EPT Season Five Preview
The fifth season of the European Poker Tour is just around the corner; the Barcelona Open kicks things off with a €8,000+€250 buy-in on September 10th. While U.S.-based tournament franchises like the World Poker Tour and the World Series of Poker Circuit Events appear to be past their prime, the EPT's best days may still lie ahead.
Just like Season Four, this season will feature 11 events hosted in 11 different countries. Ireland and Austria each lost their host tournament this year but were replaced by an event in Budapest, Hungary and Deauville, France, the latter of which played host to a tournament in the first two seasons before officials removed the venue due to legal concerns in the French gaming market.
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The events in Barcelona, London, Copenhagen, and the "Grand Final" held in Monte Carlo have been on the schedule during all five years. Looking at the field size from year to year in these four static venues serves as a clear indicator of the EPT's growth trend. Each tournament at each of those venues has attracted a larger field size than the previous year's event with just a single exception: last year's London event drew just six fewer players than the Season Three running.
Nowhere can one find more evidence of the EPT's rising popularity than by looking at attendance in the Grand Final tournament. Despite having a buy-in of €10,000, last year's field size (846) was more than four times as large as Season One's field of 211 participants. Another startling statistic of how much this series of poker tournaments has captivated Europe is the sum of each season's prize pools. The seven events during Season One generated a combined prize pool of €4,780,972. Last year's Grand Final alone had a prize pool nearly twice that large; the eleven events in Season Four combined to redistribute €38,248,788 throughout the poker world.
After the Barcelona Open, EPT London begins on October 1st just one mile away from where the WSOP Europe final table will be concluding. Last year's EPT London tournament started a full two weeks after WSOP Europe. This scheduling decision by EPT officials was less than optimal. Undoubtedly many foreigners who participated in WSOP Europe didn't want to hang around England for a full two weeks to play the EPT event. This year's event should easily surpass the field size of 392 from last year.
Although one needn't be well-versed in geography to know that the Bahamas are not part of Europe, the Caribbean vacation destination returns for its second year as host of an EPT event, the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. This event was by far the most popular stop on the Season Four schedule; 1,136 players started off their New Year in style by spending time on the beach after busting out of the $8,000 buy-in event. Frenchman Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier might have returned home pale after that trip, but he did so $2,000,000 wealthier. There will most certainly be another massive turnout at this year's Bahamian event which starts January 5th.
A tightly packed schedule includes four events between the Bahamian event and the April 28th Grand Final in Monte Carlo. Season Five of the EPT is excepted to be the largest yet. Track the results all year long in our Poker News section to see which players emerge victorious. Noah Boeken, Ram Vaswani, Jeff "yellowsub" Williams, Patrik Antonius, Roland de Wolfe, and Mike "timex" McDonald were all relatively little-known prior to capturing wins on the European Poker Tour.