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Lördag 21 November, Edward Walters

Poker Tourrnament2The European Poker Tour, commonly referred to as the EPT, started back in 2004 to parallel the WPT (World Poker Tour) and to allow more people throughout the world to experience more televised poker. The EPT grows every year in player numbers and buy-ins. Now in its fifth season, it has become an equivalent rival of the WPT.

The EPT feeds the worldwide fixation on Texas Hold ‘em and has played a major role in the branding of PokerStars, which sponsors the European Poker Tour. John Duthie, popular and renowned British TV director and high-stakes poker pro, founded the EPT. Duthie, also an EPT commentator, is the UK’s equivalent to Chris Moneymaker in the US. In 2000 Duthie won the Poker Millions tournament live on television, creating a mainstream place for poker in the UK.

Despite its name, the European Poker Tour is full of poker stars from all over the world, even the US. In the third season of the EPT, Phil Ivey won 2nd place in the Barcelona Open, but for the most part, EPT players are generally non-US and are not really that well-known in the poker community. Once these player end up at a televised table, though, broadcasted to 40+ countries, they become somebodies in the who’s who of poker. Video blogs and videos of past tournaments and interviews with the players can all be viewed at

The biggest promotional feature of the EPT is the satellite tournaments available on PokerStars that only cost players a few dollars to buy into. PokerStars provides qualifying winners with tournament buy-in fees and travel expenses. Each year more and more players enter into the EPT via PokerStars. These satellites sent 1600 qualifying players to live EPT events in Season 4. The tournament is even more popular because it allows players age 18 and up to play, increasing the amount of potential players who can play in the EPT. Young US players often end up on the EPT circuit because they cannot play until they turn 21 in the US. Mike McDonald, the 2008 EPT winner, was the youngest player to win the EPT at only 18 years old and after only playing poker for six short months.

The 5th season began in September 2008 in Barcelona, Spain and will conclude at the Monte Carlo Casino, located in Monaco, in late April of 2009. This season will see a lot more poker players, as nine events are scheduled. All nine events are Texas Hold ‘em freezeout-style tournaments. Stops on the EPT Season 5 include Warsaw, Poland; Prague, Czech Republick, Copenhagen, Denmark; Deauville, France, Dortmund, Germany; and San Remo, Italy.