The Biggest Poker Festivals in the World

Being a tournament poker player is very exciting as you get to travel all around the world from one big series to another.

I would like to mention some of the biggest series of poker tournaments at the moment and these are the World Series of Poker, the World Poker Tour and the European Poker Tour.

World Series of Poker

WSOP is a series of poker tournaments that is held annually in Las Vegas, Nevada.

It dates its origins to 1970, when Benny Binion invited seven of the best-known poker players to the Horseshoe Casino for a single tournament, with a set start and stop time, and a winner determined by secret ballot.

The winner of each event receives a World Series of Poker bracelet and 2016 WSOP featured 69 events of which 33 were no limit Texas Hold’em events. Each year there is also a $10,000 Main Event and the winner is considered to be the World Champion of Poker.

In 2016, the World Series attracted 107,833 entrants from 107 different countries, and awarded more than $221 million in prize money. The Buy-Ins ranged from $565 to $111,111. The ME winner Qui Nguyen pocketed $8 million.

World Series of Poker is the biggest and richest series of poker events in the world so I think it’s worth to mention some of it’s records:

Most WSOP Bracelets:

1 14
2 10
3 10
4 10
5 9
6 8
7 7
8 7
9 6
10 6

Most WSOP Cashes:

1 118
2 99
3 92
4 86
5 85
6 80
7 75
8 74
9 73
10 73

Most money won at WSOP:

1 Antonio Esfandiari $21,965,385
2 Dan Colman $17,226,010
3 Daniel Negreanu $16,378,571
4 Jonathan Duhamel $14,489,866
5 Phil Hellmuth $13,606,825
6 Jamie Gold $12,339,421
7 Sam Trickett $11,270,518
8 Martin Jacobson $11,251,708
9 Greg Merson $10,159,495
10 Joe Cada $10,021,857

World Poker Tour

WPT had its debut season in the latter part of 2002 and early part of 2003, climaxing with the WPT Championship in April 2003 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Each season they organise about 20 poker events, most of these are in the United States, but every season there is a few events in Canada and also in Europe. The Buy-Ins range from $3,500 to $20,000.

Every season has its finale with the WPT Championship and the largest win in a WPT event came precisiely from this event. It was Carlos Mortensen who won it in season 5 and pocketed $3,970,415 for the first place.

WPT also features WPT ALPHA8, which is a series of super high roller poker tournaments with buy-ins starting at $100,000.

What’s great about World Poker Tour is that they have really good TV coverage and the final table of each event is broadcasted.

Check out their YouTube channel, you can watch a lot of episodes for free there:

European Poker Tour

The EPT is a series of poker tournaments similar to those in the World Poker Tour and it began in 2004. The main difference is that the series are happening in Europe and the final tables feature 8 players, instead of 6, as in WPT events.

The Buy-Ins range from €5,000 to €10,000 and there are usually 6-8 EPT’s every season.

On August 24, 2016 PokerStars announced that it is rebranding the European Poker Tour and other tournament festivals into two new tours, the PokerStars Championship and the PokerStars Festival. The first Championship event will take place in the Bahamas from January 6–14, 2017, with future stops in Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Panama and Macau. The first Festival series will take place in New Jersey from October 29-November 6, 2016, with a stop in London also planned.

The biggest prize was won in 2009 at Season 5 EPT PokerStars Caribbean Adventure by Poorya Nazari who pocketed $3 million for his win.

EPT events are televised as well and you can watch a lot of the action on PokerStars YouTube channel:

Other poker tournament series worth mentioning