End of an Era? PokerStars Championship Announced, EPT Gone

(source: PokerStars Twitter)
In a surprising announcement, PokerStars revealed that starting with 2017, PokerStars Championship & PokerStars Festival will be replacing all other tours, including EPT (source: PokerStars Twitter)

In a surprising announcement made earlier today, PokerStars revealed they would be introducing a new tournament series entitled PokerStars Championship, marking the end of the European Poker Tour.

The news came as a surprise for many given the fact the EPT brand is one of the best known brands in the poker industry and even beyond. However, the company believes this move is warranted seeing how PokerStars events have expanded well beyond the European borders.

PokerStars Championship & Festival in place of EPT

The official blog post explains that starting 2017, all PokerStars sponsored competitions will fall under the one of two umbrellas: PokerStars Championship or PokerStars Festival. The primary goal of the decision that caught many by surprise is to move the EPT outside the relatively narrow European borders and take it worldwide.

PokerStars Championship

The newly introduced PokerStars Championship will effectively substitute the European Poker Tour. Starting with the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in January 2017, currently an EPT stop, the new tour will pretty much stick to the old model in most regards.

PokerStars Championship
PokerStars Championship will feature stops in casinos around the globe, including Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, Macau, and Panama

There will still be more than 100 events on offer at different casinos around the globe. Main event will still feature a buy-in of $/€5,000. New stops that we should see in 2017 include Macau and Panama, in addition to already traditional events in Monte Carlo, Barcelona, and other EPT cities.

PokerStars Festival

The European Poker Tour is a lot of fun but it is also out of reach for most recreational players and even some professionals. With buy-ins ranging between €1,000 and €50,000, these events hardly fit under the “available to everyone” heading.

For those who find PokerStars Championship events outside of their price range, there is the PokerStars Festival. This new concept will feature smaller buy-in tournaments with main events in the $1,000 – $1,500 range.

This should enable players with smaller bankrolls and those who simply play for fun to enjoy the prime poker experience without it costing them an arm and a leg. New Jersey (Atlantic City) and London will be the first two stops of the new PokerStars Festival. Things will kick off in AC end of October.

About European Poker Tour

There is hardly a player or a poker fan out there who doesn’t know what the European Poker Tour is and what it stands for. Founded in 2004 by John Duthie, the EPT quickly became one of the most popular poker tours in existence.

Almost paralleling the popularity of the WSOP and outranking WPT in terms of a fan base, the EPT attracted (and keeps attracting) the best players in the industry. That’s why the decision to do away with the brand came as a bit of a shock. However, new PokerStars run by Amaya is clearly intent on doing things their way.

Reactions from the community

Not surprisingly, the announcement created quite a fuss in the poker community, with Twitter going crazy with comments directed at PokerStars. The EPT is clearly not the only tour that will cease to exist; it is just the most famous one. Other tours like LAPT, UKIPT, and APPT will be gone as well, blended into the new product.

PokerStars Championship
Although some are not thrilled about the idea of PokerStars Championship replacing the EPT, most players are not overly concerned as long as the important things remain unchanged

As it would be expected, some are in favor of the changes which aim to expand the poker’s popularity on the global level. Others, however, are a bit more traditional and don’t like the idea of a series of the EPT’s history, magnitude, and significance being discontinued so abruptly.

For the most part, however, comments about the new PokerStars Championship and PokerStars Festival have been positive. A majority of players don’t particularly care about the name as long as important things like number of events, rake, and prizes remain the same.

From what’s been published so far, it seems there won’t be any significant changes to speak of so it should be the same old tournaments with the same old players, just under the new name.

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