tsang’s victory was notable for his consistent and aggressive play throughout the final table, underscoring the high level of competition at the EPT Grand Final.