The European Poker Tour (EPT) is a series of poker tournaments similar to those in the World Poker Tour (WPT), created by John Duthie, winner of the inaugural Poker Million tournament. It began in 2004 as part of the worldwide explosion in Texas Hold ’em popularity. Since 2011 the EPT has been sponsored and wholly owned and controlled by PokerStars the online casino and taped by Sunset + Vine for television broadcast across Europe.
In seasons 1-3, the most significant difference between the competing poker tours was the buy-in and its effect on the prize pool, with the EPT featuring buy-ins about half the size of the WPT. This changed in season 4 when the buy-in for most EPT events was increased to €8,000. (Due to increased popularity and lack of space in participating casinos). At 2007 exchange rates, this is approximately equal to the US$10,000 which is the buy-in for most WPT events.
Furthermore, the final table is made up of 8 players, as opposed to the 6 player final tables popularised by the WPT.
For the first couple of seasons, Duthie commentated for the show alongside Colin Murray. Since the middle of Season 3, James Hartigan has been the lead commentator, with professional players Greg Raymer, Daniel Negreanu and Victoria Coren providing analysis. Hartigan also presents the live webcast from each event. The TV show was first hosted by Caroline Flack, then joined by Natalie Pinkham. Seasons 4 and 5 were hosted by Kara Scott, while Seasons 6 and 7 were fronted by Michelle Orpe. Since Season 8, there have been four different presenters with Kristy Arnett, Sarah Grant, Laura Cornelius and Lynn Gilmartin, with commentators James Hartigan and Joe Stapleton presenting the TV shows.