Poker Coverage: Poker Tournaments Casino News Sports Betting Poker Strategy

Poker Industry -- EPT Tournament Director Thomas Kremser

The EPT Tournament Director Talks About Upcoming Poker Festivals

Print-icon
 

Thomas KremserEuropean Poker Tour Tournament Director Thomas Kremser spoke with Card Player about the implication of a new blind structure for EPT season six, as well as the introduction of three new festivals of poker on the tour, beginning with EPT London in October.

Ryan Lucchesi: I’ve heard positive player feedback in regards to the new blind structure for season six on the EPT. Are you hearing the same things from the players?

Thomas Kremser: We knew that the structure needed some adjustment. We decided not to make a small adjustment but a major adjustment to update it to be competitive with tournament structures at other tournaments. We actually took some advice from other players who gave us some mathematical assistance. Players are really good with these calculations, so we took some advice from them.

We put together a structure that fits the player’s needs and fits our production needs, which is not always so easy. But with adding an additional day, we are really on the safe side. We have now run this structure three times, which gives us good reference. Once with 300 players, which is a small field in Kiev, once with 500 players here in Barcelona, and once with 930 players in Monte Carlo. The structure works with all three fields the same. If it goes over 1,000 players, we’re in trouble; we’ll need an additional day.

I’m happy the players like the structure, they really appreciate it, and I think that will really benefit the tour. I think we will get more players coming over from America. They think it is worth traveling to Europe because you can really play in a good tournament, and the prize pools are big. They know the EPT has value, and with the structure, they get a good chance. I think the fields will grow this year and the following year.

RL: London is the next stop on the tour, and it will also be the first big festival of poker on the season six schedule. What inspired the EPT to implement these festivals?

TK: As far as I’m informed, this comes from the organizers at PokerStars. They want to establish three big festivals over the year. London is one, Monte Carlo, and the PCA in the Caribbean. These are major festivals that will grow in the future. We offer more than just a couple of side events; there will be a big variation of different games and buy-ins. We are going to have two eight-game mixed events for the first time, we will have high-low split games, and Omaha games that will be very popular.

RL: What challenges do you face specifically as a tournament director to make a festival like the one in London come together?

TK: The way that it works is that PokerStars has the idea, Neil Johnson (EPT event host) is creative with the schedule, and I’m the one who has to execute. My role is with my company TK Poker Events; I have a contract with the EPT, and my job is to organize all of these live festivals. In addition to my role as tournament director, my part is to bring a team of dealers and floor managers, and then we make these ambitious schedules happen. Neil is really testing me and my team, but he also knows both sides as a part of my team. In London, we need really experienced dealers because of the eight-game mixed, high-low split games, and stud games in these tournaments.

RL: There were two other large buy-in no-limit hold’em tournaments that took place in Europe that overlapped with the EPT Barcelona event. Since the numbers were down in Barcelona from last year, do you feel that the EPT has become a victim of its own success given the increase in competition on the continent?

TK: I don’t think it’s a victim. This is just a natural result of the very busy tournament schedule in Europe. Other organizers watched the EPT growing, and they saw how exceptionally fast that tournaments were growing and they realized there is opportunity to organize their own events. The players cannot be at every event, and it affected the player numbers here. I see it from the organizational point of view, and the casino and I, we were quite pleased with the number, because it is still a nice tournament. The casino has a capacity, and 700 would be over the capacity. The restaurants can’t take any more, and the waiters can’t serve properly. With 500 players, it’s a nice field where players have a chance to get a seat in the cash games, and the side-events are still good. From an organizational standpoint, this number is just perfect, and it gave a great experience to the players.

RL: Let’s turn our attention back to the EPT festivals of poker for one last question. Is this another strategy to attract more American professional players to make the trip over the Atlantic?

TK: Definitely, it’s a step to offer some innovative ideas to attract more players and give them a reason to travel. London is perfect, and it’s at the right time. All the players and everyone is the business comes to London for these two to three weeks. We know June/July is Las Vegas, and now September/October is London. It makes it good for the players as they plan their trips. To offer multiple tournaments is a good idea because it gives the players a reason to travel because you get more than one tournament. It also gives them some variation. These days everything is hold’em and this gives them something more.