Looking Back at the European Poker Tour Part Two: Berlin Robbery, Black Friday and Mega-Schedule

European Poker Tour

After 13 seasons, the European Poker Tour will end its chapter in poker historywith the conclusion of EPT 13 Prague. The poker tour will be replaced by the recently established PokerStars Championship and PokerStars Festival events.

EPT Prague runs Dec. 8 through Dec. 19, 2016. As usual, the final EPT features many exciting events, highlighted by the €5,300 Main Event Dec. 13 through Dec. 19. EPT Prague runs side by side with the Eureka Poker Tour Prague, which is also the last in its history. Here's a look at the remaining major events on the schedule:

Dec. 9-13€1,100 Eureka Main Event
Dec. 11-13€50,000 Super High Roller
Dec. 12-13€2,200 Eureka High Roller
Dec. 13-19€5,300 EPT Main Event
Dec. 14€25,500 Single-Day High Roller
Dec. 17-19€10,300 High Roller

With EPT Prague coming to an end, there is no time better to look back on its 13 seasons. Part One of the retrospective focused on the early years in Seasons 1 through 5; Part Two will focus on the Berlin robbery, the effects of Black Friday and the "mega-schedule;" and Part Three will focus on the later years in Seasons 9-13 when the number of venues was reduced with each offering more events, along with some general stats about the venues and EPT winners.

Here is a look at Seasons 6-8:

Season 6 (2009-2010): Robbery in Berlin Overshadows Maxim Lykov Winning First EPT Player of the Year Title Ever

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Maxim Lykov

For the first time in EPT history, Barcelona was not the first stop. Instead, a new stop in Kiev kicked off Season 6 with Maxim Lykov shipping the event for €330,000 and becoming the first player from Russia to win an EPT Main Event. Thanks to a strong performance during the rest of the season's EPT events, Lykov was also awarded the first EPT Player of the Year title ever.

Season 6 grew from 11 to 13 stops. Off the schedule were Budapest and Dortmund, and in addition to Kiev, for the first time the EPT visited Vilamoura, Salzberg and Berlin.

It was at one of the new stops in Berlin that perhaps the biggest shock took place in EPT history when four masked robbers armed with guns and knives pulled a heist and caused a huge panic that was initially captured during the live webcast. Despite no major injuries being sustained, the robbers got away with €242,000. The robbers surrendered and were subsequently arrested shortly after the incident and sentenced to three years in prison.

Play went on in Berlin, and no one could have been happier than Kevin MacPhee who shipped his largest cash in his poker career when he won the top prize of €1,000,000 ($1,356,429).

Liv Boeree, who down the road was in a now-ended relationship with MacPhee, became the third woman to win an EPT Main Event title in Sanremo for €1,250,000. Nicolas Chouity claimed the biggest prize of the season by winning the EPT 5 Monte Carlo Grand Final for €1,700,000 ($2,263,166).

Meanwhile another field size record was set for an EPT event at the 2010 PCA Main Event, where Harrison Gimbel navigated through a huge field of 1,529 players to win $2,200,000

Others who scored big in EPT Main Events during Season 6 were Carter Phillips (Barcelona - €850,000/$1,216,023), Aaron Gustavson (London - £850,000/$1,353,158), Jake Cody (Deauville - €847,000/$1,213,194) and Anton Wigg (Copenhagen - DKr3,675,000/$672,818).

EPT Season 6 Main Event Winners

DateEventEntrantsMain Event WinnerCountryPrize
Aug. 18-23, 2009EPT Kiev296Maxim LykovRussia€330,000
Sept. 4-9, 2009EPT Barcelona479Carter PhillipsUnited States€850,000
Oct. 2-7, 2009EPT London730Aaron GustavsonUnited States£850,000
Oct. 20-25, 2009EPT Warsaw207Christophe BenzimraFrancezł1,493,170
Nov. 17-22, 2009EPT Vilamoura322António MatiasPortugal€404,793
Dec. 1-6, 2009EPT Prague506Jan SkampaCzech Republic€682,000
Jan. 5-11, 2010PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, Paradise Island1,529Harrison GimbelUnited States$2,200,000
Jan. 20-25, 2010France EPT Deauville768Jake CodyUnited Kingdom€847,000
Feb. 16-21, 2010EPT Copenhagen423Anton WiggSwedenDKr3,675,000
March 2–7, 2010EPT Berlin945Kevin MacPheeUnited States€1,000,000
March 21–26, 2010EPT Snowfest, Salzburg546Allan BækkeDenmark€445,000
April 15–21, 2010EPT Sanremo1,240Liv BoereeUnited Kingdom€1,250,000
April 25–30, 2010EPT Grand Final, Monte Carlo848Nicolas ChouityLebanon€1,700,000

Season 7 (2010-2011): EPT Grand Final Moves to Madrid for One Year

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Ivan Freitez

For the only time in EPT history, the EPT Grand Final was moved from Monte Carlo to Madrid. This event had another first. It was the first time a player from Venezuela, Ivan Freitez, won an EPT Main Event after claiming the top prize of €1,500,000 ($2,226,345), the biggest win of the season. Other than that, the schedule remained at 13 stops for the second straight year with the only change being Tallinn joining the fray. Kyev and Warsaw were never visited again by the EPT.

Galen Hall became the second American in a row to win the PCA Main Event, claiming the top prize of $2,200,000. The event set a new EPT Main Event attendance record with 1,560 players. It was also the last year that the PCA Main Event's top prize passed the $2 million barrier.

Unlike the prior season, there was no controversy in Berlin. Ben Wilinofsky won the EPT Main Event in the German capital for €825,000 ($1,174,143).

Days after EPT Berlin concluded, Black Friday rocked the poker world and shut down the tour's onlinne sponsor, PokerStars, where many players were qualifying into EPT events, including American residents.

While the impact of Black Friday on EPT Main Event attendance is unknown leading into Season 7, 11 of the 57 EPT champions were from the United States. At the time, this represented the most EPT winners from any country. The United Kingdom came in second place with nine EPT Main Event champions. Many Americans, however, still play in the EPT events with many qualifying online while living outside of the country.

Four British players shipped EPT Main Events in Season 7 including Toby Lewis (Vilamoura - €467,836/$594,568), David Vamplew (London - £900,000/$1,408,407), Roberto Romanello (Prague - €640,000/$846,180) and Rupert Elder (Sanremo - €930,000/$1,355,488).

EPT Season 7 Main Event Winners

DateEventEntrantsMain Event WinnerCountryPrize
Aug. 11-16, 2010EPT Tallinn420Kevin StaniNorway€400,000
Aug. 28 - Sept. 2, 2010EPT Vilamoura384Toby LewisUnited Kingdom€467,836
Sept. 29 - Oct. 4, 2010EPT London848David VamplewUnited Kingdom£900,000
Oct. 26 - 31, 2010EPT Vienna587Michael EilerGermany€700,000
Nov. 22-27, 2010EPT Barcelona758Kent LundmarkSweden€825,000
Dec. 13-18, 2010EPT Prague563Roberto RomanelloUnited Kingdom€640,000
Jan. 8-15, 2011PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, Paradise Island1,560Galen HallUnited States$2,300,000
Jan. 25-31, 2011EPT Deauville891Lucien CohenFrance€880,000
Feb. 21-26, 2011EPT Copenhagen449Michael TureniecSwedenDKr3,700,000
March 20-25, 2011EPT Snowfest, Salzburg482Vladimir GeshkenbeinRussia€390,000
April 5-10, 2011EPT Berlin773Ben WilinofskyCanada€825,000
April 27 - May 3, 2011EPT Sanremo987Rupert ElderUnited Kingdom€930,000
May 7-12, 2011EPT Grand Final, Madrid686Ivan FreitezVenezuela€1,500,000

Season 8 (2011-2012): Duthie Out, Stuchly In

Season 8 was known as the last of the "mega-schedules" or the last time 13 stops were part of the schedule. Future years did not exceed eight stops. Monte Carlo was moved back into its spot for the Grand Final after Madrid was relegated to a regular stop. Two new stops were introduced for the first time in Loutraki and Campione, while Vilamoura, Vienna and Salzburg were left off the season's schedule.

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John Duthie

There was a changing of the guard in the middle of the season. EPT founder John Duthie stepped down from his position as EPT CEO after his contract ran out with PokerStars (the company had previously acquired the poker festival). Duthie was replaced by Edgar Stuchly, who was appointed EPT President a few months earlier after spending four years as the Head of Poker for Casinos Austria.

Shortly after this announcement John Dibella became the third American to win the PCA Main Event in as many years for $1,775,000. This was not the top prize of the season with fellow American Mohsin Charania winning the EPT 8 Monte Carlo Grand Final for €1,350,000 ($1,782,343).

Heading into Season 8, four players from Denmark won EPT Main Event titles. Remarkably, this figure ballooned to seven after three Danish players, Mickey Petersen (Copenhagen - DKr2,515,000/$444,595), Frederik Jensen (Madrid - €495,000/$649,368) and Jannick Wrang (Campione - €640,000/$848,941) won back-to-back-to-back events. This also represented the only time in EPT history when players from the same country won EPT Main Events three times in a row.

EPT Season 8 Main Event Winners

DateEventEntrantsMain Event WinnerCountryPrize
Aug 2-7, 2011EPT Tallinn282Ronny KaiserSwitzerland€275,000
Aug. 27 - Sept. 1, 2011EPT Barcelona811Martin SchleichGermany€850,000
Sept. 20 - Oct. 6, 2011EPT London691Benny SpindlerGermany£750,000
Oct. 21-27, 2011EPT Sanremo837Andrey PateychukRussia€680,000
Nov. 15-20, 2011EPT Loutraki336Zimnan ZiyardUnited Kingdom€347,000
Dec. 5-10, 2011EPT Prague722Martin FingerGermany€720,000
Jan. 7-13, 2012PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, Paradise Island1,072John DibellaUnited States$1,775,000
Jan. 31 - Feb. 6, 2012EPT Deauville890Vadim KursevichBelarus€875,000
Feb. 20-25, 2012EPT Copenhagen449Mickey PetersenDenmarkDKr2,515,000
March 12-17, 2012EPT Madrid477Frederik JensenDenmark€495,000
March 26-31, 2012EPT Campione680Jannick WrangDenmark€640,000
April 16-21, 2012EPT Berlin745Davidi KitaiBelgium€712,000
April 25-30, 2012EPT Grand Final, Monte Carlo665Mohsin CharaniaUnited States€1,350,000

Stay tuned as PokerNews releases part three of the history of the EPT later this week.

  • Now that EPT Prague is underway, check out part 2 of the EPT history series: Seasons 6-8.

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