As the hangovers recede from the collective minds of many around the world, the tournament poker season wastes little time in getting started for 2012. In fact, there are more than a half dozen major tournaments scheduled in just the first month of January alone.
Kicking off the festivities is the first ever stop by the World Series of Poker Circuit at the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, CA. The preliminary events started on New Year’s Day, featuring a thirty three event schedule spread out until January 18. Thirteen of those tournaments will award a WSOPC Championship Ring to the victor, including the $1500 Main Event that begins on January 10 and finishes on January 18.
The international tournament poker scene will pick up later this week as two tournaments enter the spotlight. One of the biggest events on the overall tournament poker scene is the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, which will draw the crème of the international poker world to the Atlantis Resort & Casino at Paradise Island, the Bahamas on January 5. Although there will be a great deal of attention on some of the preliminary events – including two High Roller tournaments (Canada’s Will Molson will look to defend his championship in the $25K version), the Canada Cup competition and the World Cup of Poker – the true draw is the $10,000 Main Event.
The 2011 version of the PCA Main Event was the largest tournament that has ever been held outside of the confines of Las Vegas, drawing in a spectacular 1560 player field. The numbers for this year’s field may not achieve that astronomical number (it is unknown how the lack of American action on the site due to “Black Friday” may chop those numbers), but the PCA Main Event is considered one of the most difficult events on the tournament circuit. Coming back to defend his title will be Galen Hall, but it will be an arduous task.
For those that don’t feel like traveling to the Caribbean for a couple of weeks (or didn’t win their seat on PokerStars), the World Poker Tour has an offering that may pique interest. For the first time ever, the WPT makes a sojourn to the Emerald Isle for a €2500 Main Event at the Citywest Hotel in Dublin, Ireland on January 5. By this weekend, the first major event champion will be determined, as the final table of the WPT Ireland will play out on January 8.
In the middle of January, the Land Down Under will beckon the tournament poker world for its yearly pilgrimage to the Aussie Millions at the Crown Casino in Melbourne. Starting on January 12 and lasting until January 30, this year’s Aussie Millions features a 26-event schedule, including a $100,000 and $250,000 “Challenge” event. For the Main Event, a $10,000 buy in that begins on January 22, expect to see many of the top pros in action as veteran pro David Gorr looks to defend his championship.
The WSOPC will have two more events under its belt before the month of January concludes. The Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, OK, will host a stop on the WSOPC from January 12-23, while Caesars Palace in Las Vegas steps up to the plate from January 19-30.
The L. A. Poker Classic at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles holds what might be the longest tournament festival outside of the World Series of Poker. Starting on January 18, the L. A. Poker Classic is expected to offer over $20 million in prize pools across an array of tournament poker disciplines. The tournament series won’t conclude until February 29 with the WPT Main Event and the WPT Invitational wrapping up the action at the end of February.
Finally, the European Poker Tour opens its doors for its first event of 2012 at the end of the month. The EPT Deauville will take place at the Casino Barriere de Deauville from January 31 through February 6 with its €5000 Main Event. In this tournament, Lucien Cohen will look to go back to back for the first time in EPT history.
Add in a few smaller tournaments (the 2012 Alberta Poker Championship takes place beginning on January 16 at Casino Edmonton, the Beau Rivage in Biloxi is hosting “The Million Dollar Heater,” a $1 million guaranteed Main Event, on January 21 and the Isle Casino in Pompano Beach’s 2012 Isle Classic, a $2500 Main Event, takes place January 27) and the tournament poker schedule for January is definitely hectic. But poker players wouldn’t want it any other way, would they?