European Poker Tour Prague Main Event Sets New Participation Record

There were 1,267 persons on the registration list before play began. Nearly 1,200 poker players entered the €5,300 ($5,637) tournament, with just 349 of them returning.

The record number of entries for an EPT tournament is 1,200, most of which came in on Day 1B. The remaining competitors are all gunning for that one last chance at fame and fortune, and the prize pool is worth €6.11 million ($6.5 million). One hundred eighty-three participants will be paid out, with the winner taking home €1.054 million. (US$1.12 million).

Big Names in Prague

Two Swedish WSOP champions are currently among the tournament’s elite. In the current WSOP rankings, Simon Lofberg is in the thirteenth position, while Jerry Odeen is in the fifteenth. Both players won one bracelet in the tournament.

Some people who aren’t professional poker players have also joined the fray. Gerard Piqué, a famous soccer player from Spain, was apparently in attendance. However, it is unclear if he entered the Event. While still married to famous pop diva Shakira, he had an affair with her best friend Clara Chá, with whom he is now vacationing in Prague.

Due to the main European Poker Tour (EPT) event and series being held in Prague, many of the world’s best poker players flocked there. Japan, Brazil, and Canada are just a handful of the countries represented by these visitors.

There are presently two Swedish WSOP champions playing at a high level. Simon Lofberg is currently ranked twelfth in the WSOP, while Jerry Odeen is fifteenth. Both of these athletes have already won the tournament’s first bracelet. In 2023, PokerStars plans to expand to new markets. The well-known online poker operator has just been granted permission to launch multi-state online poker in New Jersey and Michigan.

Player pools from Flutter (owner of PokerStars) and the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians (partner tribal casino) were cleared for consolidation by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. This permission means that as of January 1, 2018, poker gamers on PokerStars MI and PokerStars NJ will be pooled.

After the state legislature enacted a law in December 2020 allowing the Michigan Gaming Control Board to join the compact, the MGCB authorized Michigan’s membership in the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement in May 2022. After being supported by Sen. Curtis Hertel, the measure that made this possible was signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in late December.

It has been alleged that non-professionals have also entered the fray in several poker tournaments. Spanish soccer star Gerard Piqué was reportedly there. However, it is unknown whether or not he attended the Event. He is now in Prague with Clara Chá, the woman he had an affair with while still married to Shakira, the famous pop superstar. The EPT main event is still very much in flux. On December 18, someone will get over $1,000,000 into their account.

EPT Battles with WPT

It’s hardly surprising that few American poker players participated in the EPT. Parallel to the European Poker Tour, the World Poker Tour (WPT) World Championship is held at Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas. From December 12 through the 20th, this Event will feature an impressive roster of players. Poker pros like Phil Hellmuth and Bryn Kenney, as well as fans and commentators like Doyle Brunson, have been visiting the tables in recent years.

The World Championship, at $10,400, has also established a new benchmark. It attracted 2,960 entrants, contributing to a prize pool that exceeded $29 million, almost exceeding the Event’s $15 million guarantee.

That’s more money than any other tournament outside the World Series of Poker that had a buy-in of less than $1 million. With the exclusion of World Series of Poker tournaments, this is also the highest prize pool in a poker tournament held in Las Vegas. In 2006, the Main Event featured a record-breaking prize pool of $82.51 million. Not all the major names have been eliminated yet, including Brian Rast, Chad Eveslage, and others. Even though Phil Ivey left early, Hellmuth is there. Earlier than Ivey, Robbi Jade Lew, who made a commotion in a recently webcast game in Los Angeles, crashed against the barrier.

New Jersey has a lot more experience

As of 2022, Michigan was a member of the multi-state online poker compact, but New Jersey joined the compact in 2017. At the same time, other states have begun to allow online casino gambling; New Jersey’s 2013 decision made it the iGaming jurisdiction with the most potential for interstate poker. In addition, New Jersey is a leading iGaming market in the United States.

An example is the $146.2 million made in November 2022 by internet casinos in New Jersey. Compared to the $118 million generated in the same period a year ago, this represents a growth of almost 23%. What the internet gambling industry and its affiliates have accomplished this year, totaling $1.51 billion in revenue, is nothing short of astounding.

Digital slot gamers in New Jersey also benefited from the interstate compact, which was wonderful news for the poker sector overall. The deal allows New Jersey’s internet casinos to share their progressive winnings with gamblers in neighboring Delaware.

Which state will join the compact next?

Many have speculated that Pennsylvania will soon become a member of the compact. Pennsylvania, the Keystone State, has not shown any signs of joining the agreement. The online casino gambling and sports betting industries are well established in Pennsylvania.

It’s unclear whether any other states in the agreement are struggling, but this one doesn’t seem eager to share its wealth with others. West Virginia and Connecticut are just two smaller states that haven’t closed the door on multi-state poker. Despite their modest populations, Connecticut and West Virginia have relatively few consumers and might expand their businesses if they had access to a bigger customer base.

Final Thoughts

The ability to pool resources across several jurisdictions has the potential to drastically improve the user experience, which might transform the US poker industry. The best poker tournaments have many players of diverse skill levels.

A broader pool of poker players to draw from also enables operators to provide a wider range of cash game stakes. It is anticipated that more states may join multi-state poker in the future, as the organization will continue to encourage the participation of more jurisdictions.

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