European Poker Tour prepares to hit Prague

The Trophy

As the 2007 tournament poker season draws to a close, the European Poker Tour is preparing for its final event of this calendar year in the Czech Republic on Monday.

The EPT Prague stop is the first time the four-year-old tour has entered the confines of Golden Prague Poker in the Hilton Prague hotel. From Dec. 10 to 14, it is expected that the cream of the European poker world will descend on the site, put up their €5,000 and head to the felt for poker.

Judging by the list of qualifiers who are scheduled to play, there should be some challenges for anyone who steps up to the tables. 2007 World Series of Poker bracelet winner Katja Thater leads a host of live and online players who are eligible to participate.

She will be joined by one of the players who exploded on the poker scene during the WSOP Main Event, Italy's Dario Minieri, as well as by other qualifiers such as Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, Luca Pagano, Shaun "shaundeeb" Deeb and Danny "The__D__RY" Ryan, who all qualified through the event at PokerStars.

One of the unique features of the EPT is that unlike on other tours, all its events have the same blind structure. There will be two first days for the event, with a maximum of eight 60-minute levels played on each of the two.

For those players who haven't been able to wire their entry fees directly to the poker room or who have missed the deadline for using their funds at PokerStars, the tournament is allowing people to directly buy into the event until the start of action on Day 1b.

There should be other action in Prague outside of the championship event. There will be a €500 (with one re-buy) two-day tournament as well as a €2,000 event Dec. 13, and a €1,000 freezeout Dec. 14.

Also, according to the information provided on the EPT Web site, there will be 15 tables of cash games available to players who either bust out of the tournaments early or just want to go for the side games that are available.

The championship tournament has been capped at 500 players, but the field may not even approach that total, with many players being in Las Vegas for the Five Diamond Poker Classic at the Bellagio.

The fact that the Prague stop isn't being taped for broadcast by the EPT may also affect the turnout. EPT tournaments that are recorded are broadcast across Europe and Africa on channels such as Challenge in England, RTL7 in Holland, D:SF in Germany and ESPN in Africa.

Still, based on turnout to date in this EPT season, there should be approximately 350 players bellying up to the felt. In its short history, the European Poker Tour has established itself as one of the preeminent poker tours in the world.

The EPT Prague stop should be another great tournament for the organization and, by the end of action on Friday, another deserving champion will be crowned. will be on hand for the action, bringing you the best live updates, reports, photos and interviews in the business. So be sure to check back frequently for updates in our Live Tournaments section.

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