European Poker Tour Set to Kick Off Season Seven
The long, lingering high from the World Series of Poker has finally begun to dissipate, and the game is returning to its more regionalized late summer routine. The Latin American Poker Tour is in the midst of its third season sponsored by PokerStars, and the event running in Florianopolis, Brazil is just the first of the major tournaments on the worldwide schedule for the last half of 2010.
Europe is gearing up for Season 7 of its own tournament series, one that has arguably become the most successful and richest after the WSOP. The European Poker Tour opening event is less than a week away, and the circuit begins in a new destination this fall: Tallinn, Estonia. The limestone cliffs and seaside shops are poised to welcome the tour and its followers to the shores of the Gulf of Finland, and this northern city is, by all accounts, a pleasant and picturesque place to spend a poker vacation.
This year's EPT boasts 13 stops (the same as Season 6), but there are a few tweaks in store. Stricken from the schedule is Kyiv, a generally unpopular stop among the players and media last year, as the last-minute replacement for the Moscow event-that-never-was. Kyiv's omission made space on the playbill for a new opening act, and Tallinn should fit the part rather nicely.
The stop in Vilamoura, Portugal, has been dragged from its mid-November doldrums to a much more tourist-friendly date in late August as the second stop on the circuit. That should go a long way toward increasing the field size and the amount of entertainment and recreation options available to the players. Vilamoura's move means that Barcelona has had to swap into that vacant November spot, the two tournaments essentially trading places this year. The buy-in for the Barcelona stop has also been lowered from €8,000 to €5,000.
After Tallinn and Vilamoura comes London in late September, and then another schedule change. Warsaw — traditionally the smallest, grayest, and most depressing event on the schedule ― is the second city conspicuously absent from this year's docket. It has been replaced by a trip to lovely Vienna for the first time since the first season. That gives Austria bragging rights as the only country spacious enough to host two EPT events. The smash hit from last year, Snowfest will be back in Saalbach-Hinterglemm for a second go-round come March.
After Vienna, Barcelona and Prague close out 2010 just as they did 2009, and everyone gets to head to the Bahamas for the fourth iteration of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) to mark the midway point of the season and to warm up a tad.
From there, it's back to Europe for winter stops in sleepy Deauville and snowy Copenhagen before returning to Austria for Snowfest and then north to Berlin. Those latter two events have been flip-flopped from last year's rotation, and they lead right into the familiar San Remo/Grand Final back-to-back that closes out an EPT season. Ah, but it's not so familiar this time around.
Monte Carlo has been the host of the €10,000 Grand Final since the inaugural season, but last year's closing event appears to have closed the door for good in Monaco. The Grand Final of the EPT will be relocated this year to a yet-undetermined location. We've heard rumors about Cannes, Rome, and even Iceland, but for right now, it's the only "TBC" left on the schedule.
Over the course of its six seasons, the EPT has welcomed players to the felt from nearly 100 countries and awarded more than €180 million in payouts. It has seen strong and consistent growth yearly, and our Live Reporting Team will be on hand for each of the 13 events this season. You can follow along with them (as well as catch up on your EPT history) on our EPT Live Reporting page. If you'd rather be there in person, there's still plenty of time and plenty of ways to qualify for a seat!