Dusk Till Dawn Joins Forces with ISPT
The ISPT confirmed today that Dusk Till Dawn, the largest poker venue in Europe, will license, operate, and market the ISPT inaugural event at Wembley Stadium in London from June 1 – June 5. DTD’s Live Poker Director, Simon Trumper, well serve as Tournament Director for the Wembley Event.
ISPT also confirmed that DTD agreed to guarantee a 1st-place prize of €1 million for the Wembley event and to apply no more than 20% of the total prize pool towards 1st place.
Both developments had been rumored for weeks after a posting on an Irish poker forum by pokerireland.ie’s Stephen McLean and after the leak of a French ISPT banner ad detailing the guaranteed 1st-place prize.
The Wembley Event is a combination online-offline tournament, the first under the ISPT banner. Using a network of online partners, including DTD’s own online site on the iPoker network, ISPT is offering six Day 1 flights for the Wembley event between now and May 19, at a cost of €300 each. The top 10% of each flight on each online partner advance to Day 2 on the pitch at Wembley, bringing with them their exact chip count from the end of Day 1.
By guaranteeing the live-event winner a prize of at least €1 million, only 20% of which will come from the prize pool, DTD is betting that it can generate at least 1,852 buy-ins of €3,000 for Day 2 of the Wembley event. That marks a major step up from the £1 million guaranteed UKIPT Nottingham Main Event at DTD in 2012, which drew 1,625 players at £770 each.
DTD’s bet on the ISPT is not without risk for at least two reasons.
First, the event directly conflicts with the first week of the WSOP, a series that a majority of poker players with the means and desire to play in large buy-in poker tournaments head to Las Vegas to play. Second, the attitude of the poker community towards the ISPT is at best mistrustful after a seemingly endless number of revisions to the format of the tournament since it was first announced in 2011.
It may also be difficult to convince “satellite” players to take a gamble on an online Day 1 event, as the online portion of the event does not provide travel expenses for players that advance to Day 2 at Wembley.
All of those concerns were almost certainly known by DTD executives, but they’ve taken the plunge all the same.
“If Wembley is a success, I believe ISPT could be replicated in other iconic venues across the world generating huge prizepools and giving poker fantastic mainstream exposure,” said DTD owner Rob Yong.
DTD appears to be banking on that success. The organization is advertising flight and hotel deals for players, noted that the Wembley event will have upwards of 10 side events, and describes the Wembley event in a video advert as “a major event broadcast in 25 countries”.
The instant response by U.K. poker players has been largely positive, with many claiming that if any organizer can make ISPT a success it’s DTD. Even so, most seemed to temper their optimism about DTD’s involvement with skepticism that the well has already been thoroughly poisoned by ISPT’s previous mis-steps.