Top Live Poker Tournaments Around the World: WSOP, WPT, EPT, and more.
Live poker tournaments started with only hardcore niche professionals playing in cardrooms, and have grown to the globally-famous competitions we now know and love. Today, not only is the World Series of Poker a big event for players from around the world, but other premier tournaments stand shoulder to shoulder with it. Below, we’ll discuss some of the biggest and best poker events on the planet.
1.The World Series of Poker (WSOP)
The significance of the WSOP can’t be overstated.
This is the top-level event that crowns the annual champion of the poker world in a No Limit Texas Hold’Em (NLHE) tournament known simply as the Main Event. The champion’s bracelet is coveted by serious pros and dreaming amateurs alike as a symbol of total poker mastery. The prize pool has also continuously increased to set new and ever-higher records in the millions.
This year’s winner, longtime pro Daniel Weinman, took home $12.1M for his first-place finish. We can only imagine that this will spur continued interest in the poker world’s foremost event.
Many years ago, it was started in 1970 by Benny Binion at his Horseshoe casino. There were only a handful of players, and they played a variety of poker games. At the end of the event, Johnny Moss was awarded a silver cup and the title “World Champion of Poker.” The Main Event now only offers NLHE, and for around $10,000, you can play in it along with thousands of other players.
The modern WSOP also includes over a hundred tournaments online and off, taking place over the course of weeks. If you want to know more about these fun and interesting side games, as well as what was new in 2023, check out our writeup here.
2.European Poker Tour (EPT)
The EPT grew along with the poker boom, kicking off in 2004 and having many “seasons” since its founding by Londoner John Duthie. Each season includes events at a number of casinos and sites, typically in major cities across the continent and surrounding nations. These have grown over the years, offering first-place main event winners’ prize totals over a million dollars (or the local equivalent).
Recent winners include Swedish online sensation “WhatIfGod,” Italian Giuliano Bendinelli, and Canadian Mike Watson. Unsurprisingly, a review of EPT events from years past reads as a who’s who of the poker world: John Juanda, Niall Farrell, Bertrand Grospellier, Patrik Antonius, and many more.
The EPT proves quite convincingly that one need not make the pilgrimage to Vegas to get an elite level game with high roller stakes.
3.World Poker Tour (WPT)
Despite its name, the World Poker Tour is mainly focused on events in the US. However, it also hosts main tour events in places like Australia, and will even put on an event at sea in 2024 aboard a Virgin Cruises ship!
The WPT has been integral in helping bring poker to the masses through television. Offering tons of televised events, the WPT filled in the many months between WSOP events with all kinds of poker content. Top level players went head-to-head in events like the Five Diamond Poker Classic, the WPT Celebrity Invitational, the Grand Prix de Paris, and so much more.
WPT events award points to players for their final table finishes, and the player with the most at the end of each annual season is named the WPT Player of the Year. Jake Ferro took the 2022 title, and joins the likes of J.C. Tran, Anthony Zinno, and the incomparable Daniel Negreanu, who have also earned one of poker’s biggest honors.
Alongside the “main tour,” there are also other WPT events, like WPT Prime, WPT500, and OneDrop visitng places like Taiwan, Lichtenstein, and Madrid. When you take account of all the related events, it’s truly worldwide!
4.Irish Poker Open (IPO)
The Irish Poker Open is Europe’s longest-running poker event. It’s almost as old as the WSOP, and was inspired in part thanks to the success of the stateside tourney. The fun twist at the IPO was that you could bet on which player would win, much like sports betting. This is because the tournament was founded by an Irish bookmaker named Terry Rodgers.
The modern IPO awards hundreds of thousands of Euros to the main event winner, and offers a number of other engaging side events. We event sent 50 lucky Ignition players to the event in 2023, along with Team Ignition pro Shaundle Pruitt (aka “CrazySixes”). The Royal Dublin Society venue alone was worth the price of admission! None took home the top prize, but a good time was had by most everyone in the lively city of Dublin.
5.Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT)
The bustling, populous, and expansive region of Asia needs its own poker tour, right? Of course, it has one (as does Latin America, for that matter). Running since 2007, it has included event stops in the Philippines, China, South Korea, and Australia. Players from around the world participate in APPT events – big tournaments attract big talent, no matter where the cards are dealt. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are there to be won, thanks to the tournament event series that in multiple cases brought the first officially-sanctioned events of this kind and caliber to locations in China and Korea.
Look for this tournament to grow by leaps and bounds – the player and prize pools have ample room to grow.
Why do live events matter?
Live events offer an irreplaceable opportunity for the poker world to see its best and brightest in action. Most players know that live play is different from online play, and this adds many dimensions to the way in which players compete. In essence, it’s a different game than you get online.
Of course, traveling to high roller events like these can be quite difficult and costly for the average player, and so Ignition hosts regular online events that put millions up for grabs. That way, our players get a shot at big prize pools without ever having to leave hope.
What events, you ask?
The Super Millions Poker Open, the Monthly Milly, the Festival of Felt, the Black Diamond Poker Open, the Golden Spade Poker Open – when it comes to big game excitement online, we never stop the action! And we always deliver huge sums of money to our big winners.