The year 2020 has seen all of our favorite live poker tournaments disappear. It is certainly not the most important consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic – far from it – but it still stinks, right? Fortunately, there is such a thing as online poker and many of the poker tours and tournament series have been moved online. The latest to do so: the European Poker Tour with its newly-announced EPT Online.
The EPT Online will run November 8 through November 18 on PokerStars, which makes sense since PokerStars is the title sponsor of the European Poker Tour. This also means that nobody in the United States will be able to participate. Of course, that is not strange, as every online tournament series this year has had players in some part of the world left out. That’s just how it is.
PokerStars and the EPT’s goal is to mimic a live tour stop as closely as possible with EPT Online. There will be 20 events with $20 million in guaranteed prize pools and even trophies for the tournament winners.
Severin Rasset, managing director and commercial officer of poker at PokerStars, said on Monday, “We wanted to bring the EPT excitement and entertainment back again by recreating the live schedule for our poker community with online tables, ticket giveaways and the opportunity to win EPT trophies.”
The No-Limit Hold’em Main Event costs $5,200 to enter and will start on Sunday, November 15.
The second, third, and final days of the Main Event – as well as three other events on three other days – will be streamed live on PokerStars’ Twitch channel. Viewers will be able to view the players’ cards; commentary will be provided by James Hartigan and Joe Stapleton.
More than half of the events cost $2,100 or less to enter. Buy-ins overall range from $215 to $25,000.
PokerStars is also hosting the Mini-EPT, a series that mimics the EPT Online exactly except for the buy-ins. As the name might imply, buy-in levels are lower than in the EPT Online. They are much lower: 1/100th of the cost. Just my style.
While the European Poker Tour is the last of the “Big Three,” which includes the World Poker Tour and the World Series of Poker, to put a tournament series online this year, it was actually the first to host of a live event since the pandemic. It flew a bit below the radar, partly because of its location and partly because people just aren’t thinking that much about live poker right now, but EPT Sochi just wrapped up a couple weeks ago. It attracted a respectable 428 unique players (637 entries overall). Now, I don’t know if that’s a good thing, considering Russia has had the fourth-most cases in the world and Vladimir Putin, of all people, just mandated mask wearing, but for those in the area that enjoy live poker, I’m sure they had fun.