EPT Barcelona Sets Records, Raises the Bar for Future Poker Tournaments

The European Poker Tour (EPT) recently wrapped up its stop in Barcelona, Spain, and the results exceeded all expectations. The tournament series was so successful that future poker events will have a hard time keeping up.

EPT Barcelona
Poker players line the tables during the EPT Barcelona this month. The tournament series was a huge success, drawing record numbers of participants. (Image: Sport.es)

The PokerStars EPT Barcelona series ran from August 8-21 at Casino Barcelona. Now that PokerStars has finished crunching all the numbers, it’s clear why the stop is an important one for the tour.

Over 60 events comprised the joint EPT and Estrellas Poker Tour (ESPT) at Casino Barcelona. Several new records emerged as a result, with new poker players adding their names to an exclusive list of champions.

Raising the Bar on Live Poker

The largest-ever PokerStars Live event was the Sunday Million Live at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic. That was set in 2017, when the event recorded 5,045 entries. However, the ESPT €1,100 Main Event attracted a massive 6,313 to create a prize pool of just over €6 million (US$5.98 million).

As a result, 938 players all received cash; the smallest amount was €1,820 (US$1,813). Rick van Bruggen of the Netherlands was the bigger winner, though, pocketing €600,000 (US$598,080). The most he had won until then was just $20,000.

UK poker pro Jack Sinclair finished second in that event, taking home €377,120 (US$375,913). A few days later, he finished 78th in the EPT €5,300 Main Event, adding another €20,480 (US$20,416). Since the beginning of the year, he has picked up over $500,000 in live-tournament action, according to Hendon Mob.

EPT Main Event an International Affair

The EPT Main Event was another massive event. It drew 2,294 entries – some of which entered for free through satellite events – that helped create a prize pool of €11,125,900 (US$11.09 million).

The previous EPT Main Event record for participation was 1,988, set in 2018. In addition, the latest tournament also set a record for most participating countries, attracting players from 78. In 2019, 75 countries were represented.

Giuliano Bendinelli became the reigning EPT Main Event champ after beating French player Jimmy Guerrero in the final heads-up battle. However, going into that face-off, it seemed an impossibility, as Bendinelli was down to just one big blind.

However, he pulled it off, scoring a massive €1.49-million (US$1.48 million) payday. Guerrero took home €1.25 million (US$1.24 million) for his effort. In addition, 328 finalists all took home at least €5,907 (US$5,890) in cash.

Francisco Benitez of Uruguay helped put his country on the poker map during EPT Barcelona. He won two events, the €10K Mystery Bounty tournament and the €25K High Roller. For both, he pocketed €570,000 (US$568,461).

Mikita Badziakouski also had a great run. After missing out on the top prize in the EPT Monte Carlo Main Event earlier this year, the Belarus poker pro shipped the EPT Barcelona €100,000 Super High Roller. It was a repeat of the same feat from 2018.

There were also other regulars who didn’t make it all the way through in the Main Event. Lucas Silva Rocha of Brazil did well, surviving until 14th. However, Maria Lampropulos, Benjamin Pollak, Timothy Adams and others weren’t as fortunate.

EPT Events Building Steam

This year’s EPT series has been highly successful. COVID-19 forced a temporary halt to live tournaments, but the series is showing how important they are.

The first stop on the tour was King’s Casino. There, the Main Event attracted 1,190 and gave out over €5.77 million (US$5.76 million) in cash. Next, the EPT Monte Carlo proved to be a big hit. Its Main Event saw 1,073 entries that distributed over €5.2 million (US$5.18 million).

The next stop for the EPT is London. The Hippodrome Casino will host the series from October 18-28, with the €5,300 Main Event running October 22-28.

The final EPT event for 2022 returns to King’s Casino in Rozvadov from December 7-18. The €5,300 Main Event is scheduled for December 12-18.

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