The success of the World Series of Poker on the television over the last five years has meant a huge boom in the popularity of poker worldwide hence the birth of the European Poker Tour. Not only television broadcasts of poker games but real life poker in casino poker rooms all over the world as well as online poker games have seen an incredible rise in popularity all over the world, from North America to Asia and to Europe.
European innovation is often credited as being one of the main elements that led to the huge boom in the popularity of poker, and specifically in the Texas Hold ‘em variation of the game of poker. The World Poker Tour was the first televised poker event to make use of the innovative hole cam. This small camera allows viewers to see the players hole cards, making it possible to see the kind of strategy world class players use when they are involved in games. Texas Hold ‘em is especially conducive to this type of broadcast.
Any time there is a rise in popularity of an activity, there is bound to be competition, and that is what the World Poker Tour found after its great successes in Europe and indeed around the world. In response to the increased viewership and interest of players at casinos all over the world, the European Poker Tour was created.
In the beginning, the European Poker Tour was created so that the buy-in to the games was around half of that required to play in a World Poker Tour event. The success of the venture meant that within the first three seasons, the waiting list to play on any of the events on the circuit was so large that the number of players couldn’t actually fit into the number of casinos on the tour (the tour runs all over Europe, including Spain, Ireland, the UK, Denmark, and France as well as Austria). As a result, the buy-in was doubled for the 2007 season, which means it is on par with that required to play on the World Poker Tour circuit.
Another key difference between the European Poker Tour and the World Poker Tour is that in the European World Tour, eight players sit at the final table. The WPT has only six players sitting in on the final table.
The EPT quite naturally attracts players from all around Europe and is a multilingual event that is broadcast on the continent wide station Sunset + Vine. There is also a huge international audience for the EPT as well, with players from the United State, Asia, and Australia also ranking highly in several of the circuit’s main events. The show is hosted by Natalie Pinkham and Caroline Flack, and was created by Joe Duthie (winner of the original Poker Millions tour) who commentates with Colin Murray.