In preparation for its inaugural event at Wembley Stadium this spring, the International Stadiums Poker Tour (ISPT) has introduced some changes to its groundbreaking format.
Rather than running the entire tournament inside Wembley Stadium, Day 1 of the first-ever ISPT event will be held online between Feb. 3 and May 19. Up to 30,000 players will be able to compete in the €300 buy-in across several online poker rooms. The top 10 percent of the field at the end of each qualifier will advance to play on Day 2 of the event on the Wembley Stadium lawn. Players who make Day 2 will begin with the number of chips they had at the end of Day 1.
ISPT has joined forces with number of online sites to run the Day 1 event. Players can play Day 1 of the tournament at Poker770.com, Poker770.es, Partouche.fr, MyPok.fr, Netbet.it, and Lock Poker.
The new format allows for participants to play as many Day 1s as they desire. If the player advances through more than one Day 1 online, only the biggest chip stack from that player will be carried forward to Day 2. The lower chip stacks will be taken out of play and credit will be refunded to players.
Players will also have the option of buying in directly for €3,000. Those players will begin Day 2 on June 1 with 50,000 chips, with blinds starting at 100/200 and levels lasting 60 minutes. Among the players expected to participate at Wembley include ISPT ambassadors Patrik Antonius, Michael Mizrachi, Sam Trickett, Liz Lieu, and David Benyamine.
Days 2 through 6 will take place right at Wembley Stadium. The ISPT says that 70 percent of players coming to Wembley will be paid a portion of the prize pool.
The original ISPT plans called for players to pony up €600 to play a shootout format using laptops from seats inside the stadium. Then, after the first round, the remaining players would move to real tables on the Wembley lawn. Tournament organizers have altered the structure based on the feedback from players.
“We listened to their constructive comments and advice to come up with a convenient yet innovative format," said ISPT president Laurent Tapie. "Having the possibility to play the main event from home, at an affordable buy-in was the choice of reason.”
While there isn't a guaranteed prize pool set for the Main Event, Tapie is "very confident" that the prize pool will exceed €10 million and that the new tournament format will be a "success for the players."
Here's another look at the key figures for the inaugural ISPT Main Event at Wembley Stadium:
- Days 1A though Day 1F will be played online from Feb. 3 through May 19 on ISPT's partner poker rooms
- Online buy-in: €300 (5,000 starting chips)
- Participants can participate in as many Day 1s as they wish
- Players will keep their remaining online stack for Day 2
- Live buy-in: €3,000 (50,000 starting chips)
- 70 percent of players going to Wembley will be paid out
- 10 side events will be held in Wembley Stadium
Said ISPT CEO Prosper Masquelier, “Our goal is to please the players from all around the world, said. "We listened to their constructive comments and advice to come up with a convenient yet innovative format. Having the possibility to play the main event from home, at an affordable buy-in was the choice of reason.
"Mixing the online and live part in the same tournament was the choice of innovation. Letting poker fans to play on the pitch of Wembley, like football stars, was the choice of passion.
"I want to thank all the players and partners that have faith in this amazing project."
For more information, visit ISPT.com.