PokerStars, the biggest online poker website in the world has introduced a number of changes to its policies, procedures and bonus formats in 2016 and most of these changes did not go down well with the global poker community. The online poker giant recently announced that it was making significant changes to its live poker tournaments as it looked to re-brand its European Poker Tour (EPT) as well as a number of other poker tournaments.
The company has decided to split its live poker tournament scheduled under two different banners which will be the PokerStars Championship and PokerStars Festival. These changes are expected to commence from 2017 and the EPT will receive a global push based on comments made by Neil Johnson, the EPT Tournament Director.
Johnson states that the new PokerStars Championship will look very similar to the EPT and will consist of hundreds of tournaments that are usually spread across a ten day schedule. These tour stops will feature a number of exciting high roller events as well as smaller tournaments that showcase a number of poker variants, cash games and a special $5,000 Main Event. One of the main reasons for this re-branding is to take the tour globally and enter markets such as Latin America and Asia.
The PokerStars Festival experience will focus more on regional stops and be marketed as an active packed poker vacation. PokerStars which entered the New Jersey market earlier this year plans to launch a PokerStars Festival that will feature as many as 40 events in Atlantic City. There will be both small and large scale events to enable as many players as possible to particulate. Some of the small events will include $230 PokerStars Open and a $340 PokerStars Cup while the bigger events will include a $2,200 PokerStars Festival High Roller and a $1,100 PokerStars Festival Main Event.
A number of poker players have shown their support for the new changes as they believe it will make poker more exciting by taking the tour to new markets and growing the global poker community.
In a statement, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, a Team PokerStars Pro said “It’s going to be a huge opportunity for everyone in the world to play poker together. I can’t wait to be part of it.” Team PokerStars Pro Jake Cody said he was a little sad to see that there will be no EPT Deauville, which Cody won in 2010 but said overall he was happy that poker was growing globally.