Check in for the EPT Warsaw

Few destinations on the European Poker Tour can match Warsaw for both its history and its renaissance. It’s also pretty nifty when it comes to hosting a poker tournament, so with just four days until it’s third appearance on the tour, it’s worth flagging up just what’s in store.

The elegant Hyatt Regency will be home to several hundred of the world’s poker elite when for five full days they will burn the candle at both ends for a place at the final table and a shot of one of poker’s most coveted prizes.

Their office for the week will be the basement cardroom of Casino Poland; a hospitable hideaway set two floors into the ground. The only sunlight players will see will be that first blast after elimination. Bubble players bust out in Warsaw, pale and stunned for more than one reason.

Last year German player Michael Schultz became the second EPT Warsaw champion and €600,000 richer, vanquishing Portuguese Ricardo Sousa in a rapid fire final. The year before that former Danish Army soldier Peter Jepson, who had taken up the game during his recovery from injuries sustained in Iraq, took the first ever Warsaw title, beating a final table that included Team PokerStars Pro Katja Thater.

Last year's winner Michael Schulze meets the press

Both finals were powered by an electric atmosphere, helped for a large part by how they do things in Casino Poland. The absence of television cameras means that a cauldron like coliseum environment, harking back to the intimate days of the early World Series, envelops the players as they reach the final table.

Back then the only way to find out what was going on at the table was to get as close to it as you could - that meant playing in it. If not you stepped as close as you dare and peered over the player’s shoulders.
Well, you won’t have to go that far. The PokerStars bloggers will do all the peering, with updated reports, all the news, video blogs and chip counts every step of the way. Among those jetting in for the latest EPT bash are Team PokerStars Pros Gavin Griffin, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, Isabelle Mercier, Dario Minieri, Luca Pagano, William Thorson and Katja Thater.

Of course you could do better than that and try to be one of those eight finalists who early next week will play for one of poker’s most coveted titles. As long as you can get a flight to Warsaw and pay the buy-in there’s a seat waiting for you on day one.

We realise decisions like that can be spur of the moment ones, which is why PokerStars created the brand new EPT Hotels webpage to help players find the right accommodation to meet the demands of the modern tournament player and tailored to individual tastes and wallets, with a reduced rate for EPT players.

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So whilst time may be running out of time to satellite win your way to Warsaw there’s still time to buy-in online, or in person. What’s stopping you? Call the airline now and have them prepare your jet, or, check in economy class and head east to Warsaw. It’s easy to find, astride the river Vistula, between the Baltic and the Carpathian Mountains.

For a last heading look for the EPT glow as make your approach to land. Hard to miss, it marks a world of old and new, of optimism in the shape of a city transformed and a night time skyline which, thanks to the massive Palace of Culture and Science, sparkles like a spiky gold crown.

See you there.

Stephen Bartley
@StephenBartley in Warsaw