Strange things are happening in the Catalan capital: on the one hand, the EPT sets a new record for PokerStars-branded live tournaments, and on the other, it sets a counter-record for participation in expensive events.
The ESPT (Estrella Poker Tour) Main Event, held concurrently with the EPT, is the most attended event in PokerStars history, with 7,398 players taking part and a prize pool of €7,102,080.
The winner was Frenchman Lucien Cohen, known in poker circles as “The Rat.” He earned the nickname in 2011 after taking a plastic rat to the final table to win the EPT Deauville. The number also symbolizes one of the champion’s personal facts – in addition to poker, he also runs a pest control company.
Cohen is remembered by everyone for his inappropriate behavior in 2011, and by 2023, he hasn’t left his jokes behind either. Shouting loudly and “shooting” opponents with invisible weapons are an integral part of his performance.
While the cheaper €1,100 and €2,200 tournaments broke attendance records, the expensive tournaments were downright boring. This was all due to extremely low participation:
Anti However, the record is held by EPT Barcelona as the most expensive €100,000 event. In the 2022 series, 68 contestants competed for the title, with Nikita Bodiakovsky winning and winning almost €2 million. This year, just 10 players received €100,000 each, with a further eight players re-entering the field – for a total of 18 entrants.
The reason for the drop in attendance is Spain’s new poker tax. It’s unclear how this works, but PokerStars doesn’t tax winnings. Most likely, high limit players decided to get reinsurance rather than participate in the EPT. Live poker fans have a busy schedule, especially since September.