Pokerbahn : There’s a whole world of poker outside the ol’ USA, and that’s exactly what professional poker journalist Mike Berkholz brings to you in his column, The Pokerbahn. Follow Mike as he travels the European tournament circuit and delivers the best news and gossip from the other side of the pond. It’s all the poker action and high-stakes lifestyle you can handle…with an international flair.

The EPT: A Complimentary Update…Literally

Season 4 of the European Poker Tour is almost done, only San Remo and, yeah, the mother of all EPT tourneys, Monte Carlo, are left on the list. Time enough to jump to conclusions about this year’s EPT.

The Bigger the Better?
Naturally there were more players and bigger prize pools this year than in the seasons beforehand. But are the larger fields always an improvement for the tourneys? The quick answer is: Yes. The long answer is: Yes, very much, indeed (that one goes out to all you Brits on the tour).

More money means more recognition across the globe, and this is always helpful to keep a tour alive. That being said, the EPT isn’t planning on adding any stops in the future. The current slate of eleven tourneys seems to be enough, and as we have learned from other journeys, less is sometimes more (Hello, WPT!). It’s still a mixed bad though.

The EPT Copenhagen again set records when it was sold out thirty minutes after opening its cashiers, but there remains, of course, some events that most people don’t care too much about. (Sorry my fellow German and EPT Warsaw winner Michael Schulze!)

Nice Guys Finish Second?
Not in the EPT’s season four! The runner-up at the EPT Copenhagen was an ultra hooligan at the poker table (even the made-up combo of Mike “The Mouth-Brat” Hellmuth would have been nicer to watch).

And what about Barcelona? Mark Teltscher? OK, he doesn’t have the worst attitude, but he’s definitely not a parent’s dream son-in-law either. And finally Dublin, come on! Second place finisher Annette Obrestad isn’t even a guy!

EPT and the Internet: Can’t We All Just Get Along?
It’s the PokerStars European Poker Tour. Why don’t they call it the PEPT? Oh speaking of cyberspace, one thing the EPT needs to improve is the Internet connection at the stops. Some places were OK, but others were really struggling.

Copenhagen for instance – a high-tech city – had several hours of no Internet connection for all us poker media members during the tourney.

Here’s how bad it can get: Warsaw wasn’t a televised event and there was no live streaming of the final table, but San Remo will again be broadcasted online (Hello,, but the EPT expects the connection at the casino to be so damn crappy that media have been told in advance to upload their pics only on a certain dial-up, because otherwise the Internet might crash.

Geography Anyone?
The WPT finally managed to drop Barcelona from the schedule and is now back to North American-only locations. So why does the European Tour still have the Bahamas on their slate? Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice over there, but do you need EPT winners from the US so desperately? Just create a new tour and ask Gavin Griffin to play – he’ll win a tourney in no time.