Pay attention at the back! The EPT returns for Season 7
It seems like only last week that the PokerStars European Poker Tour wrapped up for the summer holidays with a farewell party in Monte Carlo. That was the end of April, and since then there has been the small matter of the World Series of Poker. Oh, and APPT Macau, LAPT Lima, LAPT Brazil, and numerous local PokerStars tour events around the world. In fact, poker has not really taken a break at all.
But for the EPT there has been time to recharge the batteries and make preparations for what will surely be the best season ever. Season 7 will likely eclipse Season 6, just as that season bested Season 5.
We're in Tallinn, Estonia for the big kick-off, and feeling like kids returning to school after the summer vacation; new pencils, smart haircuts, shiny shoes, and waiting wide-eyed in the assembly hall for headmaster Thomas Kremser to address us.
While there will be a few new school rules and some new faces, the routine will be familiar: people buy-in for the full €4,250, some satellited in for much less on PokerStars, they play two day ones and then beat each other up in the playground until a champion is crowned some time on Monday night. It's as simple as that.
New faces? You'll find some newbies have joined the school today. New Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Selbst makes her EPT debut. But she'll be no pushover - her $750,000 NAPT Mohegan Sun victory back in April confirming her credentials as likely head girl.
Also playing today, for the first time under the Team PokerStars Pro colors, is Ville Wahlbeck, together with established school prefects Luca Pagano, Alex Kravchenko, Ivan Demidov, Arnaud Mattern and Michael Keiner. Joining them will be the likes of EPT Berlin winner Kevin MacPhee and EPT Snowfest champ Allan Baekke.
With names like that, winning this thing will be super tough - and we all know the first day back at school is a little nerve-wracking at the best of times.
Play begins at noon, with players getting 30,000 chips. It'll be fast and furious. Your PokerStars Blog reporting team this week is Marc Convey, Rick Dacey, Nick Wright and Simon Young. And if you prefer your EPT reports in hurdy-gurdy, go to the Swedish blog where Lina Olofsson is on duty, or go to the German blog for efficient reporting from Robin Scherr. Still pictures will come from the lenses of Neil Stoddart, while moving pictures can be found on pokerstars.tv