The European Poker Tour (EPT) began in 2004 when John Duthie, former winner of the Poker Million tournament, decided to take advantage of the large boom in Texas Hold'em popularity and create a new poker tour that would eventually come to rival the World Poker Tour (WPT) and World Series of Poker (WSOP). Duthie was in the perfect position to orchestrate the events, given his role in television and his alliance with PokerStars (one of the chief sponsors and part owners of the EPT). He was able to negotiate broadcasting and television deals for the entire series, and to this day, he is still a commentator on the events.
When it began, the European Poker Tour set itself apart from the WPT by having significantly smaller buy-ins and a final table with eight players (instead of six). Because of the quick gains in popularity that the EPT endured, buy-ins were raised within a few seasons, and they now are comparable to those at the WPT or WSOP (the equivalent of about $10,000). The European Poker Tour draws players from all over the world, and players at the final table have come not only from within Europe, but also from the United States (more than any other country), Canada, Australia, Republic of China, Turkey, Israel, Lebanon, Brazil, and New Zealand.
The main event of Season 1 of the European Poker Tour's main event was won by Dutchman Rob Hollink, who beat out the other 210 competitors to take home the €635,000 prize. This event was the first to be held in Monte Carlo, which would remain the main event site until Season 7, which took the action to Madrid.
Season 2 added Baden, Austria to the tour, replacing Vienna, which wouldn't return as a location for the EPT until Season 7. The Monte Carlo main event was won by American Jeff Williams, who was only 19 at the time.
In Season 3 of the EPT, Deauville, France was replaced by Dortmund, Germany, and would not return for two full seasons, when it reappeared in Season 5 to stay. Warsaw also made its debut as a tour city, beginning a four-season run. American Gavin Griffin took the Monte Carlo main event after qualifying through an EPT satellite on PokerStars.com.
PokerStars Caribbean Adventure
Prague and San Remo, as well as the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, were added to the docket in Season 4, and the European sites remain still, while the PCA has been moved to the North American Tour. Canadian Glen Chorny took the Monte Carlo prize, the largest in EPT history.
Budapest appeared as a one-shot location for the EPT in Season 5, while Pieter de Korver won in Monte Carlo, taking a €2.3 million prize, making him the second-biggest winner in the history of the European Poker Tour.
The Season 6 main event was won by Nicolas Chouity, who put Lebanon back on the poker map by personally eliminating six of his seven opponents to take the title and €1.7 million prize in Monte Carlo, and the event in San Remo set new records, as it had a ground-breaking 1,240 players.
In Season 7, the EPT started in Tallinn, Estonia and returned to Vienna for the first time since Season 1. Instead of closing out the year in Monte Carlo, the Grand Final took place in Madrid, Spain, where Ivan Freitez took the €1,500,000 prize for first place and became the first Venezuelan to win an EPT title.
Season 8 added Loutraki, Greece to the lineup and saw the reintroduction of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Campione was added as an additional EPT location in Italy, and the schedule saw some major shuffling as the European Poker Tour attempted to reestablish itself in the wake of Black Friday.