International Stadiums Poker Tour (ISPT) – Leave Stadiums for Sports Matches…

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Wembley Stadium will be as quiet as a tennis match at Wimbeldon, actually maybe even quieter during the International Stadiums Poker Tour if organizers don’t get their game plan in order or just cancel it altogether and let Wembley host a nice summer concert. The tournament format went from being a €6,000 buy-in event with 30,000 players all playing on laptops from seats inside the stadium to a €3,000 buy-in event with Day 1 to take place online beforehand across several associated poker rooms.

These same online poker rooms are also running satellites into the Main Event. Those satellites have started off quite dismal with too few players showing enough interest to even put up a measly €2.20 for a re-buy tournament into a Day 1 event. Several online satellites and even freerolls were cancelled due to poor turnout. To date, a total of only 13 players have qualified for Day 2 of the ISPT which is scheduled to take place at Wembley Stadium on June 1st alongside other side events. Those qualified players have chip stacks ranging from 107,162 to 13,525. Players with smaller chip stacks will surely be at a huge disadvantage to players buying in directly to Day 2 who receive stacks of 50,000 and this has been a major complaint about the format.

The ISPT prize pool also went from a once €30,000,000 guaranteed, then €20,000,000 guaranteed, but then changed to “expected”. It doesn’t look like it’s going to fly.

The organizers of this event are the well to do Tapie Family of France who will forever be remembered in the poker world for a failed attempt to acquire Full Tilt Poker. After suffering a bad beat to the Scheinberg Family of PokerStars who swooped up Full Tilt Poker from their grasp, the Tapie Family, anxious to keep their poker dream going announced the creation of the International Stadiums Poker Tour, a unique concept that would see poker players from all over unite to play poker in some of the world’s largest sports stadiums. It sounds really nice…but…

…like any other “successful” poker tournament of such a large magnitude, the participation of the online poker community is paramount to sending players from different countries through the addition of online satellite entries. ISPT have tried to do that with a few rooms…but…

…to date, only 2 online poker rooms have really mastered the art of filling major live tournaments with online poker satellites, PokerStars who promote their EPT, NAPT, LAPT successfully and Party Poker who own the WPT. The WSOP, while operating a modest online poker room in the U.K. for the time being, will receive honorable mention here because they actually receive free exposure from many of the world’s online poker rooms who run satellites to send players to Vegas for the biggest poker spectacle each year.

The future of the ISPT is still up in the air but you just never know, maybe the Tapie’s have an Ace up their sleeve.

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