Deal Between World Poker Tour and PokerStars Marks a Shift in Live Tournament World

April 17th, 2017 | by Jason Reynolds

The World Poker Tour (WPT) and PokerStars have joined forces for what could be an interesting new development in the live tournament arena.

PokerStars and World Poker Tour join together.

The WPT’S Adam Pliska announces a new joint promotion with PokerStars to give players more reasons to ante-up. (Image: revolutionpix for GPI)

With live tournaments getting tougher to win, costs increasing and players being expected to travel more miles, the WPT and PokerStars are working to add some more value to their events.

Titled the PokerStars Championship WPT MonteDam Swing, the idea is simple: players can win some bonus prizes by taking part in two festivals in Monte Carlo and Amsterdam.

Same Schedules But With a Twist

PokerStars Championship presented by Monte-Carlo Casino will mark the next stop on the tour that replaced the European Poker Tour (EPT). As with all PokerStars sponsored events, the Monte Carlo Championship will feature upwards of 70 tournaments with buy-ins ranging from €120 ($127) to €27,750 ($29,590) High Roller between April 25 and May 5.

Once PokerStars’ Monte Carlo event has come to a close, the WPT Amsterdam will run from May 5 to May 13. Like the event in Monte Carlo, players will be able to take part in a range of tournaments with varying buy-ins and prizes on the line.

But in a twist to the usual proceedings, players will be able to win more than a slice of the advertised prizepools. Any players that compete and cash in the following four tournaments in Monte Carlo and Amsterdam will be in with a chance of winning something extra:

$1,170 buy-in PokerStars National Championship Monte Carlo – April 26-30

$5,650 buy-in PokerStars Championship Monte Carlo Main Event – April 29-May 5

$1,600 buy-in WPTDeepStacks Amsterdam – May 5-8

$3,500 buy-in WPT Amsterdam Main Event – May 9-13

To be in with a shot at winning one of the five prizes, players have to finish in the money in the above tournaments and, the better their finishing position is, the more points they’ll earn.

Finish among the top five point earners after the conclusion of the WPT Amsterdam main event and players will win one of the following prizes:

1st place: PokerStars Championship Barcelona Main Event package (worth $8,000)

2nd place: WPT Main Event* package (worth $6,400)

3rd place: WPTDeepStacks* package (worth $3,200)

4th place: PokerStars National Championship Barcelona Buy-in (€$1,170) + Barcelona hotel voucher ($533)

5th place: WPTDeepStacks* Buy-in ($1,600)

A Landmark Moment For Tournament Poker

The new joint promotion is one that looks as though it will provide some extra incentives for players, but it may also suggest that PokerStars, the WPT or both organizations are struggling to attract new players. Live tournaments are much larger than they used to be back in the early noughties, but the margin for players has gradually been squeezed.

With fewer recreational players joining the action and the top tournament players all closely matched in terms of skill, the value in traveling around the world is slowly decreasing. This new promotion should help to return some value to regular players, but will it be enough to completely reverse what seems to be an inevitable reality?

Mergers and acquisitions have become a necessity for some of the major operators over the last two years and it seems as though the trend is now trickling down to specific events. This could lead to the amalgamation of more tournaments in the future and, potentially, less options for players.

Of course, the opposite could also be true and more partnerships between companies could create more opportunities for players. Whichever way it swings, it looks as though the industry is at a turning point and the deal between WPT and PokerStars could be the start of a new era in the live tournament arena.

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