In August, PokerStars announced that it was retiring the European Poker Tour (EPT) brand at the end of this year and launching a pair of tours – the PokerStars Championship and PokerStars Festival – in its place. Resorts Casino in Atlantic City already served as host to PokerStars Festival New Jersey, the first tour stop for the PokerStars Festival, and this past Thursday, PokerStars announced a number of “key” dates for select stops on both the Championship and Festival tours.
In a press release issued in August when the announcement of the new tours was made, the company explained some of its reasoning behind the change, saying, “With the European Poker Tour (EPT) outgrowing its European borders, PokerStars is making its biggest live events even bigger, by encompassing key PokerStars sponsored events from around the world and bringing players worldwide the much-loved EPT experience.”
The PokerStars Championship seems like it will essentially be what was the European Poker Tour, but not necessarily limited to Europe. Stops will last about a week and a half, have upwards of 100 tournaments, and a $/€5,000 Main Event. The PokerStars Festival is kind of like what we have now in the World Series of Poker Circuit, with lower priced events in cities that might not normally get the benefit of the major tournament (there are, of course, exceptions, like the aforementioned Atlantic City).
Of the key dates announced by PokerStars, two are Festival stops:
PokerStars Festival London, January 22-29
PokerStars Festival Rozvadov, March 2-13
PokerStars Festival London will be the first Festival stop of 2017, scheduled for eight days and 22 tournaments at the Hippodrome Casino. The Main Event will be a £990 buy-in, £400,000 guaranteed prize pool affair starting January 25thand running through the final day of the Festival.
London is obviously not one of those overlooked locations for poker tournaments that we mentioned earlier (told you there would be exceptions), but the other Festival stop, Rozvadov, certainly is. I, myself, had to look up where the heck that was. Answer: the Czech Republic. This stop at the King’s Casino will be a bit longer than London’s – twelve days and 30 tournaments.
Here is what we’re looking at so far for the PokerStars Championship:
PokerStars Championship Bahamas, January 6-14
PokerStars Championship Panama, March 10-20
PokerStars Championship Macau, March 30–April 9
PokerStars Championship presented by Monte-Carlo Casino, April 25-May 5
PokerStars Championship Barcelona, August 15-27
PokerStars says the Panama stop will be the largest Latin American PokerStars live tournament schedule ever with 56 events being held at the Sortis Hotel & Casino in Panama City. The Main Event will run March 14-20 and will cost $5,300.
In a press release, PokerStars’ Director of Live Events Edgar Stuchly said, “PokerStars has an incredibly rich live events heritage, having hosted more than 560 tournament series, attracted more than 800,000 entries and awarded more than $1.5 billion in prize money. The PokerStars Championship and PokerStars Festival events are an enhancement of the existing PokerStars sponsored live events, helping to take our vision for live poker to a whole new level.”
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