Looking ahead to news, numbers and Neymar Jr
Well, we made it. It's Friday, and that brings with it the delicious promise of the weekend, and all that might involve poker wise. But before we set our eyes on those prizes, let's look at those that emerged this week. It's only when we stop for a second that we notice how much has been going this week, which I considered one of the quieter ones.
If we were going to go in number order we'd start with the World Championship of Online Poker. SCOOP might only just have finished, but that won't stop us looking ahead to WCOOP later this year. The first draft schedule was launched this week, the highlight being the $10 million guaranteed Main Event. Why a first draft so soon? Well we want your thoughts on what you like about it and what you don't like. It's the players that make WCOOP what it is, so read the schedule here and let us know what you think.
So ten million for the WCOOP Main Event, and there's another million to be given away across four Zoom Turbo Freerolls. I'll admit, I rarely fully understand some promotions, instead I leave it to the better minds who organise them and the better minds that play them. But this one looks like a good one, with full details here.
It might not have as many zeroes, but $300,000 isn't bad either. That's how much is up for grabs for the summer leader boards, with $100,000 awarded to each winner between the months of June and August. This is your chance to prove you're no fluke, and that it takes more than a dash of luck to succeed in this game. It's a simple formula: your top twenty results count towards the leader board, with the top finisher in each month receiving $15,000. But don't take my word for it, get all the details here.
Numbers are all well and good of course, but sometimes a name can mean a whole lot more. One of my favourite pictures going around at the moment is of PokerStars Ambassador Neymar Jr with Andre Akkari. It's not the photo itself but what's going on in it. If anyone doubted Neymar Jr's passion for poker take note - he's the one taking the photo, a selfie with Andre Akkari, not the other way around. Although we know for a fact that Andre was pretty pumped about this moment too.
Anyway, Neymar Jr is going to be in Barcelona this summer, and not just for his day job. This is your chance to meet the man himself, as well as take a trip to Barcelona to watch a game and play a little poker, maybe even against him. It's a once in a lifetime experience for someone and you can find out how to enter by going to our "Meet your hero" promotion page here.
Away from the online world there's the real one, which we're happy to say we try to fill with poker whenever we can. The next event on the PokerStars schedule is one of our gloriously contrarian ones that inadvertently expresses contempt for any trading standards regulations. If the UK and Ireland Poker Tour does anything, it is the opposite of what it says on the tin. In this case it's heading to Marbella, Spain, for some summer sun.
And to be honest, who really cares if we contravene the strictest definition of "UK and Ireland"? They'll be 13 events in Marbella, which run from June 15-21. They include a €1,100 Main Event and a €2,200 High Roller. To be fair to the legal department, it is technically also part of the Estrellas Poker Tour. And while you're at it take a look at what's in store next Thursday, when Fatima Moreira de Melo and Leo Margets host their "Girls Night In" on Twitch at 19.00 CET live from Marbella.
Talking of the Estrellas, we have news on its Grand Final.
As the tour that tends to go nuts (let me explain) it's hardly surprising that the ESPT needs a little more space. The Grand Final last year attracted more than 2,500 players, which is why this year they'll be an expanded tournament area at Casino Barcelona with the addition of a large tent. You read that right. It should make for a great atmosphere as the ESPT finishes and the EPTs 12th season gets under way.
It's not just the size of the opening EPT festival that's designed to appeal. They'll be some additions to the schedule, most notably a €25K one-day Super High Roller, for those of a not-nervous disposition. But that's just one of 71 events scheduled, which run from August 18-30. After Barcelona the tour takes in Malta, Prague, the PCA, Dublin and Monaco, with a stop still to be confirmed in between those last two. Read the full story here.
I think that's everything. Did I mention that there's a full card of weekend majors tomorrow and Sunday?
Get in touch in the usual way on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog. For now, good luck to everyone this weekend.
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.