Aruba Ultimate Poker Classic and European Poker Tour
by Jason Kirk  

Atlantic City's two September tournaments are big news, but so are the three being held outside the U.S. From the sunny Caribbean, on to balmy Spain, and ending in historic England, there's plenty of big-time live action to round out September.


Yesterday was the last day of satellites to the 2005 Aruba Ultimate Poker Classic. The fifth WPT event of the season, held on the sunny south Caribbean island 15 miles off the coast if Venezuela, has grown since its inception in 2002. In its inaugural year, 100 players won satellites or bought in and the first prize winner took home $50,000. This year the tournament boasts an expected field of players large enough that the first day of play in the Championship Event has been scheduled in three flights over the course of three days, and the first prize will be worth $1 million. In addition, there's the one thing that remains consistent every year in Aruba: the winner gets a freeroll into the WPT Championship at the Bellagio next year. Add in being in the company of friendly Arubans on a beautiful, sunny island, and it's not hard to understand why the Aruba Classic is one of the most popular tournaments around.

The first planes and boats carrying tournament players will begin arriving on the 24th, and the action kicks off on the 25th. Single table satellites begin at noon that day and every day for the remainder of the tournament. For $65 you can win entry any daily $500+40 no-limit hold'em tournament. A win in a $120 satellite is good for entry into any daily $1,000+60 no-limit hold'em event. On the 25th only, $635 single-table satellites will be available for entry into the $5,000+200 Championship Event. The first daily $500+40 tournament is the last event on the schedule for the opening day of the Aruba Classic.

Once the tournament begins, Team UB member John Vorhaus will be live-blogging the event at the official Aruba Classic blog. For more information on the 2005 Aruba Ultimate Poker Classic, visit the official website.

European Poker Tour

On the other side of the Atlantic it's time to kick off the 2nd season of the European Poker Tour, sponsored by PokerStars. Last year's inaugural EPT season was a huge success. The series of seven televised tournaments had a record-setting total prize pool of over 5 million €, and the Monte Carlo Grand Final saw 211 players from around the world put up 10,000 € apiece to claim the grand prize. This season is sure to be just as great a success, with seven more tournaments held at some of Europe's most beautiful casinos. The first two events, Barcelona and London, begin this month.

The Barcelona Open reprises its role as the lead-off hitter for the EPT this season, with its main event being held September 16th and 17th. Last year's event had the second-largest field of any EPT event. 229 players put up 1,000 € each for a shot at 80,000 €, and Sweden's Alexander Stevic captured the top prize at the end of two days of play. This year the entry has gone up significantly, with every player required to put up 4,000+200 € for a seat at the tables inside Casino de Barcelona. Smaller events leading up to the featured EPT event began on the 10th and will run every day through the 18th. The featured EPT freezeout event will be held on the 16th and 17th, and features a gradual blind structure that should ensure quality play.

At the end of the month the EPT moves along to the Grosvenor World Masters in London, England. The Grosvenor Victoria, the UK's largest casino, played host to 175 players last year. Outlasting the rest of the field, who all put up 3,000 each, was champion John Shipley. He took home a cool 200,000 for his championship. This year's World Masters begins on September 26th and features 4 two-day hold'em and Omaha events at 7:45 PM each night. The 3,000+50 championship no-limit hold'em event starts on September 30th and will conclude on October 2nd.

More information on the Barcelona Open can be found at the official European Poker Tour website, and a brochure on the Grosvenor World Masters in London is available here. Also, both events will be covered on the official PokerStars blog.

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