EPT Prague has always been the traditional end-of-year tournament of choice, but it’s up against both the WPT World Championship and the inaugural WSOP Paradise this year. We caught up with King’s Casino Prague boss Leon Tsoukernik to see what he makes of the scheduling clashes, how the EPT is doing, and what he’s been up to for the past few months.
It’s a busy time for everyone in poker this month – how are things looking at King’s Prague for the EPT?
It’s very early, of course, but it’s looking good so far, with the numbers in the €1,100 Eureka Main Event [the traditional pre-EPT ‘starter course’]. The entries look to be similar or even better than last year’s Eureka, which is a good sign.
It's early days in the Eureka Main Event at #EPTPrague, but there are plenty of familiar faces taking their shot on Day 1A, including @xflixx @PapoMcArg and @MarleSpragg.— PokerStars LIVE (@PokerStarsLIVE) December 6, 2023
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There’s a lot of choice for players this month, with the WPT in Vegas and the WSOP in the Bahamas clashing with Prague. Do you think this will affect the EPT numbers much?
It’s a great thing for players to have so much choice, but it really won’t have much of an effect on the numbers in Prague. All the buy-ins up to €5k [which includes the EPT Main Event] attract a very different crowd than the huge buy-in Super High Roller events.
Your average tournament reg and rec players from places like Germany, Sweden, Spain and the UK, are going to prefer Prague simply because the costs are much lower. Vegas and Bahamas are expensive propositions and Prague is not only easier and cheaper to get to, but one of the best and most beautiful cities in the world.
I should also say that a lot of Israeli players might be missing because of recent events, and there is the ongoing Russian situation, but on the plus side we have many Asian and Middle Eastern players who will prefer Prague.
So, you don’t see any downside to the clashes?
Well, we will probably see our Super High Roller numbers down, but that’s about it. There are only so many players who can afford to play the biggest buy-in tournaments, and they can’t be everywhere at once, so our €50k might be a smaller field than usual. That’s not ideal but not a disaster in the grand scheme of things.
Speaking of high rollers, you’ve been a bit less conspicuous recently. Any particular reason why?
Circumstances! Every time something was on, I had other commitments; children’s holidays clashed with some events, my birthday trip to the Maldives meant I missed out on Monte Carlo.
I managed to play a big cash game recently at King’s [the original King’s Casino, that is – Leon’s “poker island” in Rozvadov] with ElkY, Martin Kabrhel, Rob Yong – it was YohViral’s Game and it was a lot of fun.
I lost a bit [€30k], Johan [Johan Guilbert is YouTube-famous poker pro YohViral’s real name] lost a chunk [€230k] and Santhosh [Suvarna] picked up a nice win [€170k].
And with that, “Loose Leon” – so named for his action-style of play – hopped into his private helicopter for the quick trip into Prague from his home in the west of the country. We’ll bring you all the best of the action as EPT Prague unfolds.
Key EPT Prague dates
- Eureka Main Event: December 6-11 – €1,100
- Eureka High Roller: December 10-11 – €2,200
- EPT Super High Roller: December 10-11 – €50,000
- EPT Main Event: December 11-17 – €5,300
- EPT Mystery Bounty: December 13-15 – €3,000
- EPT High Roller: December 15-17 – €10,300