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Goodbye EPT: PokerStars Live Tours Reborn as Global Championships
PokerStars is completely revamping the structure of its live tournament schedule and individual tours like the EPT, APPT and LAPT will all be going away.
The entire schedule has been streamlined to fit every event under just two banners: PokerStars Championships and PokerStars Festival.
PokerStars Championship will be the bigger of the two and will be reminiscent of EPT events with numerous tournaments at each stop and a big buy-in Main Event.
Meanwhile PokerStars Festival will be a smaller scale event with a handful of tournaments and buy-ins for recreational players.
The PokerStars Championships
The EPT, APPT, and LAPT – the major poker tours in Europe, the Asian-Pacific region, and Latin America – are going to be combined into the PokerStars Championship.
Only the most successful stops will be kept in the schedule. Smaller events like APPT Seoul will not return.
On a side note, the former EPT event in Dublin is going to return to London for 2017. Monaco and Barcelona are definitely going to stay on the schedule.
There will also be new stops for the PokerStars Championship, some of which have never been on the schedule before. For now, PokerStars President of Live Tournaments Neil Johnson named Panama and Macau, although Macau has been part of the APPT for a while.
The top players of the Championship leaderboard will play a $100k live winner-take-all final at the end of the season.
The first event to be called “PokerStars Championship” will be the event at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas in January. Rumors that the Caribbean adventure would not return prove to be unsubstantiated.
Meanwhile EPT Malta in October and Prague in December will apparently be the last tournaments to occur under the EPT banner.
The PokerStars Festival
The “Festivals” will unite the smaller PokerStars poker tours, i.e. the Estrella, Eureka, and the Italian Poker Tour, but also the regional poker tours in the US.
The first stop to be called “PokerStars Festival” is going to be held around Halloween in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Here's a look at the tournaments on tap for the inaugural PokerStars festival in NJ:
- PokerStars Cup - October 30-31 ($300+$40)
- PokerStars Festival Main Event - November 1-5 ($1,000+$100)
- PokerStars Festival National High Roller - November 4-5 ($2,000 + $200)
- PokerStars Open - November 4-6 ($200+$30)
The main idea behind merging all the separate tours is to facilitate organization and presentation. All the events above will be accessible through a new, single website called pokerstarslive.com.
Player will be able to find all the information about the events, live and online satellites, travel, hotels, and additional offers through this one website.
There are no further official changes to the schedule yet, but according to Neil Johnson, there are more changes to come.
"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."