As the European Poker Tour gears up for the start of its tenth season in Barcelona next week, EPT President Edgar Stuchly revealed today that the EPT is on the brink of a major milestone having paid out almost half a billion euros - €499,908,225 - in tournament prizes to players in just nine years.
The world's richest poker tour began in 2004 with a 229-player event in Casino de Barcelona, which was won by Swedish player Alex Stevic for a first prize of €80,000. Since that first event, the EPT has visited 16 countries and hosted 1,095 events; it has also been played by 111,389 players from 100 countries around the world, proving that the European Poker Tour has truly international appeal. To find out more about the growth of the EPT, watch this:
The EPT - a history of innovation
The key to the EPT's success has been its focus on innovation, providing players with world-class poker action and giving them an amazing experience. Over the years, the EPT has evolved with its players, adding popular stops such as the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA), beautiful Prague in the Czech Republic and the seaside resort of Sanremo in Italy. A host of new game variants have been added ranging from Pot Limit Omaha and turbo events to Open-Face Chinese and Win the Button. Super High Roller events are now a regular fixture at several stops including the PCA, Barcelona, London and the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino EPT Grand Final. More recently, partnerships with regional poker tours such as the Estrellas Poker Tour in Spain and the UK & Ireland Poker Tour have turned the EPT events into true poker 'festivals', offering players a far greater variety of game types and buy-in levels.
Player experience is a fundamental part of the EPT's vision, and the EPT Concierge, the five-star bespoke player service which launched at the start of Season 9, helps players and their guests get the very best from their EPT experience, whether it be hotel bookings or table reservations at the hottest clubs in town.
Season 10 innovations
As the world's richest poker tour heads into its tenth season, the innovations continue. Starting with the online qualifiers, the range and availability of online satellites is increasing, with over 20 direct qualifier EPT satellites running every week. These include new formats and a wide range of buy-ins & package types. In addition there are increased guarantees on satellites running on the last Sunday of the qualification period for each event, with ten seats guaranteed to most events.
For all events, late registration is being extended. For the Main Events, High Roller and Super High Roller tournaments, players will be able to register as late as the start of Day 2, while for all other side events registration won't close until the start of Level 5. In addition, the EPT will now be guaranteeing that every EPT Main Event Day 1a during Season 10 will be played nine-handed, meaning a much more comfortable playing experience for those wishing to get their action in early.
In addition to free Wi-Fi in the tournament area (which was added in Season 9), the EPT will now provide players with free Duracell Powermat wireless charging at the tables, and players will also be able to borrow iPads for free while they are in the tournament area.
Plus, as the EPT experience isn't all about the poker, there will be special free player activities at all stops during Season 10, starting with yacht party trips in Barcelona giving players the opportunity to swim and snorkel in the open water, or simply relax and catch some rays on the deck.
The ground-breaking EPTLive webcast will be capturing all the action from EPT Barcelona, starting with the €50K Super High Roller event on Friday August 30, and finishing with the €5,300 Main Event on Saturday September 7 - a total of nine days of completely live poker action. The webcast will be streamed to viewers in over 50 countries in 13 languages, including Mandarin Chinese. Along with the live coverage from the tables, pro interviews and player competitions, there will be increased functionality within the media player for Season 10 including Facebook and Twitter share buttons, plus auto-replay and rewind buttons so you don't miss a thing.