Eureka5 Prague: The start of another monster

Eureka Day 1a.jpg

The room awaits the players at Eureka Prague

Good afternoon everybody and welcome to the chilly Czech Republic for the start of the EPT12 Prague Poker Festival.

In truth, it's not actually all that chilly--it's crisp and sunny--and the focus isn't going to be on the EPT for at least a couple of days. But it's December, it's the Hilton Prague and that means, as it always does, a spectacular end-of-year jamboree: 97 events spread over 12 days and thousands of thousands of euros changing hands.

Today is Day 1A of the Eureka Poker Tour main event, a tournament that started life as a curtain-raiser, a mere appetizer ahead of the real deal. But such is the popularity of this €1,000 buy-in event that it has long threatened to outdo the tournament it supposedly supports.

The Eureka and the EPT now share equal billing at this most compelling annual destination.

We are in Season 5 of the Eureka Poker Tour now, and this is its grand final. Last year, Hungary's Balazs Botond out-lasted a field of 1,738 to prevail and pick up a winner's cheque of €206,948. He celebrated by bringing his dog to the winner's photo. It's that kind of show.

I am always very hesitant to make predictions about field sizes, especially when last year's was already a record. But it's a measure of this tournament's growth that I'll be more surprised if there are fewer than 1,500 playing (there are two starting flights) than I would be if there are more than 1,800.

Play will begin at noon local time--that's Central European Time, which is one hour ahead of GMT and six ahead of EST. There's German-language coverage over on our lederhosen-wearing, snuff-snorting, impeccably efficient German sister blog.

We will keep tabs on all the developing stories on our dedicated Eureka Prague page. There will be photos from Thomas Stacha and selected chip counts as the action progresses. It's going to be all but impossible to keep tabs on all the counts, particularly in the early stages, but things will become more focused as play develops.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in Eureka Poker Tour