The new season of the PokerStars European Poker Tour is now just days away. Later this week the tenth season will get started in Barcelona, Spain, the traditional jumping off point for the tour which, in its testimonial year, is close to having awarded half a billion Euros in prize money.
In that time the EPT has become the most prestigious tour in the world, overtaking its rivals for field size and for the sheer amount of cash dispensed. For players it marks the top of the game. Not only that, it’s the easiest to win free entry into, technically, with even more satellites now available as organisers seek to open their doors to even larger fields.
Now though further innovation might just have made the EPT the perfect poker tour.
Players arriving beach side at Casino Barcelona this week will be first to experience the tour’s new innovations. As well as free Wi-Fi in the tournament room (introduced in Season 9), organisers will now lend you an iPad on which to use it, making it even easier to vent your frustration on Twitter towards “the joke” to your right who’s been at it all day. Either that or you can watch Game of Thrones.
Not only that but when the battery inevitably runs out you’ll be able to plonk it on a Duracell Powermats, the seasons newest novelty, strategically placed so that each player can enjoy wireless charging without leaving their table – which, if you’re playing on day 1a, is guaranteed to be nine-handed – to make sir more comfortable.
So keen are EPT staff that you take away nothing but good memories, they’re laying-on complimentary activities, like boat trips and snorkelling off the Catalan coast. You can even watch all the action from the rail, with every day of the main event streamed live. You can even take day one off, if you’re the type who likes to register late, with a new day two deadline.
What with all this, and the effort made to treat the player as minor royals, it’s hard to see what else could be conjured up to make the player experience any more pleasurable.
But then not everyone can win, presenting officials with the last barrier to try to topple.
Could elimination be a more pleasant experience? Perhaps at the point of elimination a velvet curtain could descend from the sky, shrouding the departed from their secret shame. Within this curtain one of Wagner’s Valkyries, a chooser of the slain, would comfort you, clutching you to her bosom having handpicked you for a more profitable tournament. All the while she would explain to you that it wasn’t your fault you busted, it was that other guy, and here’s a beer.
Then, safely back in your hotel room, a knock on the door would herald the arrival of a bell boy carrying a silver tray, on which would be a refund for your buy-in.
Perhaps there is still room for improvement in Season 11.