The welcome return of the European Poker Tour
New cities, new tournaments, new tables, new chips, and some creative new ideas highlight the 12th Season of the PokerStars European Poker Tour. While we say goodbye to old friends in Deauville and London, we will reunite with Dublin and welcome a new city to our family next spring (I could tell you where, but I'd never be allowed to blog again). We'll celebrate Halloween and Valentine's Day together and introduce you to some new tournaments you've never heard of. EPT Season 11 had seven festivals, 375 events, more than 66,000 entries and awarded more than €139,000,000 in prize money breaking every record in the process. Well those records have stood long enough and we plan to break them all over again this season!
From a poker perspective, there won't be many changes, but they will be significant to how we play and what we play, as well as both what we play with and on.
We're bringing in new chips and tables for EPT12, and they are fantastic! While we have had wireless charging for a few seasons on the EPT, each table position will now have its own USB plug for players to charge the device of their choice. You will need to bring your own cords, but you can charge anything you want that is capable of being charged with a USB. Additionally some new chips sets have been created for EPT Season 12.
During EPT Season 11, €1K non-NLH Championship Events were offered at multiple stops in multiple disciplines. Some of those events were successful and some of them struggled. So for EPT12 we chose to go in a different direction with our non-NLH offerings. Dedicated €5,000 and €500 slots have been created in every schedule and will be used for non-NLH tournaments in an effort to offer as much variety as possible during our Festivals.
Speaking of variety, all of your favourites from previous seasons will make a return as well as new tournaments you don't even know you love yet. EPT standards like Win the Button, Deuces Wild, Midnight Hyper Turbos, Super Holdem and Flipouts will be joined this season by Sextuple Omaha, Quintuple Stud, Quintuple Draw, Splitsville Dealer's Choice, High Hand Holdem, Allin or Fold (in games other than Holdem), Big Bet Mix, Dealer's Choice HORSE and many others.
Four coloured decks will be on display for certain events in Malta to see how people like playing with the decks so many of us use when we play online. Oh, and if you aren't sure what most of the games I mentioned earlier are you're not alone, so don't be concerned. You'll be comfortable with six card Omaha, Texas Holdem Hi/Lo and Super Stud in no time...easy games!
The High Roller and Super High Roller tournaments have been streamlined so players can know what to expect and when to expect it. All EPT's will have a three day HR/SHR across the beginning of the Festival ending on Day 1A of the EPT Main Event. All festivals will then have a single day HR/SHR that takes place on Day 1B of the EPT Main Event. The traditional three day HR's of 10K or 25K that take place on Days 4, 5 and 6 of the Main Event have not changed.
Below is a short breakdown of which stops have which buy-ins going across from 3 day event, to 1 day, to 3 day.
25K - 10K - 10K - Malta, Dublin, TBC
50K - 25K - 10K - Barcelona, Prague
100K - 50K - 25K - PCA, Monaco
EPT will be switching to cashless rebuy tournaments for the upcoming season. From now on, for all rebuy tournaments, you will only be able to purchase a rebuy or add-on with either EPT cash chips or casino cash chips (depending on the venue). This will not apply in Prague where the casino chips are in local currency, but will apply at all other stops.
There will be minimal structure changes, with the exception of the Main Event. The High Roller will change, but only in that instead of having a double level at 25/150/300, it will have a single level there and have the 50/250/500 level added. This should not affect the length of the event in any significant way. All our structures are posted for each event in the EPT App.
As far as rules, two important changes will be made starting in Barcelona. The rule about keeping your electronic devices on the rail will be removed. Players will still be asked not to place them on the playing surface of the table, but placing them on the rail is fine. Additionally, laptops are now allowed at all tables; however their power cords are not.
PokerStars events will also join with the Tournament Director's Association (TDA) in changing from having a hand declared unplayable if a player is not at their seat when the first card comes off the deck, to being unplayable if a player is not at their seat when the last card is delivered to the button.
Anther minor change to the electronic devices rule includes prohibiting the broadcasting and/or filming of our events via Apps like Periscope, Meerkat, Nomadcast, etc... Our rules are also being slightly condensed, and the updates can be found on the EPT website here, starting 18 August.
You'll see some changes in the survey questions that are sent out at the end of our Live Events to get feedback from our Live Events players. You'll also notice some specific surveys that should start going out on a more regular basis. Players are encouraged to contact us with their ideas, questions, comments and concerns, either by emailing EPT@pslive.com, Registrations@pslive.com, or @PokerStarsEPT on Twitter.
From a Registrations perspective, a number of changes have been made for EPT12.
VPP's will no longer be credited to players who buy in using real money from their online PokerStars account.
Having tested this at a few stops last season, we have added an additional payout option for all players entitled 'keep winnings in PSLive for future EPT Festivals'. This will allow players to maintain a balance within their PSLive account for future tournament play.
Players will be able to use this PSLive balance to pre-register into EPT Festivals.
Online Satellite winners and players who DBI into events are all now subject to standard PSLive payout rules which are:
Players may only take up to double the buy-in of the tournament they received a prize in in cash. All remaining funds must be returned to your PokerStars account.
The sheer volume of ideas and concepts being floated for upcoming festivals like Prague, PCA and Dublin is fantastic, and we can't wait to share them with everyone. There will be some haunted happenings for Halloween in Malta (you might want to pack a costume) and something will be in the air during Valentine's Day in Dublin, although to be fair that might just be Guinness.
Climb aboard the record breaking roller coaster that will be EPT12 and join us for beautiful cities, amazing experiences, fantastic poker, some silly games...and trips you'll never forget!
See you in Barcelona!
Neil Johnson is Head of Live Poker Operations, Europe