How to play in the EPT Sochi

Jon Pill
Published by:
Posted on 03/01/2021

One month after playing host to the World Poker Tour’s Russian leg, the Casino Sochi is going over to the other side. The European Poker Tour is coming to town, and Casino Sochi is throwing open their doors to it too.

The EPT Sochi will run from March 19th to March 28th, 2021. In that time there will 25 events that run the gamut from an ₽8,750 (~$120) buy-in satellite to the EPT National all the way up to a ₽371,000 (~$5,000) buy-in high roller event.

The main event will occupy the last six days of that, starting on the 23rd. Players will have to put up a ₽175,000 (~$2,400) buy-in or satellite into the event. There are plenty of satellites running live at the venue, or on PokerStars’s online clients.

Buying in or watching the action

The full schedule of events can be found on the PokerStars website along with several other useful links and resources for prospective players.

All players looking to buy in will need a PSLive account. Once you’re signed up, your options are pretty wide. For the Sochi event, players can buy-in with cash, chips, or a wire transfer. Credit or debit card won’t be accepted at the tournament registration desks. However, chips can be purchased by card, and then used at the registration desk. This easy workaround widens your options and saves you from having to carry duffel bags full of roubles about with you.

Unlike some EPT events, you will not be able to buy into the event from your PokerStars.com/.eu/.etc… account.

The Casino Sochi will be running cash games alongside the EPT tourneys.

Players who wish to view the action from home should keep an eye on PokerStars.tv for updates on the live-streaming or broadcast schedule for this event.

Getting there

Russia requires visas for most overseas visitors. Check with your local government to work out if your location has cut some sort of deal with the Russian MVD or not.

The Casino Sochi is a fair way up the mountains from the coastal city of Sochi. So, from Sochi airport, the casino and its environs are a roughly 45-minute drive if you have your own car, or you can catch a bus service which leaves every 30 minutes or so.

The airport is about a 2-hour flight from Moscow, and transfers are relatively easy from the international airports at the capital. Alternatively, you can use Sochi’s rail links and/or the transnational motorway to ride or drive your way across Russia.

When you get there, you have plenty of options for accommodation. Though if you don’t fancy shopping around and aren’t the richest player in the world, a decent deal is available through PokerStars travel. They’ve worked something out with the local Marriott.

At the casino, the dress-code is largely informal, but sportswear is not allowed. So, leave your sneakers at the hotel, and though it is not compulsory, wear a jacket for God’s sake — you’re in Europe (sort of).

You may want to account for some time away from the table. Sochi is Russia’s premier resort city, so there’s a fair few sights to see. A short list would have to include: the Olympic sports arena, the Sochi Bolshoi, a theme park (Park Sochi), the arboretum, the various nature reserves, and the statue of Stalin with Churchill and Roosevelt, Franklin D.

Health and Safety

You’ll want to check your travel insurance covers health matters. At last year’s event, a man died on day one.

Plus there are mountains nearby and a winter sports center, so you may well want to risk a few broken bones on the local black diamond run.

Stars are working with Casino Sochi and the attached Marriott Hotel to ensure that there are additional COVID safety measures in place. As a result, you will want to make sure you have a mask and are ready to comply with any temperature checks and social distancing rules. There should be further PPE available on site along with hand sanitizer, but it can’t hurt to bring your own.

Do check for any additional safety measures enforced by Russia in general, Sochi in particular, and by your departure location. You’ll also want to make sure you know how to play poker before you enter. Obviously.

Featured image source: Flickr