Sunday, 10th December 2023 05:28
Home / Features / Introducing EPT Retro: The way poker used to be

This week, our friends and colleagues at PokerStars Live start a brilliant new series titled EPT Retro. In the absence of any new live events for a few months, they’re taking a trip down memory lane and using old footage to produce a new daily show.

This is going to produce some profoundly entertaining content, as the stylings of yesteryear are scrutinised by contemporary commentators. “‘EPT Retro’ will revisit the early years of the European Poker Tour through a modern-day poker lens,” says James Hartigan, who will host the English-language stream, with guest commentary from Joe Stapleton and an assorted group of guests, including Ben “Spraggy” Spragg and Lex Veldhuis.

What might have been cutting edge in 2004, when the European Poker Tour started, is going to seem incredibly dated by today’s standards. That is going to apply to haircuts and clothing as much as patterns in play. Opening raises were bigger, three-bets were pretty much non-existent, and get ready to see lots of people staring hard into other players’ eyes, nailing their soul-reads.

You might also need to prepare to start shouting at the screen: “Whatever happened to him!?!”


For our part, PokerStars Blog will take a look back through our archive and dig out some of our old classics too. We’ve been attending European Poker Tour events since Season 1, with a team that began with just Brad Willis and a laptop swelling rapidly through latter seasons to encompass all manner of weirdos typing in exotic languages.

We’ve sat beneath staircases, in smoking rooms, and cowered in broom cupboards. We’ve written features and live hand-by-hand updates; interviewed hundreds of players and listened to millions of bad beat stories.

Some of our old blog designs are as ghastly as anything Ed Hardy ever designed. But we’re not proud. We’re happy to take a similar trip down memory lane and look at the way it used to be.

PokerStars Blog’s earliest incarnation

The first week of EPT Retro shows features action from Seasons 1 and 2 of the EPT. Back then, Europe’s premier tour went to Barcelona, London, Dublin, Copenhagen, Deauville, Vienna and Monte Carlo, before a grand final in Monte Carlo. (Baden replaced Vienna in Season 2.) PokerStars Blog first tagged along in Copenhagen, and remarkably some of the writing still survives.

From then, our coverage swells considerably and we’ll spend some time dipping back into the archive along with EPT Retro. Hear some of the stories that the TV cameras didn’t catch in our PokerStars Blog trip down retro lane.

First, let’s take you back to Season 1.

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