Wednesday, 29th November 2023 04:51
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It takes a special kind of poker nerd to be able to reel off the winners from all five seasons of the European Poker Tour. But there are some people who can do it, and they can often even name the runner up, the venue, other notable incidents and give a rough estimation of the prize pool. Some people like that kind of thing. Don’t condemn us them.

Among this weird small gathering of weirdos experts, there are several notable conversational set-pieces, detailing strange anomalies of the EPT. It’s mystifying, for instance, that no player has ever won two EPT events, despite a handful of near-misses (Teltscher and Schaefer are the names to conjure with here), and it’s surprising too that one country often dominates a single season, with its representatives winning more than their fair share of tournaments within the 12 months.

The UK and Holland shared season one: Vaswani and Shipley alongside Boeken and Hollink. Gavatin and Iremark offered a Swedish flavour to the season two tournament results page, before season three became a Coren/De Wolfe versus Glenne/Hoivold anglo-Norwegian battle. The American triumvirate of Peters, Mercier and Vance, edged season four for the United States (ahead of the Canadians Chorny//McDonald and the French duo Grospellier and Mattern).

And if all that is true, which it is, then season five has belonged to the Germans. Sebastian Ruthenburg bludgeoned Barcelona, and Moritz Kranich destroyed Deauville. And now here we are in Dortmund, entering the lions’ den, where there are more PokerStars players waiting to join the fray than at any other European poker tournament, the vast majority of whom are locals.

Watch EPT Dortmund S5: Promo (English) on

On the eve of the tournament (now), latest figures suggest that there are 143 qualifiers here in Germany who won their seats on a PokerStars satellite. Half that number again comprise a band of players who have made their way here after exchanging PokerStars dollars for their tournament entry and/or accommodation. That’s 215 in total, and registration remains open for last-minute additions. There’s as high a chance as ever before that Germany could crown its third winner of the season.

We’ll find out if that proves to be the case over the coming five days in Casino Hohensyburg. Day 1a of the tournament kicks off tomorrow, a €5,000 affair, capped at 700 runners. Although it would be hugely remarkable for us to reach that number, there’s a very good chance that we could get past 500. And that would mean another monstrous prize-pool, soaring far past a million euros, and another remarkable (and remarkably rich) champion.

From Team PokerStars Pro, Dortmund welcomes Bertrand “Elky” Grospellier, Katja Thater, Noah Boeken, Dario Minieri, Luca Pagano, Alexander Kravchenko and William Thorson. And the chances are, that if any of them can outlast all the PokerStars qualifiers here, they will be new winner of an EPT event.

Play begins at 2pm local time.


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