Thursday, 23rd May 2024 15:54
Home / Poker / A day in the life of an EPT qualifier

If you’ve been following our coverage of the European Poker Tour (EPT) 2023 season, you’ll have noticed that PokerStars Blog publishes a lot of EPT qualifier interviews; people who have either won their way to an event through a direct satellite or via the Power Path – the game-changing qualifying route designed to ensure more casual players get to play at the biggest events.

The reason is simple: we love the variety of qualifier stories we get to tell. From nurses to architects, world champions to boot camp winners, security workers to couples using poker to travel the world, everyone has a unique story to tell.

Hopefully, if we’ve done our job well, these stories have inspired you to try and qualify for the EPT yourself. Five EPT stops have already been announced for 2024: Paris (February), Monte Carlo (April-May), Barcelona (August-September), Cyprus (October), and Prague (December).

But going on your first poker trip can be daunting, especially if you’re bringing someone with you who isn’t familiar with the poker world. It’s not as if you can plan your days like you would on a regular vacation as you don’t know how deep you’ll go in the tournament you’ve qualified for, and how many hours you’ll be at the tables.

That’s why we’re going to break down what an average day might look like for an EPT qualifier and their guest. That way, you can get the most out of your poker vacation.

SO YOU’VE QUALIFIED FOR THE EPT…WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Before we get to the event, let’s quickly cover what happens when you qualify for the EPT.

How do you get to an event? Who sorts out your accommodation? What do you need to do yourself, and what will PokerStars take care of? 

Here’s a full guide that should demystify some of these things.

YOU’RE IN SAFE HANDS

A crucial thing you should know is that when you qualify for a PokerStars event, you’re assigned a liaison from PokerStars staff who is on hand to answer any questions you might have, before, during, or after an event. 

The PokerStars liaison team are the best in the business and you can learn more about them, and how they help you, in this article.

The PokerStars liaison team at the PSPC 2023

“The packages you win are great,” said Andrei Teodorescu in Cyprus earlier this year, and he should know. The architect and construction manager qualified for Monte Carlo in April and enjoyed the experience so much that he did the same for the EUREKA Main Event in Cyprus. 

He then went on to finish third out of 2,569 entries, winning $161,800 – only his second live cash (his first was for $164).

 “It’s like a mini-holiday,” he said. “I can bring my family and we all stay together, it’s a nice atmosphere.”

Multi-time Ladies European Champion Jessica Teusl agrees. “You get a very nice package with a hotel included, and places like Monte Carlo are expensive,” she told us at EPT Monte Carlo. “If you win a seat-only qualifier, you have to pay for your own hotel, food etc. But if you win the full package (seat, hotel, expenses) then you have everything there.”

THE DAY BEGINS

WAKE UP!

This might be easier said than done as the hotel rooms EPT qualifiers stay in as part of their packages are always ridiculously comfortable. Here’s a look at the hotels included in EPT packages for the 2024 season:

Paris: Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile
Monte Carlo: Monte Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort
Barcelona: Sofitel Barcelona Skipper
Cyprus: Merit Royal Diamond Hotel & Spa (All Inclusive)
Prague: Hilton Prague

GYM/SPA

Every hotel on offer to EPT qualifiers has its own gym/spa facilities and this can be an excellent way to kickstart your day, especially if you’re playing poker later on.

“After a good night’s sleep and lots of rest, I like to go to the gym,” Poker News pro Lukas Robinson told us in Cyprus. “That helps me wake up in the morning. Then get something to eat, and get a coffee.”

GET DRESSED

Before you head down to breakfast, you’ll want to chuck some clothes on (unless you’re happy going in your dressing gown and slippers – no judgment here!).

Not happy with the clothes you’ve packed? Don’t fret.

All PokerStars qualifiers are given exclusive merchandise for the event, including hoodies, t-shirts, caps, and sometimes even socks. 

Qualifiers get free merch, but there’s always more swag available at the merch stand

If you ever need anything else, just head to the PokerStars Merch stand that will be set up near the tournament area.

A HEARTY BREAKFAST

EPT qualifiers have breakfast included as part of their package, so you can enjoy your pick from a bountiful buffet like the one on offer here at the Hilton during EPT Prague.

The best part is that some hotels extend the breakfast hours when the poker is in town. The Prague Hilton, for example, usually stops serving breakfast at 11 am but keeps it open until midday when the EPT is here.

Sometimes that extra hour in bed makes all the difference.

WHAT EVENTS ARE RUNNING?

If you want to play poker but you’re not sure which events are running that day, simply open up the PokerStars Live app. There, you’re able to see not only which tournaments are scheduled for the entire festival, but also all tournament info including the live clock, entries, seat draws etc.

The PokerStars Live app is easy to use

Once you’ve decided which event you want to play, it’s time to get you registered.

REGISTERING/BUYING IN FOR LIVE EVENTS

When you arrive to any European Poker Tour (EPT) event for the first time, things might seem a little daunting. This can go double in Monte Carlo, or Barcelona, or any EPT, where there’s a level of opulence rarely seen at any other venue. 

But it’s always organisers’ top priority to make sure everyone feels comfortable in approaching the EPT. They want to make the process of registration and then getting into your chosen tournament as easy as possible. 

That means clear signs directing everybody through every step of the process, as well as an army of well-informed staff members standing in all lobbies ready to help. 

PokerStars staff make it easy

Furthermore, here’s a quick guide that should help you navigate those first steps at an EPT.

PLAYING POKER

There’s not much to say here other than have a blast!

While some EPT qualifiers are professional players who have years of experience, others have dreamed for years of sitting down at an EPT table and battling in a €5K buy-in.

The Salle Des Étoiles, home of EPT Monte Carlo

“I grew up watching [the EPT] so just to be here, it’s amazing,” online qualifier Anthony Desai told us in Prague. “The EPT is just amazing. The way they do it, the production on the live streams when you’re watching at home. Watching the EPT is what got me into live poker. Feeling the cards, the table talk. I love it.”

NOT PLAYING POKER?

If you’re having a day off from poker, or you’re the guest of a player, you might be wondering how to fill your time.

You needn’t worry. At every event – be it an EPT or a regional tour – PokerStars arranges special activities for players and their guests.

Wine and art. A brilliantly simple concept enjoyed by players and guests at EPT Barcelona

EPT Prague’s activities include free river cruises and city bus tours, as well as a curling experience. Cyprus had wine and cheese tastings and jeep safaris, while Barcelona boasted a vineyard tour and paint classes. Monte Carlo even had helicopter rides!

The jeep safari at EPT Cyprus

If there’s anything you’d like to do while at a PokerStars event, simply speak to your liaison and they’ll do whatever they can to make it happen.

MORE FROM EPT PRAGUE

Study Poker with Pokerstars Learn, practice with the PokerStars app