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European Poker Tour

By Paul McGuire

The European Poker Tour is a series of poker tournaments held in the most elegant casinos in Europe. The EPT concluded its inaugural season in March of 2005. Without a doubt, the EPT was a huge success. The EPT is the brain child of John Duthie, an acclaimed producer and director of British TV and cinema, in addition to being a skilled poker player. He is the first person to win over $1 million in a televised event. He teamed up with Thomas Kremser the CEO of the International Poker Federation. He is also the tournament director of the popular series Late Night Poker and was the right choice to direct the EPT. The combination of Duthie and Kremser is a good recipe for success. The EPT is sponsored by the online poker site Poker Stars. They offer players plenty of opportunities to win seats in satellites to the main events for as little as $3.
The first season of the EPT consisted of nine ninety-minute programs airing tournaments from all over Europe including stops in Spain, England, Ireland, Denmark, France, and Austria. The Grand Final Event took place in Monaco. That’s where 211 of the world’s top players competed in the largest poker tournament ever in Europe with a 10,000 Euro buy in and a prize pool of over 2 million Euros.
The European Poker Tour kicked off their season in September 2004 with the Barcelona Open at the Casino Barcelona in lovely Spain. Alexander Stevic from Sweden won the first ever EPT event and 80,000 Euros in prize money after he beat out 229 other players.
The European Poker Classic was the second event on the EPT and it took place at the historic Grosvenor Victoria Casino in London, England. John Shipley won over 200,000 British Pounds in his first EPT victory. The final table also included Europe's top player, Marcel Luske.
The Merrion Square Club in Dublin, Ireland hosted the next stop on the European Poker Tour. The Irish Winter Tournament consisted of 163 players. Ram Vaswami from England and Hendon Mob fame won first place and 93,000 Euros.
In January 2005, the action continued at the Casino Copenhagen in Demark with the Scandinavian Open. Noah Boeken from Amsterdam won over 1 million Danish Kroners. Boeken edged out Ram Vaswami, who almost won his second EPT event in a heads up match that nearly lasted all night long.
American Brandon Schaefer won the WPT French Open in Deauville, France at the beautiful Casino Barriere. In the fifth event on the European Poker Tour, the young business student took home over 144,000 Euros. Schaefer beat out 245 players including his best friend from Seattle. Fellow American Carol Olson qualified on the last possible day and ended up heads up with his friend.
The Concord Card Casino in Austria hosted the Vienna Spring Poker Festival. Frenchman Pascal Perrault outlasted 297 players and won over 184,000 Euros after he came from behind to beat Andreas Harnemo from Sweden.
The EPT Grand Final Event occurred at the celebrated Casino de Monte Carlo in Monaco. Dutch poker pro Rob Hollnik won the largest first place prize on the EPT with 650,000 Euros. Brandon Schaefer fell short of his quest to be the first repeat champion on the EPT and finished in second place.

John Duthie’s vision of creating a European Poker Tour worked out. He is already planning the next season, which should be more popular than the first season. Check your local listings to find out when the EPT airs on television. You do not want to miss out on watching some of the best players in the world play in casinos the most beautiful cities all over Europe. Visit the EPT main site and make sure you read the EPT blog, which contains excellent write ups and pictures from several events on the tour.

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