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The European Poker Tour is rarely without a surprise or two. From one year to the next, the new schedule almost always contains some sort of happy revelation. This year, the entire schedule is a surprise, and it’s spectacular by just about any definition.

We have just seen a document that contains some of the most interesting and we dare say awesome possibilities for any poker tour anywhere. The sad part? We can’t tell you about the whole thing yet. Sorry, but what with confidentiality agreements being what they are and all, we’re sort of stuck.

We hate to tease, however, and, as it happens, PokerStars has decided to release the first half of the schedule. Good thing, too, because we probably couldn’t have kept the first stop secret for very long.

For the first time ever, The European Poker Tour is going to Russia.

We’ve just learned the EPT will host its first stop in Moscow, Russia August 17-23. The $6,900 tournament (that’s 212,000 rubles to be you and me) will be the first time the EPT has crossed into Russia and is sure to be an historic event. If you’re as excited as we are, then you’ll likely be interested to know satellites start later today (Monday) on PokerStars. Check them out under the EVENTS/EPT tabs.

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Season 5 Grand Final winner: Pieter de Korver

This will be the first time in the EPT’s history that it is not kicking off its season in Barcelona. Though we can’t confirm this with our sources, we’re guessing the early move to Moscow has something to do with that whole “not fighting a winter war in Russia” thing. Fear not, however, as the EPT is picking right back up in Barcelona September 4-7 with a €8,000+300 ($11,590) tournament.

That brings us to the next big surprise. Once again, for the first time ever, EPT London will be moving away from the Vic. Due in large part to the ever-growing crowds at the London event, the EPT is moving the event down the street to the Hilton Metropole, a place that can easily hold 1,000 players. Early word is that this year’s EPT London is going to be a pretty significant festival. Stay tuned for more details on the October 1-7 tournament(s).

After that, it’s back to Warsaw Poland for the October 20-25 event. That event contains no real surprises, but you only have to wait until the next month before getting a brand new EPT tournament.

For the first time in its history, the European Poker Tour is going to Portugal. Players will be sitting down at Casino Vilamoura November 17-22 for a €5,000+300 ($7,400 USD) tournament.

The next two tournaments will be a comfort to those of you looking for some constancy in life. EPT Season 6 is headed back to Prague December 1-6 and then, thank all that’s holy, to the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure right after the first of the year for what we’re promised will be a huge festival of poker.

Last year’s PokerStars EPT season proved a massive success and overtook the World Poker Tour in both number of players and total prize pools. EPT Season 5 generated a total prize pool of nearly €55 million (approximately $77 million) with 7,980 players from 97 countries.The four richest prize pools available in poker tournaments outside the United States last year occurred during EPT5, at: the PCA ($12.7 million); Monte Carlo ($12.3 milliion); San Remo ($7.5 million); and Barcelona ($7 million).

Now it’s time to move onto Season 6 and EPT creator John Duthie couldn’t be more pleased with how things are looking so far.

“We have set very high standards and we aim to improve on this still further in Season 6 – with new additions to the schedule as well as a richer mix of games and buy-ins to cater for more players,” he said.

Be sure to stay tuned for the second half of the schedule. If even half of what we’ve seen holds true, Season 6 could change the way we look at the EPT.

In the meantime, we’ll leave you with this…you ain’t seen nothing yet.

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