[toc]PokerStars has announced significant changes to its European Poker Tour and other PokerStars Live events. All events will now be rebranded under the umbrella of PokerStars Championships and PokerStars Festivals.
PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker site, will be expanding its live events further beyond European borders with PokerStars Championships planned for Macau, New Jersey, the Bahamas and Panama.
Additionally, the site is launching PokerStars Festivals, which will carry smaller buy-ins and be more targeted towards recreational and casual poker players.
What are PokerStars Championships?
The PokerStars Championships will be replacing the European Poker Tour Main Events, carrying a buy-in of €5,000 or $5,000 for the flagship tournament. Each event will be part of a 10-day poker extravaganza featuring up to 100 side events and a large number of cash games.
The PokerStars Championships will have an all-new Player of the Year contest. Additionally, each stop will have a tournament leaderboard. The winner of this will receive a VIP package to the first PokerStars Championship the following year.
The first PokerStars Championship will be in the Bahamas, at the event formerly known as the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, in January 2017.
The series formerly known as the European Poker Tour has a reputation of being one of the toughest tournament series in poker, as the majority of local and European professionals will be playing many events.
PokerStars Festivals are a smaller, shorter version of PokerStars Championships, targeted at recreational and casual players with a €1,000 to €1,500 or $1,000 to $1,500 Main Event surrounded by 6-7 days of poker tournaments and cash games.
“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.
The first two PokerStars Festivals have been planned for New Jersey (Oct. 29 to Nov. 6) and London (January 2017).
A history of the European Poker Tour
The European Poker Tour was created by poker player John Duthie in 2004. Since 2011, it has been sponsored and controlled by PokerStars.
The inaugural European Poker Tour event was at the 2004 Barcelona Open, with Alexander Stevic winning an €80,000 first prize. For comparison, the most recent EPT Barcelona Main Event concluded just last week, with Sebastian Malec taking home €1,122,800 for his first-place finish.
The UK boasts the highest number of EPT champions with 17, including the only two-time EPT Main Event winner Victoria Coren. The next EPT event is scheduled to take place in Malta in October 2016.