Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Championships and Festivals

Been thinking some this week about how PokerStars has decided to change up things with regard to their several live tours, jettisoning the distinct tours in favor of a new series of PokerStars Championships and PokerStars Festivals.

It’ll be hard not to keep referring to the European stops as “EPTs” or the ones in Central and South America as “LAPTs.” I’ve had the great fortune to help report on several tournaments from both of those tours over the last few years, and even got to do an “APPT” over in Macau once.

I just got back last week from Barcelona for what is now going to be one of the last “EPTs” (technically speaking), although they’ll continue to go back to Barcelona for these PokerStars Championships going forward. At the end of the month I’ll be going to what I think will probably be my last “LAPT” down in Uruguay.

Those are the two PokerStars tours I’ve had the most experience with, and while on one level every poker tournament or tournament series is similar, they’ve always been kind of distinct in my mind, mainly because of the different player pools they attract. A few of the better players show up on both tours, but I’d have to guess a high percentage of players only play one or the other.

Since I’m not playing myself, I can’t really comment too much about player-related concerns, although my impression has always been that all of the PokerStars-run events have been especially well run. I’m going to guess there won’t be a lot of change going forward, with the same folks running the events in the same locations.

From my perspective, I’ll be most curious to see where the new global tours end up going -- that is to say, which stops remain, which go away, and how they’ll be divided among the “major” Championships and “minor” Festivals next year and thereafter.

Looks like during the first part of the year the Championships will include the Bahamas (January), Panama (March), and Macau (March-April). Meanwhile the Festivals get a head start this year in New Jersey (October-November) then in London (January). The PokerStarsLive site has details.

Like many, I’m someone who likes routines and familiarity, but also is attracted to novelty and change. So I’ll miss the old tour names and some of the continuity they provided, but I’m kind of intrigued to see what these new tours and events will be like.

Image: PokerStars Live.

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