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  • 2011 London EPT Sees a Small Field

    Thursday, October 6th, 2011 by Nadia

The European Poker Tour’s (EPT) London chapter is usually one of the biggest events in the year’s poker tournament schedule. EPT has consistently outdone the World Series of Poker Europe (WSOP) over the last couple of years. In 2009, the EPT had 730 participants; in 2010, it had 848 players. WSOPE, in contrast, had 334 players in 2009 and 346 in 2010.

On the first day of the tournament, London EPT 2011 played host to 691 players, which is significantly lesser than the number that entered it in the previous two years. Though the number of participants in the WSOPE 2011 is yet to be revealed, the field may see about 450 players.

Most tournament organizers would be thrilled at having 691 participants. However, with expectations being high for this tournament, the small field has been quite disappointing. The organizers will look into the decrease in participation. Some of the reasons could be:

Conflicts in Schedule

London’s EPT usually takes place after WSOPE and features several players from the latter. The key reason for this has been that both were traditionally hosted in London which made it easier for players to attend both tournaments. However, this year, the WSOPE will be held in Cannes (France), making it difficult for players to attend both.

Lack of New Players

A decrease in PokerStars players – winners of satellite tournaments and sponsored participants – has taken place over the EPT season. This is possibly due to the drop in U.S. players’ participation. Until last year, many young Americans used these smaller tournaments as a means to get into a big tournament before they turned 21. More satellite winners meant more seats. San Remo’s EPT saw a 25% decrease in satellite players in 2011 in comparison to 2010’s turnout.

Similar drops in participation levels have occurred in other EPT events like those in Tallinn and Barcelona. Trying to get new players to take part in the events in the poker circuit is an ongoing challenge. The significant reduction in the player numbers online has been reflected in offline events too.

Higher Buy-In

A trend in the poker world is to have medium-stakes as buy-ins at tournaments. The lower the buy-in, the more players of different skill levels are attracted to the event. The London EPT is hosting two events with medium buy-ins around the time that tournaments with small-buy-ins are being held. The London EPT’s buy-in is £5,000.

Tournaments like the Heartland Poker Tour had a buy-in of $1,650 and set a new record with its last stop. So did the WPT Borgata with its $3,500 buy-in. Similarly, events like the WSOP Indiana, the Festa Al Lago series held in Las Vegas and Oklahoma’s TJ Cloutier Choctaw Poker Tournament, which had small buy-ins were all successful. Europe’s smaller tournaments in Italy, Ireland and Spain might have also taken away players from the British event.

Despite the drop in players, the tournament will feature a prize pool worth $1.1 million, making it one of the largest the world over.

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