A brand new concept which will either flop or flourish, the International Stadiums Poker Tour (ISPT), has finally been scheduled for late May 2013 and will be taking place at the legendary Wembley Stadium in London, England.
The concept will consist of a combination of online and live play that will allow up to 30,000 players from all over the world to compete against each other on digital tablets. Players will be required to bring their laptops to play.
The tournament will feature a €600 buy-in and the organizers are expecting a huge turnout and an estimated prize pool of approximately €20 million.
The tournament is the brainchild of French business magnate Bernard Tapie and his son Laurent Tapie, best known recently in the poker world for their failed acquisition attempt of Full Tilt Poker.
The tour has recruited four ambassadors from the professional poker community: Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi, Liz Lieu, David Benyamine and Sam Trickett.
There have been many concerns over the viability of the concept of having 30,000 players sitting together in a stadium possibly for so many hours and days. The logistics alone can present huge problems for such a huge setup. Things such as, arranging the seating for so many people, sufficient internet access and bandwidth for 30,000 people, bathroom visits during the breaks, the lack of comfort sitting on stadium seats for prolonged hours, and to a lesser degree the possible collusion.
The event will be a total of seven days but only the first two days will be played on tablets for a total of 8 hours per day where the 30,000 player maximum will be weeded down to 10% of the field who will advance to live play. The tournament structure is a bit unusual in that during the first two days where players will play online, the blind levels are 20 minutes long. During days 3 to 6 of the live play portion, the blind levels are 2-hours long and on the final day they are 1-hour long. Players will start with 5,000 chips and be allowed 1 re-buy of 5,000 chips and 1 double add-on of 10,000 chips.
Players can choose to buy-in at the start of the tournament for €600 or buy-in directly to the live portion of the event for €6,000 euros. The live portion will be played on the stadium grounds of Wembley.
Many argue that it simply does not make any sense to host such a tournament which is essentially playing online poker from outside your home and that it would not be cost effective for players to travel and be confined to play under such a setup. The prize pool potential is a huge if it does reach 20 million euros but players who think about it may decide that it makes more sense to play a tournament online from the comfort of their own home, in their underwear if they want.
But where would the game of poker be if we didn’t experiment with new concepts?
If the inaugural ISPT proves to be successful, it will surely expand into other venues around the world.
If you want more info on the International Stadiums Poker Tour you can visit www.ispt.com