The European Poker Tour (EPT) commenced in 2004 as an equal to the World Poker Tour (WPT). Its focus is on televised poker gaming for a global audience. The phenomenal growth of the EPT now includes greater player numbers and more buy-ins. The EPT reached its 5th season in 2008/9.
Texas Hold’em remains at the heart of the EPT, and this has allowed PokerStars to enjoy tremendous popularity around the world. The EPT is sponsored by PokerStars and was founded by John Duthie – a British television director and high-stakes poker pro.
Duthie has been labeled the equivalent of the USA’s Chris Moneymaker. Back in 2000, he won the Poker Millions tourney live on TV – thus giving rise to a thriving poker industry in the United Kingdom. The EPT is more than a European poker contest, as it features players from all over the world.
Competitors in the EPT include the USA’s Phil Ivey, but generally they’re non-US players participating. Whoever succeeds in the EPT becomes an instant hit via televised cables, video blogs and videos broadcast to 40+ countries. These are easily viewed at PokerStars.tv.
Players can quickly and easily buy into the satellite tournaments of the EPT on PokerStars. These only cost a few dollars and qualifying winners receive tourney buy-in fees and all travel expenses. PokerStars remains the main conduit for channeling increasing numbers of players into the EPT.
In Season 4 of the EPT, PokerStars satellites sent 1,600 qualified players to live EPT events. Players above the age of 18 are allowed to play – thus raising the number of entrants substantially. This has allowed scores of under-21 USA players to enter the EPT. A case in point is Mike McDonald – the 2008 EPT champion – at the tender age of 18, with just 6 months of poker experience.
In September 2008 in Barcelona, the EPT began its 5th season. It concluded at the Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco, in late April ’09. 9 Scheduled events took place including freeze out-style tourneys. Stops along the way included: Warsaw, Prague, Copenhagen, Deauville, Dortmund and San Remo.