Posts Tagged ‘Tour’

Matt Savage and World Poker Tour Issues Statement Regarding Taking Shooting Star Off Season XVI Schedule

 Matt Savage and World Poker Tour Issues Statement Regarding Taking Shooting Star Off Season XVI Schedule

The World Poker Tour recently released the remainder of its Season XVI schedule and, for the most part, the usual suspects were a part of the roster of events. There was one quite noticeable absence, however, as the Bay 101 Shooting Star was not in its usual spot between the WPT L. A. Poker Classic and the WPT Rolling Thunder.

On the WPT schedule since the Season II schedule, the Bay 101 Shooting Star was one of the most popular tournaments on the WPT schedule. Until recently, it was unique in that it was the only bounty tournament on the WPT schedule. Players could enter the event (it started as a $ 10,000 buy-in tournament but, by last year, the buy-in was reduced to $ 7500) and, if they eliminated a few of the 50 poker professionals who were “bounties” in the tournament, they could eliminate their buy-in without having to cash. It also awarded a bonus payout for the leaders after the two-part Day Ones.

These little bonuses for the players brought them out in droves. Professional poker players scrambled to be named one of the “bounties” for the tournament, wearing it as a badge of honor to signify that they were a “notable” in the tournament poker world. It also translated into very nice crowds for the tournament. After starting in 2004 with what was then an unheard of 243 players (and a rousing final table that featured poker pro Phil Gordon defeating defending World Champion Chris Moneymaker for the championship), the 2017 version of the tournament brought in 806 entries, its best performance in its history (and saw Sam Panzica win his second event of the Season XV schedule).

Thus, the actual background on why the WPT didn’t have the Bay 101 Shooting Star on the schedule was a bit of a mystery. The reason for the removal of the fan- and player-favorite tournament wasn’t given in any press release from the WPT or from Bay 101, but now someone for whom the tournament is near to their heart has spoken up. In reaction to Poker News Daily’s editorial on the subject, WPT Executive Tournament Director Matt Savage reached out, clearing away the cobwebs as to why the Bay 101 was taken off the Season XVI schedule.

Poker News Daily: OK, let’s get right to it. Why isn’t the Bay 101 Shooting Star on the Season XVI schedule?

Matt Savage:  It was mutually agreed upon between officials on both sides that the Bay 101 would not be a part of the Season XVI World Poker Tour schedule. Bay 101 will always have a special place in the WPT history books and we would encourage players to continue to visit our friends at Bay 101 Casino.

PND:  Will the Bay 101 Shooting Star return to the schedule in the future?

MS:  We have seen events return to the WPT schedule in the past, as evidenced by the most recent return of the Lucky Hearts Poker Open (at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, FL) to the Season XVI schedule. We have a group of very exciting events on the roster, including the six newly announced stops, and we look forward to players joining us in Europe (the first-ever WPT European Championship will be contested in January) and throughout the United States and Canada.

PND:  The Bay 101 Shooting Star is something that is very close to your heart, having created the tournament. What are your thoughts on the subject?

MS:  If we are going to do the Shooting Star tournament, I want to do it right. The Shooting Star may be a no-go this year on the WPT, but of course I’d love to run it this year and, hopefully, we can bring it back to the WPT in 2019.

Poker News Daily would like to thank Matt for clearing up the story a bit regarding the Bay 101 Shooting Star. While it would be good to see it continue uninterrupted, players can hope that it returns in some manner – whether it be a “stand alone” tournament or as a part of the WPT roster of events.

The post Matt Savage and World Poker Tour Issues Statement Regarding Taking Shooting Star Off Season XVI Schedule appeared first on Poker News Daily.

Poker News Daily

World Poker Tour to Stream Tournaments over PokerGO

 World Poker Tour to Stream Tournaments over PokerGO

In an effort to keep up with the ever-changing times, the World Poker Tour has made the decision to live stream all its Main Tour championship events over PokerGO, the subscription streaming service from the former Poker Central.

“The World Poker Tour delivers the thrilling and action-packed poker programming our audience loves,” said Joe Kakaty, the president of Poker Central. “This partnership is part of our commitment to adding the best live poker programming to our already robust library of content and bringing it to our viewers around the world.”

Adam Pliska, the Chief Executive Officer of the World Poker Tour, added during the announcement, “Poker Central shares the World Poker Tour’s vision of high-quality, entertaining poker content, and we are proud to have such a committed partner to showcase our events. We look forward to continuing to elevate the WPT product and invite poker fans from around the world to watch the World Poker Tour live on PokerGO.”

Although Season XVI has already started, future final tables on the WPT’s Main Tour schedule will be shown over PokerGO, the subscription service that can be had for $ 10 per month or $ 99 per year. The first event that will show up on the PokerGO streamers will be the 2017 Legends of Poker, broadcast from the venerable Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, CA. When the final table convenes on August 31, the cameras for PokerGO will be on the scene to broadcast the tournament live.

This doesn’t mean that the WPT is ditching its longtime partner, Fox Sports. Fox Sports will have the cable broadcast rights to the WPT for the upcoming season, with the first episodes expected to begin later this year. The deal allows for the WPT to have a consistent streaming outlet and provide all their Main Tour events live, something that was very inconsistent in the recent past.

The move does present a mixed bag of thoughts, however. On the one hand, the World Series of Poker has shown that people want to see poker tournaments live, especially the final table of an event. The WPT has dabbled in streaming tournaments (see previous), but it has never committed to an actual live broadcast or streaming schedule of its tournaments, depending on the tape-delayed Fox Sports broadcasts to bring its product to the people.

On the other hand, however, the move by the WPT to live stream its events might be indicative of a bigger problem. Broadcasting the tournaments over a network outlet is expensive and, if the WPT could bring its product directly to the people live through streaming and save money, then the thought would have to be entertained. Furthermore, if it doesn’t look as if there will be an audience on television for the product, it might not be worth maintaining.

Even the WSOP Championship Event had issues with its final table. Ditching the “November Nine” format it had used for the last decade, the 2017 live broadcasts over ESPN weren’t exactly stellar. While there was an overall increase in viewers comparing 2017 to the 2016 “November Nine,” the average total number of viewers for the three nights (615,000), the final night of the tournament saw a decrease in the number of viewers. In 2017, 741,000 viewers watched Scott Blumstein seal the deal and win poker’s World Championship, a drop from the 780,000 who watched in 2016 as Qui Nguyen bested Gordon Vayo for the crown.

There are two paths forward for the WPT with their broadcasts. If this experiment works with Poker Central and PokerGO, then it would give the WPT the opportunity to depart the cable spectrum and simply broadcast their events live over PokerGO. PokerGO, however, hasn’t demonstrated that it is the answer. Many have complained of the quality of the streaming product during the WSOP, while some have also complained that paying for what they’ll eventually see on a major cable network is a useless endeavor.

For now, the WPT will be collaborating with Poker Central, PokerGO and Fox Sports 1 for its broadcasting needs. Whether that will be the case in the future remains to be seen.

Poker News Daily

World Poker Tour Announces Creation of WPT Japan

 World Poker Tour Announces Creation of WPT Japan

The World Poker Tour (WPT) announced Wednesday that for the first time, the Tour will be making a trip to Japan. Partnering with the Japan Poker Union Corporation, the World Poker Tour will launch the new WPT Japan in Tokyo November 23rd through November 26th.

“The Japan Poker Union Corporation is very pleased to partner with the World Poker Tour on this brand new event, WPT Japan,” Japan Poker Union Corporation’s representative, Yabuuchi Nobuhiro, said in a press release. “The World Poker Tour is the perfect brand to help launch a new chapter for poker in our country, and we look forward to hosting players from all over at WPT Japan and showcasing all that this great region has to offer.”

There will be just four events at WPT Japan, which makes sense, as the WPT likely wants to test the market before getting too ambitious. Qualifiers for the tournaments will be held at local poker clubs.

Interestingly, it looks like these events might actually be freerolls. Normally, when the WPT issues a press release about a new tour stop or even just one hyping the return to a location that has been on the schedule for years, some mention is made of what the buy-ins will be to the events, or at least to the stop’s championship event. In this press release, there is no such discussion of buy-ins. It is possible that they just haven’t been set yet, though one would expect the WPT to explain this in the announcement. Admittedly, I don’t know much of anything about Japanese gambling laws, but perhaps the reason for no buy-ins could lie there.

Further evidence of the tournaments being sans buy-in is that the WPT states, “Prizes for all WPT Japan events will consist of packages to future WPT events. The WPT Japan Main Event winner will receive a package to both the Season XVII WPT Main Tour event in Beijing, plus another WPT event of their choice in the Asia-Pacific region.”

If there were buy-ins, there would almost certainly be cash prizes and if there were no cash prizes, there would be an explanation as to why.

Participants in the WPT Japan tournaments will also earn points toward the WPT Asia-Pacific Player of the Year leader board. The winner of the POY race will get a $ 15,000 prize package for any WPT event in the Asia-Pacific region, including complimentary accommodation.

“The World Poker Tour is honored to partner with the Japan Poker Union Corporation for this momentous occasion, not only the history of the World Poker Tour, but for our industry,” said WPT CEO Adam Pliska. “Japan is a truly spectacular place, and the Japanese poker market is a flourishing one that deserves to be showcased on a global stage such as the World Poker Tour. Having spent a considerable amount of time in Japan, I strongly encourage poker players of all levels from around the world to come to Japan and experience first hand everything this beautiful region has to offer.”

Poker News Daily

World Poker Tour Changes Tournament Formats, Goes To “Shot Clock” For Events

 World Poker Tour Changes Tournament Formats, Goes To “Shot Clock” For Events

After experimenting with it during its closer of season event for the past two years, the World Poker Tour became the first tournament circuit to shift its tournaments to run on a “shot clock.” Furthermore, the Season XVI events will be played in an eight-handed format, a change from the nine or ten player tables of past years.

The World Poker Tour is proud to be the first to implement the Action Clock across all of its Main Tour events,” said Matt Savage, the WPT’s Executive Tour Director, during the announcement of the rule changes. “Many players, both recreational and professional, have expressed concerns that unnecessary tanking has taken a lot of the fun out of poker. Poker should always be fun, and it was a no-brainer decision to bring the Action Clock to all WPT Main Tour events following its success in the WPT Tournament of Champions and WPT500 Los Angeles. With the Action Clock, more action equals more fun, and who doesn’t want more fun in poker?”

The “Action Clock” will be sponsored by Protection Poker and it will be used at all future WPT Main Tour events. The rule will not be utilized for the entirety of the tournament, however. It will be implemented when the tournament reaches the last table before the money bubble pops and last until the end of the tournament. There are also extensive rules on the options the players will have in making their decisions.

Once the “Action Clock” is implemented, each player will be given four “time extension” chips that are of 30 second value each. The players can use those as they see fit – one at a time or all at once for a critical decision – and if they use them all, they’re gone…for a bit. When the tournament reaches three tables, the remaining players are reset to six “time extension” chips with the same rules in effect. When the six-player final table is determined, those players will receive eight “time extension” chips to go to war with.

“Protection Poker is pleased to expand its partnership with the World Poker Tour to bring the Action Clock to all WPT Main Tour events,” said Cavin Quintanilla, the Chief Executive Officer of Gaming Advancement Marketing Entertainment, LLC, the ownership behind Protection Poker. “The World Poker Tour is poker’s most player-friendly tour, and we look forward to players experiencing the ‘Action Clock’ on a global scale.”

This rule is only being applied to the players one table from the money, but another rule change being implemented by Savage could have even more of an effect on WPT events. Traditionally, the WPT starts at a nine-player table – the industry standard, for the most part – with an occasional step to a 10-player table should the tournament be bigger than normal. For Season XVI and moving forward, the WPT will be working with the casino properties that hold their events and change over to an eight-handed table.

The change to an eight-handed table versus a nine- or even ten-handed table is significant for a couple of reasons. First, the play will move around the table incrementally quicker for the players, perhaps forcing the action in places where it would normally have been more sedate. Second, the move will make for a more comfortable setting for the players, something that is more important than the public might think.

As stated by Savage, the “Action Clock” has been utilized at the WPT Tournament of Champions for its two-year history. The players in the event, former WPT champions all, have stated that its usage was excellent for those tournaments. Two-time WPT champion Daniel Negreanu has been a loud proponent of the usage of a “shot clock” in poker, saying that playing the Tournament of Champions and other “shot clock” events have spoiled him to the point that he doesn’t like playing No Limit Hold’em events without the device.

There are those who aren’t enamored with the idea, however. Some believe that having the “shot clock” will be detrimental to newcomers taking part in WPT events because of the added pressure. There is also the question of its implementation. Poker professional Ari Engel brought this point up (noting he has played in only three tournaments implementing the “shot clock”) in stating on Twitter, “Have not played many…but when I did the clock was not implemented universally fairly. Need A+ dealers for shot clock.”

No indication was given during the announcement that this is only a test period, so it appears that the “Action Clock” rule is now the norm with the WPT. Whether other circuits implement it remains to be seen.

Poker News Daily

World Poker Tour Announces WPT European Championship

 World Poker Tour Announces WPT European Championship

Perhaps looking to partially fill the void left by the termination of the European Poker Tour, the World Poker Tour (WPT) announced today the addition of the Season XVI WPT European Championship to the schedule, a poker festival culminating with the WPT European Championship €3,300 Main Event. The entire tour stop will run January 5th through January 15th next year at Spielbank Casino in Berlin, Germany, with the Main Event going January 10th through close.

“It is with great pleasure that the World Poker Tour announces the WPT European Championship and the return of a televised event to Europe,” said Adam Pliska, CEO of the World Poker Tour. “Much has changed since the WPT’s last televised European event in Season XII, but one thing that has remained certain is Europe’s incredible enthusiasm for poker. The continent is home to some of the world’s most talented poker players, including several WPT Champions Club members. We look forward to hosting the entire poker world in Berlin for the televised WPT European Championship.”

The World Poker Tour is also mixing its tours in a sense with the WPT European Championship, starting off the stop with a €1,500 WPTDeepStacks Event (by the way, why are there no spaces in WPTDeepStacks?).

“As poker’s premier mid-major tournament circuit, WPTDeepStacks is excited to be the opening event of the WPT European Championship festival,” said Executive Director of WPTDeepStacks Chris Torina. “Offering our €1,500 buy-in WPTDeepStacks Berlin event in combination with the WPT European Championship €3,300 Main Event, plus all of the other great events we have filled the schedule with, will create one of the best festivals not only in Europe, but around the world.”

Interestingly, with as long as the World Poker Tour has been around, this will be the first time it has made a stop in Berlin. Marcel Langner, Director of Operations for Spielbank Casino, expressed his excitement in the WPT statement:

Spielbank Casino is honored to partner with the World Poker Tour to welcome the WPT to Germany for the first time in its rich history. Poker’s popularity in Europe is no secret. We are proud to welcome players not only from across all of Europe, but the entire world, and to showcase all that this amazing region has to offer on the global stage of the World Poker Tour.

As of right now, the WPT European Championship will slot in as the caboose of the WPT schedule, coming a month after the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.

There have been just two WPT stops so far this season, WPT Beijing and WPT Amsterdam. The remaining seven – not counting the WPT European Championship – are all in North America, starting with WPT Choctaw in August. There will surely be more stops added, though, as mainstays such as WPT Bay 101 younger, popular stops such as WPT Rolling Thunder have yet to appear on the list.

Poker News Daily



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