2010: New tours and new regulations
The 2010 PCA kicked off the year in a special way: it also served as the debut event of the new North American Poker Tour (NAPT).
In February, the NAPT made its first trip to US soil, when it arrived at the Venetian in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Soon after, the Russian Poker Series (RPS) kicked off in Kiev with a $688,215 prize pool. Kirill Telezkin beat out 257 others to win the event and $171,350. This growing internationalization of the game was also reflected in the PokerStars client, where PokerStars introduced the ability for players to store their account balance in Euros, British Pounds, and Canadian Dollars, all in addition to American Dollars.
The Big Game Arrives
As the poker world continued to mature, and the poker public became more sophisticated, PokerStars launched a new TV show in the USA called The PokerStars Big Game. It allowed players to qualify online to play on the show, and, at the same time, The PokerStars Big Game website went live with in-depth analysis of the show’s action.
Over in Europe, PokerStars obtained local licenses in both France and Estonia, leading to the deployment of PokerStars.fr and PokerStars.ee. This allowed players to participate in locally regulated markets, giving players greater confidence in the games that they played.
Despite French players no longer being able to play on PokerStars.com, the 2010 WCOOP blew all previous series out of the water with a record prize pool of $63,157,150 across 63 events. The WCOOP Main Event reached a prize pool of $12,215,000, and first prize was $2,278,097, the largest payout ever in online poker.