THE HISTORY OF THE EPT
Season 10 builds on the success of a decade of world-class live poker events. The schedule again takes in the best destinations around the continent, and features two exciting adjustments. The London stop moves back to an Autumn/Fall spot, while Sanremo returns to a slot in the Spring, right before the Grand Final in nearby Monaco. Each of the eight events will deliver a true poker festival to the respective locations, with 40+ different poker tournaments and the high standards of production EPT players have come to expect. From Barcelona to Monaco, and all points in between, EPT 10 will be massive.
Season 9 saw the world’s best poker tour focus on bigger festivals and more events. There were eight stops including the 2013 PCA, and every stop featured more poker, more variety and more buy-in levels. All of the events took place at premium destinations and Season 9 kicked off in style with a massive event in Barcelona that attracted more than 1,000 players to the Main Event, before moving on to Sanremo, Prague, Deauville, London, Berlin and the Grand Final in Monaco in May 2013. Each stop was unforgettable, and provided the highest level of experience for all players.
Season 8 was the last of the EPT ‘mega-schedules’ with 13 events on the roster, including a first visit to Greece with EPT Loutraki. The season began with a trio of German speakers snatching Main Event victories - Ronny Kaiser (Tallinn), Martin Schleich (Barcelona) and Benny Spindler (London) - while Danes managed three-in-a-row towards the season’s end, thanks to Mickey Petersen (Copenhagen), Fred Jensen (Madrid) and Jannick Wrang (Campione). Czech pro Ondrej Vinklarek was Player of the Year.
Season 7 also featured 13 events with the Estonian capital of Tallinn replacing Kyiv on the schedule. Season highlights included British pro Toby Lewis taking down EPT Vilamoura, Scottish student David Vamplew winning EPT London, Team PokerStars Pro Nacho Barbero winning the EPT London High Roller and Robert Romanello sobbing with happiness for a full 20 minutes after winning EPT Prague. Eugene Katchalov also gained worldwide attention when he won the PCA High Roller for $1.5 million. For the first (and only time), the EPT left Monaco for the Grand Final and headed to Madrid, where ElkY took down the High Roller for €525,000. Portugal’s Fernando Brito was Player of the Year.
Season 6 saw another four events added to the schedule, with the season kicking off in August for the first time. The new destinations were the Ukraine capital of Kyiv, Vilamoura in Portugal, Berlin in Germany and the EPT’s first ever Snowfest event, held in the beautiful Austrian ski resort of Saalbach-Hinterglemm. Yet again, more stars were “discovered” or built their reputations with EPT victories, among them Max Lykov (Kyiv), Jake Cody (Deauville), Anton Wigg (Copenhagen) and Kevin MacPhee (Berlin). Liv Boeree became the third female Main Event winner in history when she beat a record-breaking field of 1,240 players at EPT Sanremo for a €1,250,000 payday. More than 9,000 players competed overall that festival, creating a total prize pool of more than €56 million. It was also the first year of the EPT Awards with Kyiv champion Max Lykov winning Player of the Year.
Season 5 welcomed an additional 2,000 players on Season 4, while the Hungarian capital of Budapest replacing Baden on the schedule. The total prize pool was up to €55 million and the number of nationalities had soared to 97 - players really were coming from all over the planet to attend EPTs, with thousands winning their seats online on PokerStars. Highlights included Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier winning the PCA High Roller (only a year after winning the PCA Main Event) and Jason Mercier winning the EPT London High Roller (only six months after winning EPT4 Sanremo). Canadian Poorya Nazari became the tour’s biggest ever winner when he took down the PCA Main Event for $3 million, and Sandra Naujoks became the tour’s second female winner when she won EPT Dortmund for €917,000.
Season 4 was when the EPT schedule truly exploded with another three events added, bringing the total to 11. The three-year-old PokerStars Caribbean Aventure, held annually in Janary in the Bahamas, became an EPT stop for the first time, and the tour also added Sanremo in Italy and the Czech capital of Prague – both stops have stayed on the calendar ever since. The season’s total prize pool doubled yet again, with nearly €40 million awarded in Main Event prize money. Numerous stars, including Sander Lyllof - the first “millionaire” of S4 at EPT Barcelona, Julian Thew (Baden), Arnaud Mattern (Prague), Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier (PCA), Mike McDonald (Dortmund, the tour’s youngest winner at 18 years old) and American online pro Jason Mercier - made Season 4 memorable. No one knew it at the time, but Mercier’s €869,000 victory in Sanremo was the start of a phenomenal live career which has now seen him accrue more than $10 million in live tournament winnings.
Season 3 was double-up time again for both players and prize money in EPT Season 3, as well as an expanded schedule. No more Deauville (for a while) but Warsaw and Dortmund were added to the roster, making eight events in all and attracting nearly 3,500 players. The total prize pool for the season was close to €20 million. Season 3 highlights included the first female EPT champion (Vicky Coren taking down EPT London for £500,000) and the first million-Euro winner (Gavin Griffin at the Grand Final for a monster €1.8 million payday). Season 3 was also the first to feature the celebrated EPTLive webcast, whose maiden broadcast came live from EPT Dortmund in Germany.
Season 2 took the EPT to a whole new level. Despite increased buy-ins (now up to €4,000), the tour attracted an additional 500 players for Main Events which nearly doubled the season’s total prize pool to €10 million. Every event had bigger fields, way bigger first prizes and soaring prize pools - five prize pools topped €1 million and the Grand Final Main Event prize pool came close to €3 million. EPT Baden replaced Vienna on the schedule and EPT Deauville became Europe’s biggest ever live poker tournament with 433 players competing in the beautiful Casino Barriere. Swedish student Mats Iremark took that one down for €480,000, and another student, American Jeff Williams, won the season Grand Final two months later. Only 19 at the time, Williams took €900,000 back home to Georgia after defeating a field of 298 players.
Season 1 the first ever EPT took place in Casino de Barcelona in September 2004 when 229 players competed for a first prize of €80,000. Swedish player Alex Stevic took down the Main Event after a four hour plus heads-up battle against Irishman, Dave O’Callaghan - still one of the longest heads-up duels in EPT history. All seven events of the first season were televised, with the tour visiting London, Dublin, Copenhagen, Deauville and Vienna before culminating with a spectacular Grand Final event in Monte Carlo. Rob Hollink was the first EPT Grand Final champion, defeating a 211-strong field for a €635,000 first prize. Aside from one visit to Madrid, Monaco has been the EPT Grand Final’s home ever since. 1,468 players competed in the first season’s Main Events, creating a total prize pool of close to €5 million.