European Poker Tour to be Put on Ice
The European Poker Tour is dead. Long live the European Poker Tour!
On Wednesday, PokerStars announced that it will be re-branding and restructuring the European Poker Tour and other PokerStars live events (such as the Asia Pacific Poker Tour), bringing them all together under two umbrellas: the PokerStars Championship and the PokerStars Festival. We wondered why only three EPT Season 13 events were announced in May; perhaps this is why.
The PokerStars Championship will be the “main” tour, so to speak, and “will take place in major cities, organised by the most prestigious casinos across the globe, and are designed to deliver the best poker experience on the planet for players of all levels.”
Like the current European Poker Tour stops, each PokerStars Championship stop will run for about a week and a half or so and can consist of as many as 100 tournaments. The first PokerStars Championship event will be the PokerStars Championship Bahamas, a name change from the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA), in January 2017. The PCA is emblematic of one of the reasons why PokerStars has decided to scrap the European Poker Tour name and re-brand; PokerStars felt it was “outgrowing its European borders,” which it had already done with the PCA.
PokerStars has also confirmed Barcelona, Monte-Carlo, Macau and Panama so far as Championship stops.
Each PokerStars Championship location will have a tournament leaderboard; the player who wins the leaderboard race when all events at the venue are done will win a VIP package which includes a PokerStars Championship Main Event buy-in for the following year, accommodations, and an entry into an invitational (freeroll?) with a $100,000 winner-take-all prize.
The PokerStars Festival are shorter tour stops – think WPT Nationals or WSOP Circuit – with a “fun, holiday feel.” These will go for about a week with fewer tournaments with lower buy-ins, geared toward recreational players. The first one will be PokerStars Festival New Jersey, hosted by the Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City from October 29 through November 6. This will be the first PokerStars-operated live tournament in the United States, a clear effort by Stars to try to establish a stronger foothold in the Garden State.
Though the PokerStars Festival stops are smaller than those of the PokerStars Championship, New Jersey will still have more than 50 tournaments with buy-ins ranging from $100 to $5,000.
“We are committed to growing the poker market in New Jersey and part of this strategy is to help make New Jersey the poker hub of America in November,” said Eric Hollreiser, PokerStars’ Director of Corporate Communications, in a statement. “We invite players from across the globe to pitch up in the Garden State for the best live poker experience available in the world, live and online, with the first ever NJCOOP kicking off ahead of the Festival with plenty of tournaments on offer and big prizes.”
Though the most expensive tournament at the New Jersey stop will cost $5,000, the Main Event, running from November 1 through November 5, will have a buy-in of just $1,100. That’s still not considered cheap by most people’s budgets, but for a Main Event on a major or semi-major poker tour, that’s very inexpensive.
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