European Poker Tour

Poker tournaments, tours, and series have become increasingly popular. Television shows, online poker gaming, and grand poker events attracted poker players and spectators from all around the world. One of the regions where this poker boom took root is in Europe. When the European Poker Tour (EPT) was first created in 2004, it quickly became one of the most popular and prestigious poker tournament series in the world.

European Poker Tour background

The EPT is a series of poker tournaments that is aired on television and through the Internet. Throughout a normal EPT season, events are held in locations all around Europe. During Season 4, there were eleven tournaments held in places like San Remo, Italy, and Prague, which is in the Czech Republic. All of the EPT tournaments are based on the popular poker variant Texas Hold 'Em.

During the EPT's debut season in 2004, there were only seven EPT events. None of these tournaments had more than 300 players. The buy-ins for these tournaments would range between €1,000 and €10,000. Throughout the years, EPT organizers had to expand their operations to accommodate more players. As more players came in, they had to implement more tournaments and higher buy-ins, since it was difficult to find venues large enough to house all of the players. Buy-ins for most of the events during the fourth season were raised to €8,000 and, for the first time in EPT history, one of the events had over 1000 players.
Here are some more information on EPT statistics throughout the years:

* Season 1 (2004-2005) – 1,468 players in total with a prize pool amounting €4,780,972
* Season 2 (2005-2006) – 2,009 players in total with a prize pool amounting €9,824,000
* Season 3 (2006-2007) – 3,481 players in total (75 different nationalities) with a prize pool amounting €19,571,000  
* Season 4 (2007-2008) – 5,902 players in total (75 different nationalities) with a prize pool amounting €38,248,788
* Season 5 (2008-2009) – This season is still ongoing; from the two tournaments that have finished in London and Barcelona, there has been a total of 1,215 players and a total prize pool of €9,238,976.

Father of the European Poker Tour

John Duthie is often given credit for creating the European Poker Tour. Duthie was an English television director who first gained recognition in the poker world when he won the Poker Million 2000 tournament. Along with the prestige and recognition that Duthie won from the televised tournament, he also won £1,000,000. Duthie continued his career as a professional poker player; here is a list of some of his other accomplishments as a poker player:
* He placed second against Mike Sexton in the European Heads-Up Championship in 2003.
* He appeared three times on the television series Late Night Poker and on one ocassion, he was able to qualify for the Grand Final for season 6.
* In the 2005 World Series of Poker (WSOP), Duthie was able to reach the final table, playing in the $3,000 No Limit Hold'em event.

Duthie's experience as a television director and professional poker player aided him in fully realizing his idea for the EPT. Currently, John Duthie serves as CEO, Executive Producer, and commentator for the European Poker Tour.

European Poker Tour on television

The EPT is taped by Sunset + Vine. Sunset + Vine operates under its parent company, Tinopolis, for the sport division, and is an internationally acclaimed producer of sports and gaming television shows. Founded in 1983, Sunset + Vine has grown to be one of the best in the business, winning several awards from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). Aside from taping and producing for the Eurorpean Poker Tour, Sunset + Vine also produces the World Cup of Poker for Poker Stars.

European Poker Tour online

The title sponsor of the European Poker Tour is, which is one of the largest and most popular online poker sites. In fact, PokerStars was inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records in early 2008 for being the first and only poker website to have 150,000 players online at one time. To get an idea of how large and populated PokerStars is, here is a list of some of their statistics:
* Over 100,000 tournaments are run by PokerStars daily.
* To date, a total of over 90 million poker tournaments have been run by this site.
* Over 23 million hands are dealt per day.
* To date, a total of over 18 billion hands have been dealt.

Known for its innovation in the field of online poker gaming, PokerStars is responsible for setting a number of the industry standards. PokerStars offers a safe and secure structure for handling both player information and gaming. Players can expect to get world-class services and features from the PokerStars website. A testament to this fact is that PokerStars' homepage is offered in twenty different languages to cater to players from all around the globe.

Qualifying for the European Poker Tour

You can qualify for the European Poker Tour through the Internet, by playing in tournaments at PokerStars. Numerous PokerStars satellite tournaments are in place to allow professionals and amateurs to go head-to-head and compete for EPT seats. Some of these tournaments have buy-ins as small as $2.22. For those who are already players at PokerStars, there is a chance that you can qualify for a seat at the EPT for free with the use of your Frequent Player Points.

Another way to qualify for a seat at the EPT is to join an EPT Steps satellite tournament. These tournaments require a $7.50 buy-in or at least 500 Frequent Player Points at PokerStars. The EPT Steps features a single table, Sit & Go tournament structure. Players can buy-in and join any available table.  Finishing top two at these tables earns you a spot in the next step. The 1st and 2nd place winners of Step 6 will be rewarded with a prize package to season seven's EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo. The package amounts to over $9,000 and it includes the buy-in for your EPT seat, your accommodations, and $1,000 in pocket money.

The great thing about the EPT Steps structure is that it gives players second chances. Depending on your placing, you may be allowed to take another shot by going down a step and competing again. You can get more information on the EPT Steps and EPT qualification process by checking it out online.

More on the European Poker Tour

The EPT homepage offers a wealth of information for those who are looking to learn more about the popular tour. You can visit their site to check out videos, broadcast schedules, news, and tournament statistics. In fact, the EPT even offers a site to help fans, poker players, media, and other people find accommodations at some of the EPT destinations, like Prague, London, Budapest, and Mote Carlo. The EPT Hotels website allows you to check out some of the hotels that are affiliated with the PokerStars EPT.

The European Poker Tour has definitely built a solid reputation and a famous name for itself. With title sponsors as strong as PokerStars, one of the leaders in online poker, the EPT is set to continue its growth and popularity.