It's the biggest live tourney announcement PokerStars has made in recent memory, and it will forever change the way you look at PokerStars live events.
Today, PokerStars announced that beginning in 2017, all of its live events will fall under one of two tours, the PokerStars Championship and PokerStars Festival. It's a move that's been in the making since the days the European Poker Tour broke out of European borders. Now, the full PokerStars EPT experience is going worldwide.
This is the big one.
Starting with the first PokerStars Championship in the Bahamas (known formerly as the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure) January 6-14, 2017, the Championship tour will circle the globe and hit some of the biggest cities and prestigious casinos. Most stops will last 10-11 days and feature up to 100 tournaments, including a €/$5,000 Main Event and a variety of cash games. Stops in the Bahamas, Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Macau, and Panama are already planned, and more will be announced in the coming months.
The new tour will also mean a new Player of the Year contest with a tournament leader board at each stop. The player who tops each individual leaderboard will win a VIP package, including accommodation and PokerStars Championship Main Event buy-in for the first PokerStars Championship the following year, plus entry into a special invitational tournament featuring $100,000 winner-takes-all first prize. More information on PokerStars Championships can be found here.
Looking for something a little more affordable and fun? The PokerStars Festival events will be your thing. They'll last 6-7 days and be more like a poker holiday with a wide variety of events meant for recreational players. Each Festival will have a Main Event with buy-ins ranging from $1,000-$1,500. The first two Festival stops will be in New Jersey and London. Stay tuned for more on other planned ports of call. More information on PokerStars Festival events can be found here.
"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," said Edgar Stuchly, PokerStars' Director of Live Events.
WHAT TO EXPECT
This announcement is not just a matter of consolidating tours. As part of the new Championship tour, PokerStars has upgraded its PSLive registration system with an online platform for players to register for tournaments prior to events, a new mobile app for all PokerStars Championship events, and self-serve terminals to streamline the registration process. What's more, the tour will soon launch a new website providing a single stop for everything related to PokerStars sponsored live events.
"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," Stuchly said . "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."
GROWING POKER IN NEW JERSEY
To kick things off, the very first PokerStars Festival will happen in New Jersey October 29-November 6. Over the course of that week at Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, you can expect 40 poker tournaments with buy-ins ranging from $100 to $5,000.
Here are a few highlights from the schedule:
• November 1-5, $1,100 PokerStars Festival Main Event
• October 30-31, $340 PokerStars Cup
• November 4-5, $2,200 PokerStars Festival High Roller
• November 4-6, $230 PokerStars Open
We're expecting to see the likes of Jason Somerville, Daniel Negreanu, Barry Greenstein, Jason Mercier, Chris Moneymaker, and Vanessa Selbst during the Festival.
We'll also see a lot more.
Along with the poker, there will be a casino festival with blackjack, video poker, slots, and roulette tourneys. There will also be a StarsFun skills zone and a RunItUp Day with Team PokerStars Pro and Twitch superstar Jason Somerville. Also, stay tuned for details of a Survivor "Immunity" Tournament featuring Tyson Apostol and "Boston Rob" Mariano.
"We are committed to growing the poker market in New Jersey and part of this strategy is to help make New Jersey the poker hub of America in November," Eric Hollreiser, PokerStars' Director of Corporate Communications, said.
So, there it is. The new era of PokerStars live tours is upon us. Will we see you on tour? Let us know on our Twitter account: @PokerStarsBlog.
See you soon!
Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging. Follow him on Twitter: @BradWillis.