EPT100 Barcelona: The extraordinary rise, rise and rise of EPT player numbers

There's no mistaking the top line from EPT Barcelona this week: this tournament is a monster. At time of writing -- as Level 7 is well under way on Day 1B -- the tournament organisers are still seating alternates, with the tournament information board showing 1,009 entrants for today alone. When you add that to yesterday's 475, we have officially smashed the attendance record on any EPT Main Event in Europe.

What's more, we are now actually witnessing the single largest day of tournament poker on the EPT -- including the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. The biggest day ever seen down on Paradise Island was Day 1B in 2011, when 913 players took part.


As another comparison point, how about this? During the whole of Season 1 on the EPT, there were 1,468 entrants to seven Main Events. This event in Barcelona is now at 1,484 and counting. The tournament organisers have nearly run out of chips and have already introduced the orange discs worth 25,000. Don't forget, it is still Day 1.

Prior to this event, the biggest EPT event ever held was in Sanremo during Season 6, when Liv Boeree prevailed from a field of 1,240. Whoever wins this week will finally dethrone Miss Boeree as the player who has won the biggest EPT.

It's been a good run, Liv.


Liv Boeree: Taking part in what is now the biggest tournament again

Here's how the attendance records for EPT Main Events have been broken throughout the years. Before today, 11 events through 11 seasons have set new records. We have every reason to believe that today's mark will not be broken for a long time. Or will it?

EPT Player Number Landmarks
(Click graph for larger version)


September 2004 - Season 1, Barcelona
Players: 229
The European Poker Tour kicks off with its first event in Barcelona, attracting 229 players to its €1,000 Main Event. Alexander Stevic takes the first prize of €80,000, from a €229,000 prize pool.

February 2005 - Season 1, Deauville
Players: 243
The French Open, held at Casino Barriere in Deauville, is the fifth stop of EPT Season 1. Its €2,000 Main Event proves even more popular than that in Barcelona as 243 players sign up and Brandon Schaefer, a PokerStars qualifier from the United States, takes first prize.

March 2005 - Season 1, Vienna
Players: 297
Deauville's reign doesn't last long because 297 players descend on Vienna's Concord Card Casino less than a month later to set a new attendance mark. Pascal Perrault takes €184,000 for first.

September 2005 - Season 2, Barcelona
Players: 325
The second season of the EPT starts in Barcelona once more and despite a four-fold increase in entry price, 325 players turn up. Jan Boubli wins €416,000 from his €4,000 buy in.

February 2006 - Season 2, Deauville
Players: 434
Despite spirited efforts from London, Dublin and Copenhagen, Barcelona retains the attendance title until February of 2006, and the return to Deauville. As the French poker boom continues, 434 players show up and Mats Iremark, from Sweden, takes the most.

September 2006 - Season 3, Barcelona
Players: 480
No prizes for guessing that Barcelona comes straight back into the mix at the first opportunity. The buy-in is now €5,000 but 480 players show up in Catalonia and Bjorn Erik Glenne earns €691,000 for first.

March 2007 - Season 3, Dortmund
Players: 493
With regulation difficulties meaning the EPT doesn't go to Deauville, a new contender emerges in Germany. The German Open in Dortmund attracts 493 players, all of whom contribute to Andreas Hoivold's €672,000 payday.

April 2007 - Season 3, Grand Final
Players: 706
The EPT Grand Final in Monaco had always been the richest event of the year, but in Season 3 it suddenly also becomes the most popular. As if from nowhere, 706 players show up with €10,000 apiece and Gavin Griffin wins €1,825,000 for beating them all.

April 2008 - Season 4, Grand Final
Players: 842
The new mark set by the Grand Final remains untouchable throughout Season 4 ... until the EPT rolls back into the Principality. Buoyed by a field of 701 in Sanremo a week beforehand, there are 842 players at the next Grand Final. Glen Chorny swans off with the most of it: €2,020,000 for first place.

April 2009 - Season 5, Sanremo
Players: 1,178
Throughout Season 5, player numbers regularly surpass 500 in destinations such as Barcelona, London, Budapest, Prague, Deauville and Dortmund, but nothing can prepare us for the 1,178 who show up in Sanremo, the first field of more than 1,000. Constant Rijkenberg takes €1,508,000 back to the Netherlands.

April 2010 - Season 6, Sanremo
Players: 1,240
The German EPT stop moves to Berlin, but still can't break the 1,000 players mark. However the Italian poker boom, and that in Sanremo in particular, continues apace and 1,240 players register for the biggest EPT to date. Liv Boeree prevails -- and the new high watermark of players remains the record for more than four years.

August 2014 - Season 11, Barcelona
Players: at least 1,484.
After an opening flight of 475 is slightly down on the year before, a sudden influx on Day 1B breaks all records. More than 1,000 players are signed up and seated by the dinner break and it becomes officially the biggest single day of poker ever seen on the EPT. More than 190 alternates swell the field further, and only the PCA has attracted a bigger total field among EPT events.

Follow all the action from the tournament floor on the main EPT Barcelona page. There's hand-by-hand coverage in the panel at the top, including chip counts, and feature pieces below. There's also EPT Live, which is streaming action from Day 1B of the Main Event.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour