It’s Live Poker Tournament Time!

The holiday season is fantastic and though it was less than a month ago, I already miss it (in my household, it’s even crazier and more fun because both my wife and son have December birthdays – that’s a lot of presents). The problem for us in the poker world, though, is that the live tournament schedule slows to a crawl at the end of the year. It’s completely understandable, but just like those times I’m jonesing for a Baconator on Christmas Day, it can still be disappointing. The calendar page has turned, though, and we are now at the beginning of a frantic tournament poker season. Let’s take a look at what’s going on over the next two to three months. Happy New Year!

Did You Blink? You Missed Them.

PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) – PokerStars ditched the one-year experiment with the PokerStars Championship and PokerStars Festival and has reinstated the European Poker Tour (EPT) name. The PCA is back, too (it was called PokerStars Championship Bahamas last year), and is in its usual spot as the kickoff festival of the new year. The entire PCA schedule of 31 events just ended this past weekend, with Maria Lampropulos winning the PCA Main Event and $1.081 million. It was her second seven-figure cash in less than a year (she won partypoker MILLIONS Nottingham for $1.255 million in April 2017) as she became the first woman to win the PCA Main Event.

World Poker Tour (WPT) European Championship – just completed at the beginning of the week, this was the first WPT European Championship, the first WPT Main Tour event held in Germany, the first televised WPT Main Tour event in Europe in five years (wait…it’s the “World” Poker Tour, correct?), and the first WPT title for Ole Schemion. Oh yeah, and Schemion is a Berlin native. Not a bad moment for him. Not bad at all.

That’s Great, But Anything Happening as I Read This?

Aussie Millions – arguably the most prestigious non-WSOP, non-WPT, non-EPT poker festival on the calendar, the Aussie Millions, like the PCA, is a regular at the beginning of the year. They are in the midst of the 26-event schedule down in Melbourne, Australia (with tons of satellites on the official schedule, as well); the $10,600 Main Event begins Sunday, January 28th with the first of three starting flights. The final table will be played on Sunday, February 4th.

WSOP Circuit – the WSOP Circuit Thunder Valley (Sacramento area) is winding down while WSOP Circuit Horseshoe Tunica (Mississippi) is getting underway today. As always, there are a dozen ring events at each stop.

Mark Your Calendars

Time-extension chips

Time-extension chips at 2016 WPT Tournament of Champions
Photo credit: Marvin Rettenmaier Twitter @MadMarvin

There are loads of live tournaments coming up. If you miss one, don’t worry. There will probably be another the next day. Here’s a list, arranged by start date:

January 19th – WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open
January 26th – Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) Macau Poker Cup 28
January 28th – WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open
February 1st – WSOP Circuit Potawatomi (Milwaukee)
February 8th – WSOP Circuit Seminole Casino Coconut Creek (Florida)
February 10th – WPT Fallsview Poker Classic
February 16th – WSOP Circuit Rio Las Vegas
February 24th – WPT L.A. Poker Classic
March 2nd – WPT Rolling Thunder
March 3rd – WSOP Circuit The Bicycle Casino (Los Angeles)
March 8th – WSOP Circuit Harrah’s Atlantic City
March 8th – Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT) Chile
March 14th – APPT Macau
March 15th – WSOP Circuit Hard Rock Tulsa (Oklahoma)
March 20th – EPT Sochi (Russia)
March 22nd – WSOP Planet Hollywood Las Vegas

Phew (wipes brow).

Noticeably absent from the above list is an extremely popular event that would have normally been slotted in between WPT L.A. Poker Classic and WPT Rolling Thunder: WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star. This past fall, the World Poker Tour announced that the famous bounty event was not going to be on the Season XVI Main Tour schedule, to the dismay of many, myself included.

Thus, this year we won’t get to revel in Todd Brunson signing a t-shirt for the person who knocks him out and writing, “Rot in hell!!! You stupid luck box. Muther fucking dick face jackass internet punkass bitch.”

I mean, that’s some good stuff right there.

In an interview with Poker News Daily at the time, WPT Executive Tournament Director Matt Savage didn’t give much as an explanation as to why Bay 101 was off the schedule, saying, “It was mutually agreed upon between officials on both sides that the Bay 101 would not be a part of the Season XVI World Poker Tour schedule. Bay 101 will always have a special place in the WPT history books and we would encourage players to continue to visit our friends at Bay 101 Casino.”

Savage did say that he hopes to be able to bring Bay 101 Shooting Star back for 2019.

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