Season 12 of the European Poker Tour (EPT) kicks off in Barcelona with a wealth of tournaments and cash games, taking place in conjunction with the Estrellas Poker Tour, from August 18-30.

With six stops already announced – including return visits to Malta in October and Dublin next February – excitement is already building for the new season of the world’s richest poker tour.

Casino Barcelona will again play host to the most popular poker festival in Europe. More than 365 players have already qualified for the EPT Main Event and with more satellites to come the total number is set to exceed the 423 from last season. The Estrellas Poker Tour Main Event is also on course for a huge player field with more than 500 players qualifying online.

EPT President Edgar Stuchly said: “Barcelona has been a fixture on the EPT schedule since the very first season and its popularity is demonstrated by the increase in player numbers each year. With 71 events planned, this is the second biggest EPT in history after last season’s Grand Final, and we expect this amazing stop to attract even more players this year, and for years to come.”

Jose Luis Cernuda, Director of Casino Barcelona, commented: “We are really excited to welcome the EPT to its 12th year at Casino Barcelona. For almost 15 days the best players in the world converge in Barcelona to transform the city into the poker capital of Europe. For us it is the biggest event of the year, comparable to other large events hosted in the city, and showcases the city of Barcelona to the world.”

Season 12 follows on from the most successful EPT season to date, with record-breaking fields at nearly every stop. In Europe alone, more than €114 million was awarded in prize money last season – a staggering €20 million increase on Season 10 – generated by a record 60,731 total entries.

Some 12,600 players from 80 countries participated with more than 1,500 players winning their seats online. Qualifiers also took a large share of the prize money, with PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final Main Event qualifiers winning €1.6 million alone.

A Neymar Jr Charity Home Game is scheduled to take place on August 18 at 19.30. The €150 buy-in event is open to everyone, with all funds raised going towards the Neymar Jr Project Institute, which provides education and support to underprivileged children. The Brazilian football star recently hosted a celebrity charity event at the Brazilian Poker Series in São Paulo that raised $100,000.

The EPT Barcelona Poker Festival consistently breaks records, with ever-increasing numbers across the board. Last season, Germany’s Andre Lettau won the record-breaking 100th EPT Main Event for a life-changing first prize of €794,058. With 1,496 players, the €5,300 buy-in tournament was the biggest EPT Main Event ever held on European soil. EPT 11 Barcelona broke numerous other records including a 2,560-strong field for the €1,100 Estrellas Poker Tour Main Event, 77 entries for the €50k Super High Roller, and a staggering 393 entries for the €10k High Roller.

An external marquee is being constructed to accommodate 35 additional poker tables and 28 extra tournaments. Casino opening hours have also been extended, with more frequent No-Limit Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha cash games running at various stakes.

Story via PokerStars