And so, Barcelona.
This year the EPT tried to fool its regular followers by changing the habit of a lifetime. Season six began in mid-August and we were in Kyiv, Ukraine. It took everyone a while to grow accustomed to the new environment, but soon enough a poker tournament broke out and the new era of the European Poker Tour was underway.
And then today, as if by way of celebration, we are returning to our roots; going back to the place it all started. As WCOOP fever breaks out across PokerStars Blog and the online poker world, we are staking a claim for the old school. We are back in the Gran Casino, Barcelona, beside a smudge of sand and an ocean of blue. Six years ago, the EPT was born in this very casino, and it has been our starting stop ever since.
So here we are back again. This is the European Poker Tour as we have always known it: beachside poker in Spain and it feels as though we have never been away. The tournament begins momentarily, with an expected 700 runners parting with €8,000 this year for their seat at the party. That will make a prize pool in excess of €5m, and that will be another record for poker in this part of the world.
Last night, players, friends, officials and staff gathered in traditional fashion for a welcome party in Shoko nightclub beside the sea.
We also celebrated another record: at a prize-giving ceremony under the auspices of the Guinness Book of World Records, Bertrand “ElkY Grospellier collected his certificate for setting the benchmark for online poker play.
That, though, was then. And this is now. We’re waiting for the final announcement to shuffle up an do that thing when a cast of characters including Team PokerStars Pros Jason Mercier, Marcin Horecki, Katja Thater, Johnny Lodden and the November Nine’s Joe Cada. Also here are Freddy Deeb, Roland de Wolfe, Carlos Mortensen, Arnaud Mattern and Dragan Galic. From the moment the cards are airbourne until the final table next Wednesday, you’ll find all the action right here.