PokerStars chose the EPT Barcelona to unveil its two new global tours, in an announcement which took place on August 24th. The Amaya owned poker room spoke not only of plans for new live tours, but also about the replacement of an existing much-loved live tour. The EPT is currently in its 13th season, but will be discontinued in time for the new tours to be implemented in 2017.
PokerStars states that its new tours will bring players all the positive experiences they have come to enjoy at EPT tournaments and that the changes are essentially just an expansion of their live tour offerings, with tournaments being divided into two sub-categories.
‘PokerStars Championship’ events
‘Pokerstars Championship’ events will take place in major cities across the globe, with each event providing 10-11 days of tournaments. There will be a new ‘Player of the Year’ leaderboard, with prizes and special tournament invitations paid out to the best performing players at each stop on the tour. The Main Event tournaments in the ‘Championship’ events will feature a USD$5,000 buy in. This new project will begin on January 6th with the event formerly known as the PCA. The new event will be called ‘Pokerstars Championship Bahamas‘. Other confirmed stops include Macau, Barcelona, Panama and Monte Carlo.
‘Pokerstars Festival’ events
‘Pokerstars Festival‘ events are the second category created by PokerStars, and will feature 6-7 days of fun, in a way which caters primarily to recreational players. Each chapter of the tour will seek to create a holiday feel alongside more affordable buy ins, with New Jersey and London having already been confirmed as the first two stops. The Main Event for ‘Festival’ events will feature a buy in within the $1,000-$1,500 range.
The bigger picture
In some ways, this change of direction in live tours has echoes of the WPT, which has also categorised its events as either WPT Championship or WPT National. By having two different types of tour, PokerStars hopes to be able to market its events more easily while appealing to a wider audience that includes more recreational players. Bringing its brand to a global audience while maintaining the same high standards set by the EPT is now a key priority for the online giant as it expands further into the live arena. There are even small changes which may improve on previous tours, which players now able to use their online PokerStars ID to register for live events at self-service terminals.
Edgar Stuchly, PokerStars’ Director of Live Events, had the following statement to make with regards to the new live tours:
“We are always thinking of how to bring the best experience to players, through the variety of tournaments we sponsor, the ease of finding information, how we communicate to players and media, and the overall experience on and off the felt. The PokerStars Championship and PokerStars Festival events are an enhancement of the existing PokerStars sponsored live tours, helping to take our vision for live poker to a whole new level. The PokerStars Championship will include top-tier events that will visit the most exciting and prestigious destinations worldwide, similar to the much-loved European Poker Tour, while the PokerStars Festival events have a more regional feel, positioned as an action-packed poker vacation.
PokerStars Live – Announcement
Article by Craig B.