European Poker Tour Prague Main Event Sets New Participation Record

Posted on: December 15, 2022, 10:36h. 

Last updated on: December 15, 2022, 11:26h.

The European Poker Tour (EPT) is ending its 2022 run on a high note. The EPT Prague Main Event is now underway and has become the largest poker tournament on record for the popular tour.

EPT Prague poker tournament
Ramon Colillas participates in a poker tournament during the EPT Prague series. The Main Event set a new record for attendance in any EPT event to date. (Image: European Poker Tour)

When the registration books closed at the start of play on Wednesday, there were 1,267 names on the list. Of those, only 349 were reentries, meaning that almost 1,200 poker players signed up for the €5,300 (US$5,637) event.

It’s the first time that any EPT event surpassed 1,200 entries, with the majority signing up on Day 1B. All of the remaining players are after their shot at glory, as well as a piece of the €6.11-million (US$6.5 million) prize pool. A total of 183 players will cash, with the eventual winner pocketing €1.054 million (US$1.12 million).

Big Names in Prague

A number of international poker stars made the journey to Prague for the EPT series and the main event. They’ve come from everywhere, including as far away as Japan, Brazil, and Canada.

Two Swedish WSOP winners are representing their home country and running deep so far. Simon Lofberg and Jerry Odeen, each with one WSOP bracelet, are currently in 13th and 15th place, respectively.

There have also been non-poker pros who allegedly jumped into the action. Spanish soccer star Gerard Piqué was reportedly in town to participate, although it isn’t clear if he made it into the event. He’s in Prague with his girlfriend, Clara Chía, with whom he had an affair while married to international music star Shakira.

Prague is giving Rozvadov a run for its money. Kings Casino in Rozvadov is always a popular stop for poker events, but Prague is gaining ground. It recently concluded the Eureka Tour, which broke a record with its 4,017 entries with its main event. The Eureka High Roller event added more than 30% to its tally from 2021.

There’s still time for a lot of movement in the EPT main event. The last day is December 18, when someone will add over $1 million to his or her bank.

EPT Battles with WPT

The EPT didn’t attract many players from the US, but that isn’t a surprise. While the EPT is taking place, Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas is hosting the World Poker Tour (WPT) World Championship.

This tournament is running from December 12 to 20 and has no shortage of huge names in the field. Phil Hellmuth, Bryn Kenney, and even Doyle Brunson – the latter only as a spectator and announcer – have been seen around the tables.

The $10,400 World Championship has also been a record-setting event. It brought in 2,960 entries who pushed the prize pool to more than $29 million, nearly doubling the event’s $15 million guarantee.

That makes it the largest prize pool outside the WSOP for any event with a buy-in under $1 million. It’s also the largest prize pool of any poker tournament ever in Las Vegas, with the exception of WSOP events. The all-time record goes to the 2006 Main Event, which had a prize pool of over $82.51 million.

Brian Rast, Chad Eveslage, and other big names are still in the hunt. Hellmuth is there as well, though Phil Ivey exited early. Robbi Jade Lew, who recently caused a stir in a live-streamed game in Los Angeles, hit the rail before Ivey.