The European Poker Tour has visited some of the biggest and best cities on the great continent over the past two decades. From London to Loutraki, Barcelona to Berlin, the EPT has brought European poker players together — and an influx of other players from around the world — to some incredibly glamorous locations. You could be forgiven for thinking that there is nowhere “new” yet to visit, but you’d be wrong. This Autumn, EPT Cyprus debuts as the festival travels to Northern Cyprus for the first time, with the five-star Merit Royal Diamond Hotel Casino & Spa set to welcome players to their gleaming venue.
Sun, Sea and Sand… Eureka!
Taking place between October 11th and 22nd, this season’s inaugural visit to the stunning Mediterranean island of Cyprus is a long time coming for poker players and fans. A setting that will appeal to poker vacationers looking for the traditional aspects of a holiday such as sun, sea and sand is complimented by a venue that could have been built with poker in mind.
Truly, this is a five-star poker event that is taking place in a five-star resort… and then some!
The opening events on the stop form part of the Eureka Poker Tour and a little like the Estrellas Poker Tour does in Spain, will build the player base ahead of the European Poker Tour events starting. The Eureka Main Event starts on October 12th and costs just $1,100 to play, just 20% of the EPT Main Event buy-in. Running until the 16th of the month, it’s sure to provide a big winner.
Also taking place are the Eureka Cup on October 14th and 15th, which is $550 to play, and the Eureka High Roller, which plays out on October 15th and 16th. That’s a little steeper to participate in at $2,200, but if you’ve got the bankroll, it could be an extremely lucrative way to kick off your stay on the sun-kissed isle of plenty.
The European Poker Tour Arrives in Cyprus
PokerStars’ 2023 European Poker Tour stops have already proven to be some of the best-attended in the glorious 20-year history of the festival. Things kicked off in January with the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA), which saw Portuguese player Michel Dattani win the $1.3m top prize. His victory was followed less than a month later by that of the Romanian Razvan Belea, who claimed $1.25m by taking down the EPT Paris Main Event.
After a short break, May saw the EPT return to its spiritual high-roller home as Monte Carlo opened its doors to a poker-obsessed public. This time, it was a very famous face who took the title, as Canadian Mike ‘Sir Watts’ Watson won his second EPT Main Event, making history and bagging a score of over $825,000 into the bargain. The most recent EPT Main Event took place just last month as French player Simon Wiciak won $1.21m in Barcelona. Now it’s the turn of EPT Cyprus to bring the heat.
EPT Cyprus will be the penultimate destination on the six-stop tour in 2023. After visiting the sun-kissed paradise in October, the EPT takes around six weeks to put on their thermals before travelling to Prague in the Czech Republic for their final stop of the year, a winter warmer between 4th and 15th of December.
For the biggest names in the game, early arrival at the EPT Cyprus stop is highly recommended, with the $50,000 buy-in Super High Roller taking place between October 15th and 17th. Just a day after that event begins, so too does the Main Event on the 16th, which as per usual costs $5,300 to play, and concludes on the 22nd of the month. With Mystery Bounty (Oct. 18th – 20th/$3,000) and High Roller (Oct. 20th – 22nd/$10,300) events also on the schedule, EPT Cyprus is the place to be in October.
What to Do in Northern Cyprus
The territory of Northern Cyprus is geographically close to Turkey. Just a short trip North across the Mediterranean would see travellers pitch up in ports such as Anamur or Bozyazi, and many Turkish players will make the trip if the glamorous recent history of other live poker events in Northern Cyprus act as a guide.
There is a plethora of things to do, and many tourists make a beeline for Saint Hilarion Castle, with its breathtaking mountaintop location providing stunning views across the coast. If it looks picturesque, its worth remembering to wrap up warmer than it might look, and the wind can really pick up as you walk between the three separate locations that form the castle itself.
Another historic location that offers stunning views across the province can be found at the ruins of Bellapais Abbey near Kyrenia. Not-so-hidden treasure can be found in the Shipwreck Museum, which contains a lost Greek cargo ship from the 4th century. With the 13th Century monastery full of quaint places to eat and drink, the rooftop offers some rare air – it is situated 220 meters above sea level.
If you’re feeling guilty about your carbon footprint, then a swift visit to Northern Cyprus’ first eco village in Buyukkonuk/Kobi Kebir is recommended. Established in 2016, the project is looking to bring back traditional methods and sells locally made produce and souvenirs. With fresh foods of almost every variety, along with Cypriot dancing and music all leading to a fantastic atmosphere, any bad beat will be forgotten once you’ve succumbed to the charms of this eco-friendly experience, which even contains a pair of guesthouses for an overnight stay.
Notably, this site’s founder Robbie Strazynski will also be on-site to report on the proceedings from October 15-19, so be sure to say hi and grab yourself a free Cardplayer Lifestyle patch! Perhaps your on-felt success may earn you a shout-out in his coverage.
Dates to Remember
2023 Eureka Poker Tour:
Eureka Main Event: October 12th – 16th – $1,100 buy-in
Eureka Cup: October 14th and 15th – $550 buy-in
Eureka High Roller: October 15th and 16th – $2,200 buy-in
2023 EPT Cyprus:
EPT Cyprus Super High Roller: October 15th – 17th – $50,000 buy-in
EPT Cyprus Main Event: October 16th – 22nd – $5,300 buy-in
EPT Cyprus Mystery Bounty: October 18th – 20th – $3,000 buy-in
EPT Cyprus High Roller: October 20th – 22nd – $10,300 buy-in