888Poker, Partypoker and Pokerstars expand their live ambitions

888Poker, Partypoker and PokerStars currently hold the distinction of being among the largest online poker rooms in the world, but despite their virtual tables seeing plenty of action, these companies have a growing interest in expanding their live tournament offerings.

Russia: The new frontier?

When it comes to live poker, Russia is almost as unchartered as China in terms of hosting poker tournaments. Despite gambling being banned in most areas of Russia, four places are currently able to host live poker events. It used to be just three, in the form Primorie, Siberian Coin and Yantarna, but now Krasnodar has also been added to the list. Krasnodar is the region in which Sochi can be found. The city hosted the Winter Olympics of 2014 and also the Chess World Championship in the same year.

Sochi Casino

Both PartyPoker and Pokerstars are set to oversee events in Sochi later this year. It’s a major announcement considering the fact that the last poker event hosted in Russia took place nearly ten years ago.

PartyPoker Million Sochi

Announced in January, Partypoker’s “PartyPoker Million” will be the first national event opened to the general public and will feature a $1,100 buy in. This latest development comes hot on the heels of Partypoker and WPT parting ways, and heralds the beginning of a series of global live events which will be held under the ‘PartyPoker Million’ banner.

The Sochi festival will include day 1 events held both live, and online – and day 2 events held at Sochi resort. Tournament will be held between the 12th and 27th of March with  $1,000,000 guaranteed including $200,000 for the winner.

Key Dates

  • Online Day 1a: Sun 12th March 2017 – $1,000 + $100 – Starts 21:00
  • Online Day 1b: Sun 19th March 2017 – $1,000 + $100 – Starts 21:00
  • Day 1C onwards will be live at Sochi Casino and Resort from 23th – 27th March 2017.

PokerStars Championship Sochi 

PokerStars is also undergoing changes right now with the EPT, APPT and LAPT having been scrapped recently, and ‘Pokerstars Championship’ and ‘Pokerstars Festival’ events taking their place. This is essentially a rebranding rather than a huge overhaul of what is being offered, but it does indicate that live poker is still very much at the forefront of Pokerstars’ mind, despite recent shifts in ownership. Choosing the location of Sochi shows real intent on their part. The PokerStars Championship Sochi will take place between May 20th and May 31st.

Key dates: 

  • PokerStars National Championship: May 20-25 – RUB 66,000 (approx. $1,160)
  • PokerStars Championship Super High Roller: May 23-25 –  RUB 3,000,000 (approx. $52,700)
  • PokerStars National High Roller: May 24-25 – RUB 132,000 (approx. $2,320)
  • PokerStars Championship Main Event: May 25-31 – RUB 318,000 (approx. $5,590)

888Live Barcelona

The third noteworthy live event to have been announced recently is the 888Live tour’s Barcelona festival. Since its launch in 2016, 888Live has stopped off in London, and also Rozvadov. Barcelona represents a logical next step to help establish the tour in mainland Europe. The real point of interest here is that 888Poker have shown a lot of ambition in the total prizepool guarantees they have set for this festival, with that number reaching 700,000 Euros across all events. The festival will run between May 11th and May 22nd.

Key dates: 

  • May 11 –  €220 Opening Event (€100,000 GTD – 3 days event)
  • May 17 –  €2,200 High Roller (2 days event)
  • May 18  –  €1,100 Main Event  (€500,000 GTD)

Article By Craig Bradshaw