There is no doubt TV has greatly influenced the popularity of poker and the European Poker Tour confirms that fact. Since it began back in 2004, it has steadily encouraged greater numbers and season 6 had an astonishing response with the biggest fields ever. Over 800 people took part in the grand final and the Italian leg of the tour in San Remo attracted over 1200 people, with the whole season generating a staggering 56 million euros.
It was the mass interest in Texas Hold’em which prompted John Duthrie to launch the EPT in association with Pokerstars.com – itself the largest poker site with in excess of 35 million members across the globe. Indeed many of those members qualify for the tour via the site playing stipulated games. It has grown into the richest touring tournament throughout Europe and with series 7 about to commence in August, it is expected that last season’s figures will be bettered even further.
There was a huge shock towards the end of the last tour in the German capital Berlin, when masked raiders forced their way past security and made away with an estimated 240 thousand euros. With it being known that each player starts with 30,000 chips maybe its not such a surprise that such a raid should happen, although it is certainly a daring theft to undertake it on live TV!
This season kicks off in the Swissotel of the Estonian capital Tallinn, making its debut on the tour. The tour will continue through some of the great cities of Europe – many capitals – over the following months. There are 13 scheduled events taking in regular spots such as London, Barcelona and Copenhagen all of which have hosted events in all 6 previous seasons. For London the venue will be the Hilton Metropole hotel, Barcelona will be in the Arts hotel and EPT will sample the casino Copenhagen.
Further venues will be Grand Hyatt hotel in Berlin; Hilton hotel Prague, the casino Vilamoura on the Algarve and the Alpine Palace Casino at the New Balance Luxus Resort at Saalbach-Hinterglemm in Austria for what is being called the EPT snowfest. The French seaside resort of Deauville will also play host during the tour, although the venue is still to be confirmed.
EPTThe real glamour venue however is the Caribbean Adventure, which last year was the richest tournament ever outside of Las Vegas, with a prize pool of nearly $15 million. It is a long way from Europe but I can’t imagine many people were complaining on previous tours in venue’s such as a cruise ship and the Bahamas. This season will again visit the exotic paradise island in Bahamas in the popular Atlantis resort.
In past seasons the EPT has toured many other well known cities to involve citizens from all across the continent. The German city of Dortmund, and capitals Kiev in Ukraine, Warsaw in Poland, Budapest in Hungary and Vienna in Austria. Another Austrian city Baden has also played host in season 2.