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Evolution of the PokerStars.com EPT: Part II

Season One Crowns Seven Champions

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The PokerStars.com European Poker Tour Grand Final has grown to become one of the most prestigous poker tournaments of the year, and the premiere event held outside of the United States. To shed light on this record growth, Card Player has provided some history about the EPT and prior Grand Final Championships.
 
Season one, event one of the PokerStars.com European Poker Tour was held in Gran Casino, Barcelona and saw 229 players pony up €1,000. Swede Alexander Stevic won the event and unwittingly started a trend of Scandinavian domination in the event.
 
The event then moved on to the Vic in London where the buy-in was raised to £4,000 and 179 players attended. Brit John Shipley kept the title for the locals and two other natives finished second and third – John Falconer and Robert Cooper.
Dublin saw Hendon Mobster Ram Vaswani triumph over Irishman Rory Liffey in an event which dropped back to €1,000 and attracted 163 runners. This event marked the first glimpse of future winner Julian Thew at a final table in the event.
Vaswani had obviously hit a rich vein of form around this time, finishing second to Dutch wunderkind Noah Boeken in the subsequent Copenhagen event.
 
Deauville in France saw the Euro buy-in upped to €2,000 and 243 players compete. American Brandon Schaefer was the first non-European to win an event. Indeed, the USA took down the first four places in France. France got some modicum of revenge when local son Pascal Perrault won the €2,000 buy-in event in Vienna. Beating 296 others he collected €184,000 for his victory.
 
Season one drew to a close with a grand final in Monte Carlo which boasted a staggering (in context) €10,000 buy-in and attracted 221 players. Rob Hollink won the €635,000 first prize but was chased all the way by two previous winners, Schaefer and Stevic. 
 
The season was filmed for broadcast on Eurosport by Sunset+Vine which films 2,000 hours of sport for TV each year including Channel 4’s cricket coverage.
 
At the end of season one John Duthie told Card Player Europe: “I hope that we can continue to work with Eurosport, because I see them as an ideal, natural platform to broadcast the shows around Europe. My plan is to get the shows even closer to primetime than they already are, while still keeping the current one-hour format. If, for whatever reason, this doesn’t work out, we will be forced to sell the program to separate stations, but that’s not the way I want this to work. Eurosport’s involvement is a great uniting factor, and my guess is that the growth of the EPT could be seriously hampered if we lose that.”
 
Season one was marked by varying buy-ins, structures, and duration with Barcelona taking just one day, Dublin, London, Copenhagen and Vienna, lasting two days and Deauville and Monte Carlo lasting four. Season two would begin with a blow-up in Barcelona which would force the EPT to look at how it approached the organization of the events on the tour and make some changes to ensure the chaos in Gran Casino was never repeated.