Five New PokerStars Festival Stops Announced

PokerStars announced this week that it has added five new stops to the PokerStars Festival live poker tournament tour. There have been two stops on the tour to this point: PokerStars Festival New Jersey, which was held in October and November at Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City and PokerStars Festival Lond which just took place at the end of January. PokerStars Festival Rozvadov is coming up before the new tour stops get underway.

As our readers may remember, the PokerStars Festival, along with its “big brother,” the PokerStars Championship, was born out of the retirement of the European Poker Tour brand, also owned by PokerStars. As FlushDraw’s Haley Hintze succinctly explained in August, this was a branding strategy by PokerStars.

pokerstars-festival“The changes are designed to enhance PokerStars’ core brand recognition around the globe while seemingly borrowing from a successful blueprint employed by rival live tours such as the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour, both of which have launched successful satellite tours (WSOP Circuit; WPT DeepStacks, WPT National, etc.),” she wrote.

The elimination of the European Poker Tour and creation of the PokerStars Championship and PokerStars Festival also made sense strictly from a name and identity standpoint. The EPT was becoming too big to squeeze into Europe, as was evidenced by the existence of one of its most popular events, the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas.

“With the European Poker Tour (EPT) outgrowing its European borders, PokerStars is making its biggest live events even bigger, by encompassing key PokerStars sponsored events from around the world and bringing players worldwide the much-loved EPT experience,” said PokerStars in a statement at the time.

Of the two new tours, the PokerStars Championship looks like it will essentially be what the EPT was, the “big brother” tour, if you will. Here was how PokerStars described it when the Championship was announced:

PokerStars Championship events will take place in major cities, organised by the most prestigious casinos across the globe, and are designed to deliver the best poker experience on the planet for players of all levels. A PokerStars Championship event will typically last 10-11 days and feature extensive schedules of up to 100 tournaments, including a €/$5,000 Main Event and a variety of cash games. The first PokerStars Championship event, the PokerStars Championship Bahamas, will kick off on January 6 until January 14 in the Bahamas, previously known as the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Other confirmed PokerStars Championship stops are Barcelona, Monte-Carlo, Macau and Panama, with more stops to be announced in the coming months. The PokerStars Championship will feature a revamped Player of the Year competition, featuring a tournament leaderboard for 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.

The PokerStars Festival, in contrast, will feature shorter tour stops with tournaments at lower price points, likely to attract more of the recreational player crowd. The venues will generally be lesser-appreciated ones; for example, Resorts in Atlantic City instead of the Borgata.

Which brings us back to the announcement of the new PokerStars Festival stops. Here’s what we’re looking at:

PokerStars Festival Chile: May 20th to May 27th – Vina del Mar Hotel & Casino – $1,650 Main Event
PokerStars Festival Marbella: June 19th to June 25th – Casino Marbella (Spain) – €1,100 Main Event
PokerStars Festival Korea: July 14th to July 24th – Paradise City (Incheon, South Korea) – Main Event buy-in TBD
PokerStars Festival Manila – July 28th to August 7th – PokerStars LIVE Manila – $1,650 Main Event
PokerStars Festival Uruguay – September 16th to September 23rd – Conrad Hotel & Casino, Punta del Este – $1,650 Main Event

“We are excited to take our PokerStars Championship and PokerStars Festival across the globe bringing our vision for live poker to a whole new level, ensuring a year filled with far more winning moments than ever before,” said PokerStars’ Director of Live Events, Edgar Stuchly, a press release this week. “The wide range of poker events on offer in new and exciting destinations shows the expansion of poker and underscores our commitment to growing the game while providing the best live poker experience to players all over the world.”

Before any players head to one of those new PokerStars Festival stops, the PokerStars Festival Rozvadov (Czech Republic) is coming up from March 2nd to March 13th. It will be held at the King’s Casino and will have a Main Event with a buy-in of €1,100.

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