The European Poker Tour (EPT) is comfortably the most watched and most played poker circuit in western Europe. Established in 2004 around the time of the so-called ‘poker boom’, the EPT has stood the test of time in the last couple of decades, continuing to attract the world’s best poker professionals and plenty of wheel-heeled amateurs for good measure.
Thinking back to the inaugural EPT event, staged in Barcelona, this was won by a man named Alexander Stevic for an €80,000 first prize. Looking at the prize pools played for on the EPT circuit in the present day, this pay day looks like a rather paltry sum. In fact, this year’s “Super High Roller” events on the EPT circuit carry buy-ins that are bigger than Stevic’s first prize, weighing in at €100,000.
As a matter of fact, the EPT circuit is now comfortably one of the biggest tours in world poker, based on the volume of prize money, as well as the calibre and depth of games staged through each event. This includes some of the most competitive cash game tables operated during and in between the biggest multi-table tournaments. Despite its name, the EPT has a global following and is no longer considered a regionalised poker franchise.
The EPT events to watch this year
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The first leg of the 2023 EPT circuit has already been staged in the French capital of Paris for the first time. Romanian player Razvan Belea, who qualified for the EPT Paris Main Event via an online satellite, finished first out of the 1,606-strong field of players, bagging €1.17m in prize money. It was a big moment for Romanian poker, with Belea becoming the first player from this nation to take home an EPT Main Event title.
Belea’s success has already whetted the appetite for the next EPT Main Event in Monte Carlo. The EPT Monte-Carlo 2023 begins on April 26 and runs through to May 6. The Super High Roller event kicks us off, with a $100,000 buy-in attracting only the richest and most successful poker professionals from across the globe. Combine that with the lavish surroundings of Casino de Monte-Carlo and it’s easy to see why the EPT Monte-Carlo 2023 is likely to be a who’s who of poker personalities.
The Casino de Monte-Carlo is one of the most iconic gambling venues in the world. Famed in popular culture for its association with James Bond in movies such as GoldenEye and Never Say Never Again, it was also used as a filming location for the Hollywood hit Ocean’s Twelve in 2004.
After the EPT Monte-Carlo event, the EPT circuit moves on to the Catalan capital of Barcelona. The EPT Barcelona Main Event and all the other events as part of this leg are staged at Casino Barcelona, overlooking the city’s stunning marina. The 2022 EPT Barcelona Main Event produced the biggest Main Event in the history of the EPT, with the city’s poke scene rapidly becoming as notable as its successful football club. With live poker events seemingly experiencing something of a second renaissance right now, this is not a leg to be missed. It also happens to be staged in the heart of the Spanish summer, commencing from August 21 to September 3.
EPT 2023 brings poker to sunny Cyprus
The EPT also has a new leg for its 2023 circuit in the autumn, when the EPT ventures over to the Mediterranean island of Cyprus from October 11 to October 22. The Merit Royal Diamond Hotel Casino & Spa is the venue for the first EPT Cyprus Main Event, set on the northern tip of Cyprus in Kyrenia. It’s an exciting opportunity to put poker well and truly on the Cypriot map, with the Main Event kicking off from October 16 through to October 22.
This year’s EPT circuit concludes in the likely chilly Czech capital of Prague from December 6 to December 17. Set within the King’s Casino Prague as part of the Hilton Prague, the EPT Prague Main Event is one of the most eagerly anticipated tournaments of the EPT season, with in-form players looking to finish the calendar year in style.
Satellite events to qualify for the land-based EPT Main Events are available to players throughout the year looking to make their mark on the world’s biggest poker circuit.