The France Poker Series Main Event, the €1100 buy-in tournament that kicks off the PokerStars European Poker Tour presented by Monte-Carlo Casino®, attracted 1,918 entries of its four Day 1 flights, up more than a third on the last time the event was held.
It marks the triumphant return of the EPT to Monte Carlo after a three-year hiatus, demonstrating the pent-up demand for big-spectacle live poker now finally returning after years of cancellations due to Covid.
The tournament, the finale of a regional French tour sponsored by PokerStars, is always a highlight on the calendar, usually attracting north of a thousand entries with a mix of local players from France and Italy alongside a robust international audience.
This 2022 edition has smashed through even these lofty expectations. A total of 999 unique players combined to enter 1918 times into the FPS Main. It represents growth of 35% on the 1425 entries in its last iteration in 2019, and is 28% higher than the record of 1501 set the year prior.
The total prize pool has swelled to €1.84 million, with a first-place prize of €290,910.
FPS Main Event: Attendance History
|Year||Entries||Prize pool||First Prize|
FPS always attracts a cosmopolitan player set, and this edition was certainly no exception. Of the 999 individuals to participate, 59% of the field were from France and Italy; the remainder came from around the world, with a total of 62 countries represented. Coronavirus-related concerns over international travel are certainly on the wane.
“EPT Monte-Carlo is a favourite for many,” said Severin Rasset, Managing Director & Commercial Officer, PokerStars, just prior to the start of the festival. “We understand that these are uncertain times for everyone. The health and safety of our players and staff is paramount to our plans and we’ll continue to communicate openly with players as each event approaches.”
“Live events have always been a big part of PokerStars, and we can’t wait to get back to the live felt and hope to see many of our players at events soon!”
All four flights of the FPS Main attracted over 250 players, but it was Day 1C where attendance soared, with almost 1000 entries stretching the Sporting Monte-Carlo concert and convention hall to capacity.
Of these entries, 287 players returned for Day 2, which played out on Saturday, April 30. 62 players proceeded to Day 3, currently underway. This will play down to a final table, scheduled for Monday.
FPS Main Event at EPT Monte Carlo: Day 1 Turnout
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Meanwhile, eyes will turn to some of the other big tournaments getting underway at PokerStars’ live festival. One of the lowest buy-in tournaments on the schedule, the €550 FPS Cup, will conclude today; the €2200 FPS High Roller gets started Sunday and concludes tomorrow.
Then the calendar makes space for official EPT Monte Carlo events. The €100k Super High Roller gets started Sunday and runs for three days, and the big highlight — the €5300 buy-in EPT Main Event — kicks off on Monday and runs all week.
It will be the first time an EPT or PokerStars Championship event has run in Monte Carlo since 2019. It is also one of the first events on the 2022 schedule, quickly following on from a successful EPT Prague held in March.
The company hopes this will mark the triumphant return of its world-renowned live tour after almost all 2020 and 2021 events were cancelled due to the coronavirus.
EPT Monte Carlo 2022: Major Events
- €1,100 FPS Main Event: April 28 — May 2
- €550 FPS Cup: April 30 — May 1
- €100,000 EPT Super High Roller: May 1 – 3
- €2,200 FPS High Roller: May 1 – 2
- €5,300 EPT Main Event: May 2 – 7
- €50,000 High Roller: May 3
- €25,000 EPT High Roller: May 5 – 7
PokerStars is not the only operator hoping that this spring will be the start of a return to live poker normality. As PRO reported last week, half a dozen operators have big plans in the coming months, including Winamax and Triton Poker stopping in Madrid, 888 and partypoker visiting Barcelona, and Unibet in Malta.
But it is perhaps PokerStars that has put the most on the line, announcing not just the return of the EPT — it will visit Barcelona and Prague later this year — but also the resumption of regional live tours. It has announced the UKIPT will return to Dublin in May, and it will sponsor the Summer Poker Festival in Malta; more announcements are expected soon.
The operator has also announced the long-awaited second edition of the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC). This has been beset by delays and cancellations due to the coronavirus. Rather than head to Barcelona, as was originally planned, it will instead run in the Bahamas, just like the very first edition held in January 2019.
This time, it will be at a new resort, the Baha Mar, and will run as part of a wider PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) festival in January 2023, also set to make its return.
“We have missed our live events as much as our players, so it is our true pleasure to announce the PokerStars Players Championship will take place at Baha Mar in January,” said Severin Rasset, Managing Director & Commercial Officer, PokerStars. “Beautiful location, hundreds of qualifiers, with millions to win. If there is one tournament to choose for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, it will be the PSPC. We will provide more details soon on how to get your hands on a Platinum Pass – stay tuned!”
EPT Monte Carlo is underway now in Monte-Carlo Sporting. It runs through to May 7.