After stops in the Bahamas, Panama and Macau, the PokerStars Championship series is coming to Europe for the first time.
We're now three events in to the new PokerStars Championship series that took over from the ever-so-successful European Poker Tour and the reviews have been mixed.
Which is actually quite good, considering that every poker tournament ends with only one happy player and not everyone is able to overcome their disappointment.
Will this month's stop in Monte Carlo be able to revive the spirit of the EPT? The small principality in Southern France is an 11-time host of EPT events and is one of the most frequented stops in the history of PokerStars.
There is undoubtedly a magic to Monte Carlo so it's no surprise it's again part of the new schedule. What kind of poker magic is in store this time around?
PSC Monte Carlo Key Events
The PokerStars Championship presented by the Monte Carlo Casino runs April 25-May 5. These are a few of the highlight events:
- PokerStars Open: May 3-5 - buy-in €220; €50,000 guaranteed
- PokerStars Cup: April 26-29 - buy-in €440; €200,000 guaranteed
- PokerStars National Championship: April 26-30 - buy-in €1,100; €1,000,000 guaranteed
- PokerStars Championship Main Event: April 29-May 5 - buy-in €5,300
- Opening NLH: April 25-27 - buy-in €10,300
- PLO: May 1-2, 2017 - buy-in €10,300
- PokerStars Championship High Roller: May 3-5 - buy-in €25,750; €1,000,000 guaranteed to the winner
- Single-Day NLH: April 30 - buy-in €50,000
- PokerStars Championship Super High Roller: April 27-29 - buy-in €100,000; €1,000,000 guaranteed to the winner
Everything is a little more expensive in Monaco, which is why you can still find higher buy-in tournaments here than anywhere else in Europe.
In addition to the €10k High Roller events there will also be a €25k, a €50k and a €100k Super High Roller tournament on the schedule.
PokerStars have also guaranteed large prize pools for the lower buy-in tournaments, which means the PS Open and PS Cup need around 500-600 players and the National Championship 1,000 players to avoid overlays.
This is some real additional incentive to play as the €2k, €1k and the Weekend Deep Stack events have guaranteed prize pools.
Two of the High Roller events guarantee €1m to the winner for the first time as part of the “PokerStars Makes Millionaires” promotion.
The main event remains a €5,300 buy-in event and it’s still possible to satellite into the event for just €10 via Spin & Gos.
The Monte Carlo Experience
PokerStars events have taken place in many outstanding places but nothing beats the Grand Ballroom of the Monte Carlo Bay Resort.
Even Samwise came to play.
The ceiling looks like an endless starry night sky, but it gets even better.
When the weather is nice, which it often is on the French Riviera, they open the roof so players are almost playing on the beach.
The Grand Ballroom is so irresistible it even reaches into Middle Earth, whence Samwise Gamgee once came to play.
Monte Carlo is also the place that has seen some of the largest 1st-place payouts in the history of PokerStars Live.
Last year Jan Bendik, pioneer and legend of Czech poker, took down the first prize to become the second player over 50 to win an EPT Main Event in Season 12.
He's also the last player to win a PokerStars main event in Monte Carlo.
Bubble and Drive a Ferrari
At most of the PokerStars Championships there are several additional activities on offer. In the past, football and Formula 1 simulations caught many players’ attention.
This year, there will be a Virtual Reality Challenge. In this offer you get to play VR games for free and you can win prizes every day.
There will be free VR sets and some cool PS merchandise on a daily basis, plus food vouchers, which in Monte Carlo often is better than money. The best player across the PSC will get a full VR set to take home with them.
In addition to the regular Players Party with open bar where you can watch Klitschko vs Joshua live on TV, online qualifiers get to “Meet & Greet” each other and some of the team pros over a casual drink in the Monte Carlo Bay’s Blue Gin Bar.
The king of the Monte Carlo StarsFun this year is definitely the opportunity to drive a Ferrari for free!
At several of the PSC tournaments there will be draws and all the winners will have a unique driving experience across the municipality of Monaco.
All players who bubble live satellites will get to ride the Prancing Pony, which will instantly let them forget any frustration.
Oh, and in case the Ferrari is not available PS will have a Lamborghini as a surrogate. You OK with that?
Start your qualifying journey for the PokerStars Championship by opening up an account via our review page here.