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ISPT Wembley Event a Go but Questions Linger
The opening event on the International Stadiums Poker Tour is now scheduled for May 2013 at Wembley Stadium in London, but plenty of logistical obstacles remain for it to succeed in its quest to be the largest live poker tournament ever.
According to a recent update to the ISPT site and a live press conference held by ISPT director Prosper Masquelier and ISPT President Laurent Tapie in Paris yesterday, plans are moving forward for the "expected" 30,000-player tourney.
Originally launched in sync with the Bernard Tapie Group's plan to buy Full Tilt Poker, the inaugural ISPT event at Wembley has been delayed several times, due in part to the lack of a high-traffic online satellite provider.
But, according to the site, 2,119 players are now registered for the event and live and online qualifying will ramp up as of this month with over 7,500 spots locked in via Partouche.
Several aspects of the initial proposal have now been tweaked with the original €30 million guarantee dropped to €20 million, among other changes.
How the Event is Supposed to Work:
According to the ISPT site, players looking to participate in the event can either buy in directly on the site or qualify online or in partner casinos.
Partouche casinos will be a major satellite provider and will also run the live portion of the event at Wembley.
More than 1 million poker players are expected to participate in the first online qualifying rounds, according to the ISPT, with the 30,000 players who win the first round online expected to travel to London in May 2013 for a 6-day tourney at Wembley Stadium.
Once there, players will sit in the stadium stands and compete against each other via laptop and a wired connection to be set up at Wembley.
Originally, Masquelier explained in the press conference, devices were supposed to be provided by sponsor Orange but that has been scrapped and players are expected to bring their own laptops.
After two days of online play, the second stage of the live event will then see 3,000 players on real tables set up on the field of the stadium.
Those 3,000 will then play down to a winner over the next four days with the last man standing crowned the first ISPT champion.
Other Key Points from the Press Conference (as outlined by Benjo DiMeo on Wam-Poker.com):
- If you want to skip the online qualifying altogether, it’s possible to register directly for the live tournament for €600 or start on Day 3 for a €6,000 buy–in.
- Live and online satellites for ISPT will be organized in partnership with Partouche casinos and the iPoker Network. The live event will be run by Partouche.
- Partouche has reserved 7,500 seats to give away via satellite for the main event.
- A "fine structure" was guaranteed by Masquelier with live tournament rounds lasting two hours.
- Just 8% of the field will be paid and first prize should be €3 or €4 million.
- In case of bad weather, indoor rooms at Wembley will be used.
- A decision on what software will be used for the online portion at Wembley will be made by December 31.
- An opening ceremony along the lines of the Super Bowl hafltime show with a "major international star" will kick off the event.
Original promo video below: