Monday, 27th May 2024 06:19
Home / Poker / Changes to EPT Prague schedule to allow viewers to watch World Cup too

It won’t have escaped your attention that the upcoming European Poker Tour (EPT) festival in Prague coincides with the FIFA World Cup taking place in Qatar. What’s more, the EPT Main Event final table takes place on the same day as the World Cup Final.

It means two champions, in vastly different disciplines, will be crowned on the same day.

For numerous reasons, that’s not ideal. We’ve heard that Lionel Messi is devastated to be forced to miss the PokerStars Live stream, for instance.

That’s why EPT tournament organisers are preparing to make a few slight amendments to the regular EPT Main Event schedule, allowing the EPT final table to be completed before the World Cup final begins.

All of us can therefore head to the World Cup fanzone to watch the football, with the EPT safely wrapped up.


The principal ambition is to have play finished on Sunday, December 18th before 4pm local time, when the match in Qatar kicks off. This will mean an early start to that final day of EPT play — 10.30am local time — with possibly fewer than the usual six players remaining.

The way to achieve this is to “front-load” the tournament schedule. Tracing back, that will probably mean longer than usual Days 2, 3, 4 and 5.


The EPT Prague tournament room will be packed on Days 1A and 1B

What does a front-loaded schedule mean?

Well, Day 1A and 1B, which play out on Monday, December 12 and Tuesday, December 13, will be the same as always. There will be 10 60-minute levels, starting at noon, and with a dinner break at the end of Level 6 (roughly 6.40pm).

Those days will end at roughly midnight.

Registration closes at the start of Day 2, after which levels are 90 minutes long, with a 20-minute break at the end of each. Typically, Days 2 and 3 last for five levels each, but there’s a chance that they will go longer in Prague.

The usual idea at the end of Day 4 is to play down to 16 players, and then on Day 5 to go from 16 to six. But the tournament director will probably adjust this in Prague and trim the field further than normal on each of these days.

It could be that the final day, which is Day 6, will begin with only three or four players seated.

As always, these structures are at the discretion of the tournament director, but the aim will always be to be fair to the players, with one eye on the football. It definitely seems very possible for us to get the EPT wrapped up in time to then settle down for the match.


Don’t forget, there are a number of rules already in place to hasten play at the EPT.

Shot clocks come into operation at the start of Day 3. It gives every player 30 seconds to make their decisions on every street. Players also receive five time-bank cards per day, which give an additional 30 seconds.

As the tournament gets very close to the end, and play is short-handed at the final table, the length of the levels are reduced.

  • When the tournament reaches five players, levels become 75 minutes long.
  • When the tournament reaches four players, levels become 60 minutes long.
  • When the tournament reaches three players, levels become 45 minutes long.

These changes take effect on the level after the elimination (i.e., the existing level plays to its conclusion, whatever is currently on the clock).


Watch all the action live

As always, the cameras and commentators of PokerStars Live will be in Prague ready to capture the action. There will be full coverage of Days 2-6, meaning viewers will see the bubble burst, usually towards the end of Day 2, then the field dwindle all the way to a champion.

James Hartigan and Joe Stapleton anchor the coverage on the PokerStars central/global Twitch and YouTube channels, with analysis from Griffin Benger, Nick Walsh and Maria Ho.

There will also be streams on our French, Spanish, German and Brazilian channels in those respective languages.

The full streaming schedule is as follows:

Wednesday December 14
12:30 CET: €5K MAIN EVENT – DAY 2

Thursday December 15
12:30 CET: €5K MAIN EVENT – DAY 3

Friday December 16
12:30 CET: €5K MAIN EVENT – DAY 4

Saturday December 17
12:30 CET: €5K MAIN EVENT – DAY 5

Sunday December 18

Note: timings given are when the stream starts. Play begins 30 minutes earlier, but the cards-up broadcast is on a security delay.

CET is Central European Time, which is GMT+1, ET+6 and PST+9.

James Hartigan, left, anchors coverage on the English-language channels


If it’s not enough simply to be watching EPT Prague from home, you can also play along with PokerStars exclusive “Mini EPT Prague” series.

Every day during the PokerStars Live broadcasts, there will be three online tournaments playing out, with buy-ins starting at $1.10. That’s 15 tournaments over five days.

There’s a Mini Main Event too scheduled for 19:15 CET on Sunday, December 18.

And here’s the most exciting bit: there’s an EPT Paris Main Event package up for grabs in that Main Event. (There are EPT Paris satellite tickets on offer in every one of the 15 tournaments.

The Mini EPT Prague will play out on the .com and .eu PokerStars clients.

Full details:

Mini EPT Prague (COM)

  • December 14th – 18th
  • 15 tournaments over five days (three per day: 15:15, 18:15 & 20:15 CET)
  • Buy-ins starting at $1.10
  • $5.50 Mini Main Event: Sunday December 18th at 19:15 CET
  • EPT Paris satellite tickets added to all MTTs; EPT Paris package added to Mini Main

Mini EPT Prague (SEU)

  • December 14th – 18th
  • 15 tournaments over 5 days (3 per day: 15:15, 18:15 & 20:15 CET)
  • Buy-ins starting at €1
  • €20 Mini Main Event: Sunday December 18th at 20:15 CET
  • EPT Paris satellite tickets added to all MTTs; EPT Paris package added to Mini Main

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