The European Poker Tour is now a major tournament in the poker calendar and first began in 2004 during the height of the Texas hold ‘em boom. The tournament has visited some of the most attractive European destinations such as London, Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, Monte Carlo and Vienna. It usually runs from August until April with the grand final being played in Monte Carlo, with last year’s winner, Nicolas Chouity gaining a €1.7 million prize fund.
So far the Americans and English have enjoyed the most success on the tournament with 11 and 10 wins respectively. The Monte Carlo events are renowned for being the most lucrative with four of the top five prizes of the tour being located in Monte Carlo.
The EPT has just commenced its 7th season with Kevin Stani and Toby Lewis notching up wins in the first two events that were based in Tallinn, Estonia and Vilamoura, Portugal.
Many famous names have taken part in the tournament, including the 2008 World Champion Peter Eastgate, 8 times WSOP Bracelet winner Phil Ivey and 3 times WPT champion Gus Hansen, with more looking to get involved as its’ reputation grows. Previous champions of EPT events include WSOP Bracelet winners Jason Mercier and Carter Phillips.
PokerStars are the latest sponsors of the tournament and qualification can be made through the PokerStars website online. Over 2,000 of the EPT’s players qualified through PokerStars based events last year. Kevin MacPhee won a record €1 million at the Berlin event, having qualified online.
The European Poker Tour is regularly televised and is broadcast world wide. Poker Stars also offers webcasts of previous and current seasons of the tour.
This tournament is just another example of how prolific online poker has become worldwide. When online gaming can introduce the game to the real life live tournaments and give everyone a chance at winning the big money, it really shows how far poker has come.
The European Poker Tour is also not without its controversy. On 6th March, 2010 the Berlin event witnessed an armed robbery that saw the thieves escape with over €200,000. The thieves were caught and sentenced to jail for three years.
This small incident hasn’t stopped the EPT from growing and the future looks bright as more and more talented players look to stamp their mark on the European circuit.