EPT Grand Final and Five Star World Poker Classic

This week, two of the live poker season’s most highly anticipated tournaments will kick off. The European Poker Tour’s Grand Final in Madrid, Spain starts on Saturday, May 7. Meanwhile, the Five Star World Poker Classic at the Bellagioin Las Vegas, Nevada already began today with a small NLHE event at noon followed by a highly anticipated $500 buy in event at 4pm. The Grand Final will conclude on May 12 with the crowing of the 2011 EPT Champion while the Five Star World Poker Classic will run through a special $100,000 High Roller Championship on May 18.

Whereas the Five Star World Poker Classic is just starting the first of 21 different events – some more prestigious than others – the EPT Grand Final will be getting right to the heart of the matter when it opens the first day of the tour’s most important event tomorrow. If you’re a European Poker Tour fan, then you know it doesn’t get any better than winning the Grand Final title.

This year the EPT will crown its seventh champion, but it’s the first year that that honor will be decided in Madrid (all previous Grand Finals have been held in Monte Carlo). While the EPT Grand Final title has yet to go to an established pro, the big win has helped many aspiring amateurs to turn pro. Some previous Grand Final champions that had their careers transformed by the title include Season 1-3 winners Rob Hollink, Jeff Williams and Gavin Griffin.

Having highlighted the Grand Final Main Event, it’s important to note that the Madrid tournament has already hosted a handful of lesser events including a High Roller that started yesterday. The result of the high roller event is still hanging in the balance, but thus far it’s made headlines for a chip lead that’s been passed between some pretty serious competition including online ingenue Viktor “Isildur1” Blom and PCA champion Galen Hall. A total of 58 €25,000 buy-ins were collected to create a total prize pool of €1,435,500 with a top payout of €525,000. Only the final table qualifiers will see a return on that steep investment.

By comparison, the Five Star World Poker Classic’s High Roller Championship will have a buy in of $100,000, while the attached WPT Championship will have a hefty $25,000 + $500 entry fee. While most live tournaments save their big events for the weekend, the Five Star World Poker Classic isn’t giving us much to talk about until next week. In fact, the tournament won’t see its first $5,000+ buy in until Event 14 on Wednesday.

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