Tournaments grab headlines and attention like nothing else in the game. Fans love the drama unfolding in the late stages, television loves the tension and all poker players have imagined what it must be like to take down a life-changing score.
The All Inn Prague Casino & Hotel dropped a bombshell announcement this weekend, claiming that it will bring all those things to the poker world in a daring offer which is set to mark the opening of its establishment next year.
New tournament set to offer €88,000,000 prize pool
The webpage for All Inn Prague Casino & Hotel says that it’s casino will open in October 2020, with the date set to coincide with a lavish tournament on October 8th 2020 called the AIPT Main Event.
The buy in will be €50,000 and satellite tournaments begin on September 20th this year with players able to start their satellite journey for just €8. Astonishingly, the 1st prize for this event is being advertised as €50,000,000 (US$55.1 million).
Titled “Billion Madness in Prague” the webpage posting opens with the words “What would it be like to win over 1.25 billion CZK (€50,000,000)?” and goes on to explain that a tournament with an €88,000,000 (US$97.1 million) prize pool has been scheduled to mark the opening and to commemorate the 88th birthday of Haig Kelegian, who it claims is a giant of the poker world. The acronym AIPT stands for All Inn Poker Tour, which suggests this tournament could be one of several to take place in the future.
Some have voiced scepticism about the proposed tournament, which seems to offer over half of its prize pool to 1st place. There is nothing on the website to confirm the prize pool is actually guaranteed, only helpful sub-sections which explain that poker is a sport, not gambling and that even if you don’t know how to play you have the same chances of winning the tournament as Phil Ivey. Confusing.
Despite the oddities of the announcement, it is worth looking at how the tournament would stack up against other Super High-Rollers if it does indeed take place with the proposed figures.
- The inaugural Big One for One Drop tournament offered a prize pool of $42.6 million (€38.6 million). The AIPT Main Event would eclipse this figure and the prize pool would be almost quadruple that of the most recent instalment of the Big One for One Drop which had a prize pool of $24.8 million (€22.5 million).
- While the €50,000 buy in of the AIPT Main Event wouldn’t be anywhere near the highest recorded buy in set by Triton London’s £1 million event a couple of months ago, it would exceed Triton’s prize pool of $65.7 million by over $30 million and set an all-time prize pool record of at least $97.1 million, beating the 2006 WSOP Main Event’s mark of $82.5 million.
- If it pays €50 million ($55.1 million) to 1st place, the AIPT Main Event will also comfortably exceed the all-time record 1st place prize of $20.5 million set by Triton London.
New Casino brings a rival for King’s Casino in Rozvadov?
Given how well-established King’s Casino is in Rozvadov, you might think it surprising that another Czech casino would be looking to rival it, but in fact, there will be almost 150km between the two locations. The two will compete to a certain extent but are not direct neighbours geographically. Rozvadov enjoys partnerships with the WSOP and partypoker and is very well known around the world, but All Inn Prague claims it will be the largest casino in central Europe. The complex will feature a vast casino area along with fitness and health centres and a hotel with 125 “superior rooms” and 14 suites.
The casino will offer over 1,000 slot machines on its floor space of 6,000m squared, along with daily poker tournaments. It also offers almost all table games you would expect to find in a casino and claims to have been modelled on the biggest casinos in Las Vegas.
Scepticism from the poker world
From the moment the announcement was made, the poker world’s eyebrows were raised, with many people unconvinced about whether the tournament is genuine.
There is no mention of the word “guaranteed” anywhere alongside the huge numbers suggested by All Inn Prague and the forum 2+2 has seen several players dismissing the announcement as a publicity stunt.
As one user stated, “I doubt that they can get 1760 entries for a 50k into a new build casino in Prague even if they run tons of satellites… without a big online site aka PokerStars or partypoker giving away 500 seats”.
The language used in the announcement, coupled with the proposed numbers being wildly ambitious in terms of required field size suggest that the tournament may not be everything it seems.
If it does indeed turn out to be a publicity stunt, it will have worked on the surface, but will the new casino have tarnished its own reputation by misleading potential customers? If that does turn out to be the case, any rivalry it hopes to pursue with King’s Casino will not be off to a good start.
Article by Craig Bradshaw