The PokerStars event schedule is going in for a makeover. Prior to the start of Day 2 of the European Poker Tour Barcelona Main Event, PokerStars pulled the spotlight to announce some major changes to their 2017 season. At the start of the new calendar year, all events will fall under two clear categories: PokerStars Championships and PokerStars Festivals.
PokerStars recently revealed that it'll host two new tours, the PokerStars Championship and the PokerStars Festival. The PokerStars Championship will have events all over the world in only the best casinos, and right now, an event will likely take about 10-11 days to complete. There will be about 100 tournaments on the docket for now, which begins on January 6 in the Bahamas. The PokerStars Championship will also head to cities like Macau, Monte Carlo, Barcelona and many others. The PokerStars Championship will have a Player of the Year award at the end of the Championship and there will be an updated leaderboard after each tournament. Players that are topping the leaderboard after tournaments can win VIP packages, accommodations and a buy-in for the main event. At this point, the details for the main event haven't been announced.
As far as the PokerStars Festival goes, those events will be shorter, roughly taking about a week. They'll will have a main event that has a buy-in of around $1,000 to $1,500. These events will cater to the type of players who are more the recreational type and the hope is that this will help reach out to new players. As of now, only two stops have been confirmed; London and New Jersey will serve as stops and will host events from October 29th to November 6th. Fans will be able to see some of the very best in poker at the Festival, such as Chris Moneymaker, along with Daniel Negreanu and Jason Mercier. There will also be some non-poker activities for players such as slots and roulette tournaments. Much like the Championship, viewers will be able to find the most up-to-date information on the Festival on the PokerStars website.
There are a couple of other events like the Smaller Stars-connected tours, the UKIPT and APPT, but both are expected to be rolled into the PokerStars Festival.
These are all moves made by PokerStars to liven up their product as they'll be retiring the European Poker Tour brand. The key for PokerStars will be to enhance the brand recognition. There are people in the industry who were aware of the EPT and PokerStars connection, but this way, the PokerStars name will be on more headlines throughout the year and it will be very clear. They are following the style of other live tours such as the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour, both which have launched satellite tours with similar names. The WSOP now has the WSOP Circuit while the WPT has tournaments like the WPT National and WPT DeepStacks.
The changes will actually start in late 2016 but will get into full gear in 2017.