Posts Tagged ‘Tour’
For the first time in both organizations’ existences, the World Poker Tour and PokerStars are teaming up for a unique event. Called the “PokerStars Championship WPT MonteDam Swing,” it will combine two events, one from each organization, into a competition like the traditional WPT “California Swing” each spring in the States of America. For competing in the “MonteDam Swing,” eligible players (more on this in a minute) will have the opportunity to win tournament buy-ins for their efforts.
“Both PokerStars and the World Poker Tour are committed to growing the game of poker, and the PokerStars Championship WPT MonteDam Swing was developed to benefit players competing at both PokerStars Championship Monte Carlo and WPT Amsterdam,” said Edgar Stuchly, PokerStars Director of Live Events. “This exciting partnership allows players a natural transition from one world-class festival to another, and we encourage our players to head to WPT Amsterdam following their time in Monte Carlo.”
Adam Pliska, the Chief Executive Officer of the WPT, echoed Stuchly’s thoughts in saying, “For many years, PokerStars and the World Poker Tour have collaborated behind the scenes to ensure the scheduling of our major events is done in the best interest of the players. We are proud to take the collaboration a step further with the creation of the PokerStars Championship WPT MonteDam Swing, and we welcome all players to kick off a spectacular three weeks of poker by attending PokerStars Championship Monte Carlo starting April 25.”
As Pliska stated, the PokerStars Championship WPT MonteDam Swing will kick off with the stop by the PokerStars Championship in Monte Carlo. There are two events there that players can choose from to be eligible for the MonteDam Swing, the â‚¬1100 PokerStars National Championship Monte Carlo (April 26-30) and the â‚¬5300 PokerStars Championship Main Event (April 29-May5). Two more legs of the PokerStars Championship WPT MonteDam Swing will be held at the WPT Amsterdam, the â‚¬1500 WPTDeepStacks Amsterdam (May 5-8) and the â‚¬3300 WPT Amsterdam Main Event (May 9-13). To be eligible for the overall competition, a player must have one “in the money” finish at each location.
There is a very good list of prizes available for the players taking part in the event. After the points have been tabulated, the top five finishers will win these prizes:
1st:Â PokerStars Championship Barcelona Main Event package (valued at â‚¬7500)
2nd: WPT Main Event package (â‚¬6000)*
3rd: WPTDeepStacks package (â‚¬3000)*
4th: PokerStars National Championship Barcelona buy-in (â‚¬1100)
5th: WPTDeepStacks buy in (â‚¬1500)*
(* – WPT prizes can only be used in European events)
There will also be prizes for those who simply participate in the Swing. If a player even participates in one PokerStars Championship tournament and one WPT event during the Swing, they will receive a freeroll ticket for an online tournament at PokerStars with a $ 30,000 prize pool. If a player participates in both Main Events on the Swing schedule, they will receive a $ 300 voucher for buy-ins at the 2017 PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP).
It sounds good overall, but there are a couple of issues that present themselves for the â€œMonteDam Swing.â€ Cramming the four events into a 17-day period – and then expecting players to cash in two of them, one at each location – is a bit draining even for the best of players. When it started, however, people gave little credence to the “WPT California Swing” (and its three tournaments in three weeks’ schedule); now it is a staple of the WPT when it hits the West Coast and, along with collaborating with PokerStars, the WPT is looking for lightning to strike twice, but this time in Europe.
If nothing else, it draws eyes – and potentially players – to tournaments that may have gotten lost in the mix as players prepare for the World Series of Poker at the end of May. Beginning in 10 days, the PokerStars WPT MonteDam Swing is a shot at publicizing the events while announcing a first-ever partnership between two of poker’s most powerful entities.
Looking to finish off the Season XV schedule with a bang, the World Poker Tour will be setting up shop in the sunny state of Florida for the next 10 days. Kicking off the trio of events to finish this year’s WPT roster of events will be tomorrow’s start of the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown.
Now in its second year, the change for the WPT to playing its final events at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL, seems to have worked out well. When it was held last year, the WPT scheduled three events – a $ 3500 buy in tournament (the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown), a $ 10,000 tournament (the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Finale) and a $ 15,000 restricted access event (the inaugural WPT Tournament of Champions) – that were all conducted on the grounds in Hollywood. For the most part, the WPT was satisfied with the numbers for two of the events and are looking to pick up the numbers on the third.
The Showdown was quite popular with the players, with 1222 entries being received for the “re-entry” tournament (eventually won by Justin Young over Garrett Greer). Even the Finale went well, with 342 players ponying up the $ 10K to be a part of the action (and seeing David ‘Chino’ Rheem emerge as champion). Perhaps the only disappointing spot on the season closer was the inaugural Tournament of Champions, but that could have been more from the format than the lack of players who wanted to take part.
The Tournament of Champions replaced the WPT World Championship during last year’s finale in Florida. Only players who had previously won a WPT Main Tour event (not a National or Regional title) were eligible to take part in the tournament. The players who had won on the tour over the previous year had part of their prize from winning their event pulled to guarantee them access to the tournament, but past champions had to put up $ 15,000 to play in the tournament. This resulted in a rather paltry 64 players that took part in the TOC, with 2015 WPT Amsterdam champion Farid Yachou becoming the first ever champion of the WPT TOC.
There is a reason that the word “paltry” is used along with the inaugural WPT TOC. The 64 players that attended the tournament in 2016 were from the 227 previous champions that have been crowned in the history of the WPT Main Tour. The 17 players (plus two more from the Seminole Hard Rock events preceding the TOC) who have won on the WPT this season are guaranteed entry and bring the total potential number of participants to 242 (Darren Elias was a prior WPT Champions’ Club member and Sam Panzica won two tournaments during the season), but who will show up from the Champions’ Club to take them on? The WPT is trying to bring in some more former champions for the tournament by spicing up the prize package.
The tournament sponsor, Monster Headphones, has not only added $ 100,000 to the prize pool but also has put up a 2018 Audi S5 Coupe for the eventual champion, a high-end sports car that starts at $ 41,000. This is in addition to other “spoils of war” such as a custom-made poker table from BBO Poker Tables, custom fit sunglasses from Maui Jim, and a Hublot King Power Unico Carbon and Red watch, among other items.
The tournament will once again feature a different structure than the usual WPT events. Starting with six-handed tables, a 30-second shot clock will also be employed, which basically means what it says – players have 30 seconds to make their decisions on each street. If a player needs more time, they are given five 30-second extensions that they can use as they see fit (one at a time or all five at once) up to the final table. At the final table, the players will be reset with four 30-second extensions each.
The Showdown and the Finale are also the last chances players have to earn points towards the WPT Player of the Year. With those two events remaining, it is a neck and neck battle between Benjamin Zamani (2500 points), who has led for virtually the entire season, and two-time WPT champion Panzica (2450 points). If those two should falter, lurking in the background is WPT Montreal champion, WPT announcer and Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton (2100), who could be itching to be a spoiler in the competition between Zamani and Panzica. Elias (1650 points) and WPT L. A. Poker Classic champion Daniel Strelitz (1450) round out the Top Five, but they would need astronomically good runs in Florida to get into the race (like winning both the Showdown and the Finale).
The next 10 days will be a poker junkie’s dream and, after all the chips have been tossed and cards ruffed, the doors on Season XV of the World Poker Tour. The only question remaining is who will be the big winners? We’ll look to answer those questions starting tomorrow with the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown.
Recognized by virtually everyone in the industry as a pioneer in the world of poker, poker industry legend Linda Johnson has received nearly every accolade that can be handed out. That shelf of trophies and tributes will increase by one next week when the World Poker Tour honors Johnson with their first-ever WPT Honors Award.
“We are proud to present Linda Johnson with the inaugural WPT Honors Award,” said Adam Pliska, the Chief Executive Officer of the World Poker Tour. “The award represents WPT’s highest honor and will serve as a lasting tradition that allows us to recognize the most important people in our industry and in the WPT’s history. Linda played a unique role in helping shape the World Poker Tour, and she embodies all that the WPT stands for. In addition to her time spent with the WPT, Linda’s extraordinary contributions have helped better poker globally and her efforts have left lasting impressions that will forever impact our game.”
In her usually understated manner, Johnson quietly expressed her sentiments over receiving the honor on her Facebook page. “I am extremely honored to receive this award,” Johnson simply stated before adding, “Have I said lately that I LOVE poker? Thank you, WPT!”
The inaugural award, which will be given to those who represent outstanding contributions to the WPT and the poker community at large, is a natural to end up in the hands of Johnson. Along with being the first tournament director of the WPT and an announcer at their events, Johnson was integral to the actual birth of the poker circuit. Many of the tournaments that are now staples on the WPT Main Tour schedule are there because of the tireless efforts of Johnson, who organized the meetings that brought together the WPT founder Steve Lipscomb and casino mogul Lyle Berman with the casinos who hosted the biggest events in the game.
But Johnson’s efforts in the game go beyond what has been seen on the WPT circuit. The holder of a World Series of Poker bracelet (1997, Seven Card Razz), Johnson published CardPlayer Magazine for eight years before selling the business to Barry Shulman in 2001. After selling what is recognized as THE major magazine publication in the poker industry, Johnson moved on to make her impact in another area, player conduct in poker rooms.
Fighting against dealer and player abuse, Johnson was the founder of the Tournament Directors Association alongside other industry legends Jan Fisher, Matt Savage, and David Lamb in 2001. Since then, that organization has gone on to become the overseer of tournament rules that are used in hundreds of casinos around the world. As the Poker TDA was beginning to take off in the mid-2000s (along with her work in the WPT), Johnson would add another feather to her cap in becoming the chair of the Poker Players Alliance and, most recently, continuing her work with that organization as a member of its Board of Directors.
The WPT Honors trophy will go along nicely with the other awards on Johnson’s mantelpiece. A member of the inaugural class of the Women in Poker Hall of Fame in 2008, Johnson joined her fellow WiPHoF classmate Barbara Enright in the Poker Hall of Fame in 2011, becoming at that time only the second woman ever inducted into that prestigious Hall. The duo is also both members of the Seniors Poker Hall of Fame.
Hopefully the WPT Honors will have a better history than another endeavor that was meant to honor the greats in poker.
In 2004 (soon after its birth), the WPT created the WPT Walk of Fame at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles. Utilizing the same idea as Grauman’s Chinese Theater – in which honorees would be immortalized through their handprints, foot prints and possibly other recognizable features – inductees into the Walk of Fame sunk their extremities into cement for posterity. The inaugural class that year included the legendary Doyle Brunson, Gus Hansen (who was a terror in the inaugural season of the WPT), and actor James Garner (who portrayed cardsharp Bret Maverick in the television series Maverick). Unfortunately, the WPT Walk of Fame seems to have never caught on. There hasn’t been another person inducted into the WPT Walk of Fame since that inaugural class more than a decade ago.
Johnson will be given the inaugural WPT Honors award on February 27 at a dinner attended by her family and close friends. Congratulations to Linda Johnson for just the latest in the litany of honors that she so aptly deserves!
PokerStars announced a slew of new PokerStars Festival stops on Tuesday, indicating a rapid expansion of the new live poker tour into Latin American and Asia. The first of these stops, Chile, will come after the previously scheduled upcoming stops in London and Rozvadov.
“We are excited to take our PokerStars Championship and PokerStars Festival across the globe bringing our vision for live poker to a whole new level, ensuring a year filled with far more winning moments than ever before,” said PokerStars’ Director of Live Events, Edgar Stuchly, in Tuesday’s press release. “The wide range of poker events on offer in new and exciting destinations shows the expansion of poker and underscores our commitment to growing the game while providing the best live poker experience to players all over the world.”
As our readers may well know by now, PokerStars killed off the European Poker Tour (EPT) at the end of 2016, replacing it with two new tours: PokerStars Championship and PokerStars Festival. It seems that the PokerStars Championship will approximate what the EPT was in spirit, with 10-11 day events at major casinos around the world and €/$ 5,000 Main Events.
The PokerStars Festival is the little brother to the Championship, not unlike the World Series of Poker Circuit. The Festival will typically be at lesser-known venues, the stops will be a bit shorter, and the events will mostly come in at lower price points.
Before the PokerStars Championship began – before the EPT was even dead – the PokerStars Festival kicked off at the Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City. In a couple weeks, it will head to London.
In today’s press release, five more PokerStars Festival stops were announced:
PokerStars Festival Chile – May 20th to May 27th – Vina del Mar Hotel & Casino
PokerStars Festival Marbella – June 19th to June 25th – Casino Marbella, Spain
PokerStars Festival Korea – July 14th to July 24th – Paradise City, Incheon, South Korea
PokerStars Festival Manila – July 28th to August 7th – PokerStars LIVE at City of Dreams Manila
PokerStars Festival Uruguay – September 16th – September 23rd – Conrad Punta del Este Resort & Casino
When PokerStars announced in August 2016 that it was retiring the European Poker Tour brand name and launching the PokerStars Championship and PokerStars Festival, the company gave a quick reason for ending one of the most prestigious live poker tours on the planet:
“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”
As we can see, PokerStars is certainly expanding this transformed EPT outside of Europe. Only of the five PokerStars Festival stops listed above is in Europe. Two of the three previously scheduled Festival stops (London and Rozvadov) are in Europe.
Though the press release seemed to imply that PokerStars Championship stops had been added, none have been. The upcoming schedule for the PokerStars Championship still includes just the stops that had already been known: Panama, Macau, Monte Carlo, and Barcelona.
It is said that if you’re going to go out, go out with a bang. The European Poker Tour is doing just that as, in their final Main Event in the illustrious tour’s history in Prague, Czech Republic, David Peters is holding the lead after Day Three with only 65 players remaining.
This will be the final EPT event ever because of changes instituted by the ownership of the circuit, Amaya Gaming. Instead of operating the EPT and various national sub-tours (the United Kingdom/Ireland Poker Tour and the Eureka Poker Tour, among others), Amaya Gaming has decided to close the doors on all of those and open “a new era” when the calendar turns to 2017 in a couple of weeks. Once the new year begins, there will be the “PokerStars Championships,” which will be huge tournament schedules located around the world, while the “PokerStars Festivals” will look to take the place of the regional tours around the world.
The players decided that, if the EPT was to be no more, then they wanted to be there for the final moments of action. Over two Day Ones (remember, the EPT Main Events offer only one shot), 1192 players came to the tables, topping the record for the event set back in 2014. Over the past two years, only the EPT Barcelona (which has been the kickoff for the season since 2014) has drawn in more players than the EPT Prague.
Day Two of the tournament was perhaps the most arduous for the players. Working their way down close to the money bubble of 231 players, tournament directors determined that, if there weren’t two eliminations before the end of the current level of play (Level 14, 1500/3000 with a 500 ante), then action would pause and everyone would come back on Friday with two people leaving with no money. If one person would be knocked off, then action would continue until the money bubble popped.
Of course, the obvious happened. One player, Espen Solaas, was eliminated by Apostolos Bechrakis rather quickly, ensuring another hour plus of play while the money bubble was popped. That came when Mike Brandau opened the betting and Attila Valentai three-bet his stack. Brandau made the call, showing pocket eights that were racing against Valentai’s Big Slick, and was rather unhappy when a King came in the window of a K-9-6 flop. A Jack on the turn kept Valentai in the lead, but the thunderbolt of an eight came on the river to give Brandau the set and the knockout, ending the day for the 231 players who earned at least a min-cash of €7560 from the event.
Friday’s play was a bit more rapid as the players looked to drive to the final table. Former EPT champion Nicolas Chouity (644,000) started off the day with the chip lead and the chance of another final piece of EPT history. In the 13-year history of the EPT, only one person – Victoria Coren-Mitchell – has ever won two EPT titles. With this being the final EPT, Chouity had the best shot at becoming the second person to pull off the feat.
The day belonged to Peters, however. After starting the day with only around 300K in chips, Peters never seemed to lose a hand throughout the day. In particular it seemed that Peters picked on Oleg Vasylchenko for chips as, during Level 16, Peters bet Vasylchenko out of a hand (with the board reading 8-2-A-9-5 with three spades) and picked up a nice pot. Their second clash would be much more dramatic.
In Level 17, Peters called a three-bet out of Vasylchenko to see another monochrome flop, a 9♠ 7♠ 6♠ arrangement. Peters would check his option and, after Vasylchenko pushed out 45K in chips, Peters moved all in over him. Vasylchenko considered his options for a moment, then called and showed a 10-8 for a flopped straight. Peters’ pocket sevens were good for a set, but he would need some help…which came in the 6♣ on the turn for a boat. Drawing dead, the meaningless K♠ sent Vasylchenko out of the tournament and catapulted Peters into the lead with 1.15 million chips.
Peters only kept climbing from that point, ending the action on Friday as the only player over two million chips.
1. David Peters, 2.036 million
2. Stoyan Obreshkov, 1.356 million
3 . Apostolos Bechrakis, 1.036 million
4. Janos Kurtosi, 1.026 million
5. Viteszlav Pesta, 1.025 million
6. Kyosti Isberg, 978,000
7. Andrew Hulme, 902,000
8. Marton Czuczor, 897,000
9. Hirokazu Kobayashi, 864,000
10. David Lopez Llacer, 862,000
With a win in this event, Peters would pass Fedor Holz for the CardPlayer Magazine Player of the Year award (Holz currently has 7058 points, Peters 6901). Peters would at the minimum have to make the final table to get by the German. On the other major POY race, the Global Poker Index POY, Peters is perhaps too far back to pass Holz, but he could pass Nick Petrangelo for second in the standings.
Action will continue at the Hilton Prague Hotel on Saturday at noon local time, with the plan to get the field down to the three tables. On Monday, the final champion in the history of the EPT will be crowned, with that player walking off with a €774,600 payday.