The European Poker Tour is returning to Prague in 2021. The previously canceled series in Prague has been slipped back into the schedule at the tail end of the year.
In previous years, the EPT has run events from Barcelona to Sochi and from Monte Carlo to London. While the exact lineup of stops and cities changes from year to year, the Prague event has been pretty consistent. Every year between 2007 and 2019, the PokerStars team headed for Czechia to set up cards, chips, and cameras for the Main Event. Understandably, there was no 2020 event, but now it is back.
Severin Rasset, the Managing Director of Poker at PokerStars, mentioned in the press release that, “we’re so excited to welcome our community back to our live poker felt with one of our most famous and well-loved poker tours. It’s been such a long time coming.”
Initially, the EPT had no intention of running any event outside of Sochi this year. The Russian attitude for most of the pandemic has been pretty laissez-faire, allowing poker players to get their fix in Federation space for months now.
The EPT Prague will be running from December 8th – 19th, 2021. The highlights are the €1,100 EPT National (starting on the 9th), the €5,300 EPT Main Event (starting on the 13th), and the €10,300 EPT High Roller (starting on the 17th).
COVID and competition
The last time the company was able to run the EPT Prague was 2019 when Mikalai Pobal won the main event for €1,005,600 (~$1.2 million). Pobol was only the second player to win two EPT titles. The other was Victoria Coren-Mitchell.
Since 2019, operations have been called on account of a worldwide pandemic. Understandably, PokerStars is keen to emphasize the safety of their events. That goes double in Europe, where the virus has been taken more seriously than in the U.S. Places like Prague are only tentatively testing the waters of full reopenings.
“We’ve been working tirelessly and monitoring the situation carefully,” Rasset said. “So that no stone is unturned for a safe return to live events and a great experience for our players. The health and safety of players and staff are of paramount importance and we have a number of measures in place to ensure everyone attending feels comfortable and confident.”
The event will coincide with the WPT’s Five Diamond event at the Bellagio in December.
“Oh man, EPT Prague and @WPT Bellagio Main Event at the same time,” wrote Kitty Kuo about the decision. “I want to see Europe so badly, but I want to play poker next to my building!”
Poker players will have to decide if they want to visit the desert in the U.S. or the Disney-castle capital of Bohemia just before Christmas. Choose wisely.
Featured image source: Flickr by Sam Cox used under creative commons 2.0 license