Originally published in April 2023. Updated February 2024.
When you arrive to any European Poker Tour (EPT) event for the first time, things might seem a little daunting. This can go double in Monte Carlo, or Barcelona, or any EPT, where there’s a level of opulence rarely seen at any other venue.
But it’s always organisers’ top priority to make sure everyone feels comfortable in approaching the EPT. They want to make the process of registration and then getting into your chosen tournament as easy as possible.
That means clear signs directing everybody through every step of the process, as well as an army of well informed staff members standing in all lobbies ready to help.
Furthermore, here’s a quick guide that should help you navigate those first steps at an EPT.
ARRIVING TO THE VENUE
The example below refers to EPT Monte Carlo. But you’ll find an almost identical process at other stops on the tour. Just switch out the venue name for what you read below…
Most tournaments at a big city venue, like the Sporting Club at the Monte Carlo Bay Resort, or Casino Barcelona in the Port Olympic.
Enter through the main door, where you’ll need to submit to a bag search. You’ll then collect your wristband for that day’s play. Keep it on all day and you can come and go from the venue as you please. You’ll get another one, of a different colour, tomorrow.
GETTING SIGNED UP
If you’ve never played on the EPT before, you’ll need to get your hands on your PokerStars players card. This is your passport to the tournaments and cash games on any PokerStars tour. You can’t play without one.
The sign-up desk is the first thing you’ll see after entering the venue. It’s on the right-hand side, beneath the clear sign: “SIGN-UP/TICKET COLLECTION/PAYOUTS”.
First things first: show your ID here and get your card.
If you’ve qualified online for one of the tournaments, you can also collect your tournament ticket here. Let the agent behind the desk know what tournament you’ve qualified for and they can get you registered. You can essentially then skip the next step.
Once you have picked up your PokerStars players card, or if you have one from a previous event, you can now buy-in to whichever event takes your fancy.
Presumably you’ve looked at the schedule and know what you’re intending to play. You just need to get your ticket.
Look for the signs that say “Tournament Registration” and follow the arrows to the registration room. In Monte Carlo, the registration desk is across the smaller poker room, known as the cash-game room.
There are separate buy-in desks here, allowing players to transfer money and buy-in with either a) Credit Card/Chips, or b) PokerStars Account/Luxon Pay.
(If you want to buy-in with cash, you first need to visit the Customer Deposit window, to the left of the registration room, and convert your money.)
Once you’ve bought in, you get a tournament ticket and away you go.
FINDING YOUR SEAT
Multiple tournaments usually take place at the same time on the EPT, so it’s important to know where you need to head to find your seat.
Thankfully, there are information screen scattered across the venue that not only show the room you’ll need to go to for your specific tournament, but also direct you to your table.
At most EPTs they’ll be a main tournament room, like the Salle des Etoiles in Monte Carlo. But you’ll also find smaller tournament rooms where cash games or side events are played.
These rooms will take care of overspill (we’re looking at you EPT Barcelona) and sometimes hosts qualifier tournaments and/or tournaments where the expected field is small. That’s typically the case in the highest buy-in events, or for the less popular variants.
One thing to remember is that some rooms are in different parts of the casino or venue, so make sure you allow enough time to reach your table in time. Especially if you go to the wrong room first.
The other obvious rule for newcomers to the EPT is this: Just ask. PokerStars staff are immediately recognisable either by their T-shirts bearing the word “STAFF” or the lanyard around their neck. There are staff members who speak just about every language, so it will always be possible to find out whatever you need.
The Welcome Desk in the main lobby is a good place to start for any queries.
Also read: So I’ve won an EPT satellite. What now?
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