How to Qualify for the EPT: The Right Bankroll Balance

Pierre Neuville
Serial EPT Qualifier Pierre Neuville.

This is the fifth article in a seven-part series from EPT Serial Qualifier Pierre Neuville. Check back every Thursday for the next in the series.

Everything has its price, and naturally so does qualifying for a European Poker Tour event.

Before you can even get into portioning out what you'll need for a decent shot at qualifying for an EPT package, you need to start with proper overall management of your poker bankroll.

How much have you decided to dedicate to poker? Is it just an occasional distraction for you?

Is it a passion you’ve assigned a fixed and reasonable budget within your means? What’s the right amount of money that can support your passion for poker?

You need to calculate this coldly and isolate your bankroll in a separate account. Never mix your family budget or even your pocket money with your poker bankroll.

This organizational detail is important for everybody in poker.

Poker should always remain a pleasure and in absolutely no way should it disturb or threaten your financial situation.

There’s a level in poker for every budget, from $1 to infinity. Choose yours on the right conditions for you and poker will create nothing but fun and happiness .

Dreams Do Have a Price

Before getting into the specific bankroll requirements for EPT qualifying, everyone must first choose the level of poker that suits him or her.

The European Poker Tour, the richest poker tour in the world, obviously demands a substantial budget.

The Cash
The richest tour has its price.

Still, I think most players can reasonably manage a bankroll that will let them take a shot at qualifying for an EPT package.

From the true starting levels you can try for just a few dollars, but of course a real dedicatd project will demand a real budget.

Three Basic Divisions for Your Bankroll

Take for example a poker budget of €400/month – a fairly standard budget level for those who can afford an average lifestyle.

If this is your poker budget we can think about dividing it into three parts that cover most players' basic interests:

  • €100 for regular online MTTs, which will allow for 10-20 events per month
  • €100 for two tournaments in your favorite casino.
  • €200 per month towards the dream of qualifying for an EPT event

The cost of an EPT main event buy-in plus travel & hotel is generally around €8,000.

Our goal is to qualify for a quarter of that price.

So managing a decent EPT qualifying budget over a full year will cost you €2,400 (12 x €200).

Three Distinct Types of Qualifiers

There are three distinct classes of satellites on PokerStars:

  • Multi-Table Tournaments
  • Steps Tournaments and
  • Rebuy tournaments
PokerStars PokerStars PokerStars
You're only a few steps away from being here.

Multi-Table Tournaments

Final-stage EPT qualifyier MTTs cost €530 and Round 2 pre-qualifiers to the final-stage tournaments cost €82.

My suggestion would be to play 10 Round 2 qualifying tournaments for €82 each, as that will give you an excellent qualification workout.

The goal is to win three out of those 10 tournaments, which would then give you the opportunity to play in three €530 tournaments (€1,590) for the cost of just €820.

Steps Tournaments

With the budget described above, I would start at Step D on the Steps levels to be able to play 10 total Steps tournaments.

It’s also best to stick with the same type and level of tournament in any given period. This allows you to get into a better and better rhythm as you play.

Of course with the Steps tournaments you’re gradually heading for the top of the poker world as you pass each level so the difficulty will increase with each one.

If you play 10 Step D events, the expected level of return would be to win four Step E tickets, 2 Step F tickets and one Step G ticket … and then, you hope, win the Step G qualifier.

€22 Rebuy Tournaments

These tournaments are a little special with their original structure and add-ons up to 50,000 chips.

I won six of these last season and they were the cheapest form of qualifier for me on average.

With these tournaments we must, above all, respect the rules of profitability:

If you start a €22 re-buy tournament, you must at least get to the add-on stage in all cases.

The real tournament begins at this point, and all those who drop out before the add-on level have zero chance to qualify – essentially turning their initial investment into a lost cause.

You, by contrast, should always make it to the "real tournament" that begins at the add on.

Reaching the add-on stage means you’ll share the prize money more than 100 players have contributed to among only 40 players.

The budget for this will be on average around €260, so we can play three of these tournaments total for the year.

The Ideal EPT Qualifier Management Plan

I’ll address each category of qualifier specifically later, but here in my opinion is the ideal way to manage a budget of €200 per month to qualify for an EPT event.

I suggest playing 10 Round 2 MTT qualifiers at €82 each, 10 Step D qualifiers at €82 each and three €22 Rebuy tournaments.

Liv Boeree
With just a few breaks, you could be sitting next to Liv.

The annual investment amounts to €2,400. But by following all the lessons in this series closely, you could increase your chances of success by around 50%.

While €2,400 might seem like a lot, remember you are trying to realize your poker dream!

And remember it‘s still just a target. You might play well and get lucky, or you might miss it altogether.

Poker remains a game, so be prepared for the worst and ready for the best.

It's a Chance to Play with Your Heros

Consider this though: in Formula 1 racing, you’d never get a chance to take a drive with Vettel, Webber or Hamilton.

You’ll never play tennis with Federer or golf with Tiger. But in poker, everything is possible for those who take the right approach.

With just a few breaks, you could find yourself at a table with ElkY, Liv, Jason or Daniel.

For my part, I’m very happy and excited I’ve had a chance to cross paths with them – and I wish you great success in your efforts too!

Tell me about your successful qualifications at and meet us at the next EPT event!

More in the How to Qualify for the EPT Series:

About the Author:

Pierre Neuville is known across Europe as the "Serial PokerStars Qualifier" for his incredible run of qualifying for 23 consecutive European Poker Tour main events via online satellite.

To open a new account at PokerStars and take advantage of our exclusive sign-up bonus and monthly freerolls, click through to our PokerStars review page.

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