The European Poker Tour (EPT) is going digital for the first time in its 16-year history due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions in Europe.
PokerStars announced the news on October 26 ahead of a possible change to the current schedule.
As per the press release, EPT Online will take place between November 8 and 18. There will be 20 “main” events with buy-ins ranging from $215 to $25,000, and the series will carry a $20 million guarantee.
EPT Online Will be for Everyone
To ensure everyone gets a chance to enjoy the action, PokerStars has also created a selection of “mini” events. Additionally, there will be a full schedule of satellites, as well as random ticket drops.
For a final flourish, Lex Veldhuis and Ben Spragg will provide first-person insights into their progress via Twitch.
EPT Online Highlights
- $5,200 buy-in EPT Main Event
- $25,000 buy-in EPT Super High Roller
- $1,100 buy-in EPT Arena Championship
- $2,100 buy-in Pot Limit Omaha
- $10,300 buy-in 6+ Hold’em High Roller
- $5,200 buy-in 8-Game High Roller
Overall, EPT Online will continue what its live counterpart has become renowned for and it couldn’t come at a better time.
Although PokerStars managed to host an EPT event in Sochi last month, there’s a chance it won’t be able to do the same in the Czech Republic. Although EPT Prague is still penciled in the diary, rising COVID-19 infection rates could force a change of plan.
If the conditions don’t allow live events to take place in December, EPT Prague will have to be cancelled. By hosting an EPT online, PokerStars is not only offering something in the interim, it’s opening the door to more digital innovations.
PokerStars Lays New Foundation
If the first EPT Online goes well and EPT Prague can’t go ahead, it will be easy to offer a digital alternative. Given how 2020 has played out so far, that scenario isn’t beyond the realms of possibility.
Operators need an insurance policy in the current climate. PokerStars has always had the resources to turn live events into digital ones but it’s been slower on the uptake than the WPT and WSOP.
However, with COVID-19 presenting more potential problems, the time is right to join the latest industry trend.
Naturally, everyone hopes things are safe enough to facilitate a return to normal service in 2021. In lieu of that, PokerStars has laid the foundations for a new collection of online EPT festivals.