After their recent successful return to the major live tournament arena with the European Poker Tour (EPT) Prague festival, PokerStars has announced a few more stops on their 2022 tour. With the upcoming action arriving in destinations such as Monte Carlo on the main tour, and France, Spain, and the Czech Republic in regional stops this year, where else should the EPT head? We’ve examined some top European travel destinations and come up with seven locations that would benefit from Joe ‘Stapes’ Stapleton and James Hartigan in their cardrooms.
A full PokerStars EPT schedule simply has to include Monte Carlo, so it’s good news that PokerStars has already announced a return to the richest province outside Phil Hellmuth’s local Sour Patch factory. Beyond Monte Carlo and the regional tours that signpost the popularity of PokerStars, where else should the biggest brand in poker journey to in the next year?
A full EPT stop in London seems inevitable, and with the UK and Ireland Poker Tour (UKIPT) London tour already returning, it can’t be long before an EPT Main Event comes to the English capital. The travel links are good and while the city is expensive, it’s not Monte Carlo. Indeed, there’s a feeling from many that the forthcoming UKIPT could well be seen as a dry run for EPT London. The event has a long history, already has a number of venues that would be ready to go, and the English-speaking audience would lap it up.
The Hot Spots
It’s been an incredible nine years since there has been an EPT Main Event in Germany, with EPT Berlin 2013 way back in Season Nine. Of course, that was only three years after the infamous EPT Berlin attempted robbery, which affected so many people at the time. But PokerStars would surely feel that the number of great German poker players who would play would far outweigh any concerns about not having been back to Berlin in almost a decade.
France has not seen an EPT Main Event for almost as long, it being the best part of seven years since EPT Deauville saw Ognyan Dimov crowned champion back in 2015. Deauville had its benefits as a destination, but we can’t help feeling that there are other destinations in France that would be even more glamorous. One issue might be space, with few Paris cardrooms likely to be able to cope with a full ticket of attendees. Marseille could have the same issue, and is too similar to Monte Carlo. Since the Aviation Club De France went into liquidation in 2015, could Casino Barriere Le Croisette or Casino Pleinair Partouche offer a home for the EPT with a little conversion of space? Of the hot spots on our list, this is perhaps the least likely.
Classic Holiday Poker Homes
It’s hard not to assume that Barcelona will be one of the first destinations that ‘Stars returns to. After all, Casino Barcelona is ready and waiting for big action, and the Catalan city is a favorite of poker players worldwide, with its stunning architecture, glorious markets and usually beautiful weather.
If not Barcelona, why not take poker to Majorca under the guise of a full EPT Main Event? The home of Rafael Nadal offers the ultimate ‘holiday vibe’, and Majorca could provide real charm for poker players looking to make their trip a successful one whether they win at poker or not.
Poker is a force of nature in Italy, and we’d love to see poker return to the beautiful previous EPT location of San Remo. If only for the characters who always seemed to find their way to the tables. If not the pretty Italian city on the Mediterranean coast, then how about heading to the capital city of Rome? The ancient city was built for dramatic showdowns. We’d love to see Stapes attempt a clownish lap or five of the Colosseum under the pretense of a task set by the gloriously straight Hartigan.
Two Outside Bets
If PokerStars wants to go to a city full of history, culture, and poker players, Vienna, Austria is a natural choice. The home of composers is beautiful, and the city has the cardroom space to become something of ‘another Prague’. Vienna is tailor-made for a poker festival, and with so many European poker players living there for tax reasons, an EPT Main Event in the Austrian capital would pack the field with big names and qualifiers alike.
Turkey is another popular destination for holiday visitors, with around 45 million traveling there every year. It seems like a natural place for a PokerStars tour stop. Turkey has a rich diversity of players. Some great Turkish players have graced the game over the years, such as Orpen Kisacikoglu, a regular in PokerStars events and a man whose entertainment value matches his skill. We would love to see some Turkish delight on the European Poker Tour.
Will PokerStars bring a full complement of European tour stops to the table in 2022? Who knows? Bringing back popular destinations and integrating new stops on what remains the largest European tour with the best history could only be a good thing. We can’t wait to find out exactly where PokerStars decides to target on the poker map next… and whether we’ll be able to make the Main Event, too!