PokerStars has announced their schedule for Season 9 of the European Poker Tour (EPT), and there are some big changes.

President of the EPT, Edgar Stuchly, talked about their approach when making the schedule: “We looked at every EPT season up until now and asked ourselves how we could make the tour even better for the players.”

And the biggest change in philosophy clearly came in taking a less-is-more approach. The EPT stops have been reduced from 13 to 8, with more events taking place at each stop.

They have also merged the EPT field with those from the United Kingdom & Ireland Poker Tour (UKIPT) and the Estrellas Poker Tour. These two changes should help facilitate larger turnouts at each of the stops, which means for more action and more concentrated star-vs-star bouts in the televised events.

Though the EPT has had an effective formula of success during its 8-year run, it should come as no surprise that PokerStars is taking this opportunity to re-envision a few things. This is, after all, the first season of the tour without Founder John Duthie at the helm.

Another one of the tweaks has EPT polarizing their ranges a bit: they will be offering a wider selection of low-buy-in events but will also have 5 High Roller and Super High Roller tournaments, the most of any season. The first of these will be a €50,000 buy-in on the first leg in Barcelona; then there will be two big buys each at the PCA in the Bahamas and the Grand Final in Monte Carlo, Monaco. Those stops will include a €25,000 buy-in event and a €100,000 one.

PokerStars and the EPT have also made strides to try and improve the game variety. Each of the 8 stops will have a €10,000 Championship Series that will feature non-standard fare—from Heads Up NL Hold’em to 8-game.

The big carryover from the past season is that the finale will be returning to Monte Carlo for the EPT Grand Final.

The full season’s schedule is as follows:

8/15-8/25: Barcelona
10/3-10/11: San Remo
12/5-12/15: Prague
1/6/2013-1/15/2013: Bahamas (PokerStars Caribbean Adventure)*
1/30/2013-2/9/2013: Deauville
3/6/2013-3/16/2013: London
4/24/2013-5/4/2013: Berlin
5/6/2013-5/15/2013: Monte Carlo*

*: Denotes stops that will have a main event with a €/$10,000+ buy-in.