The inaugural leg of the new MPN Poker Tour (MPNPT) kicks off in London on May 29 and the poker community is ready and waiting to see what the fledgling tour has to offer to it.
As the excitement of a brand new poker tour entering the world continues to build, PokerNews caught up with MPN’s Head of Poker, Alex Scott, to find out a little more about him, his role and his thoughts about the MPNPT.
Scott, a relative veteran of the poker world having worked in it for almost a decade, holds the title of Head of Poker for MPN. But what does the job actually entail, especially when MPN is the network and not an actual operator?
“Essentially, the buck stops with me when it comes to poker!
“The team and I are responsible for the management of the games (choosing what cash games and tournaments we offer, what guarantees to set on tournaments, etc.); the design of new network-wide promotions (like the ‘€55,000 Flip Festival’, the network’s current promo) and the management of the MPN Poker Tour, which includes everything from booking the venues and hotels to ordering trophies and player patches.”
Although the MPNPT is the proverbial new kid on the block, this is most certainly not the network’s first foray into the world of live tournament poker.
“Microgaming has a long history of organizing high quality poker events. Poker aficionados will remember the Monte Carlo Millions, which was a game-changer in its time, and we also run a unique yearly event known as the World Sit ‘n’ Go Masters (formerly the European Championships of Single Table Tournaments), in which players compete in a series of Sit ‘n’ Go tournaments to determine the champion,” explained Scott.
With established tours such as the European Poker Tour (EPT), World Poker Tour (WPT) and even the UKIPT now offering stops around Europe, why did MPN think now was the time to launch its own tour to run alongside them? Wouldn’t it have been easier to tag along with certain festivals like the Prague Poker Festival, perhaps?
“We’ve known for a while that we needed to offer a full live event series in order to remain competitive. However, exactly how to approach it wasn’t decided until late last year. One option was to partner with an existing tour, but nothing seemed a perfect fit. Rather than pick and choose third-party events of varying quality, we decided to launch our own tour that would go to the venues that our operators’ players would want to attend.”
Scott firmly believes the MPNPT will have an “atmosphere unlike any other poker event” thanks in part to the company’s “Fun, Friendly and Affordable” ethos. Each stop of the new MPNPT has been carefully selected with the players in mind so they can not only compete at the poker table but also enjoy great food, enjoy excellent nightlife and play in affordable events that are not too cheap that the prize are not worth winning, but not so expensive that you can’t justify playing.
“We’re a recreational tour. Our events are for people who play poker for fun and who want to meet other like-minded poker players, not for pros who want to sit quietly with their headphones on.”
Aspers Stratford casino is the venue for the opening event of the MPNPT, a casino with a great reputation for hosting some of the world’s most prestigious event. The casino is one of the United Kingdom’s so-called “Super Casino” and has the capacity to seat 500 eager poker players, and although capacity probably won’t be reached, Scott is confident the tour will get off on a solid footing.
“This is the first year of the tour and we’re competing with a lot of other companies, so we recognize that we need to build our reputation before we can expect gigantic fields. Thankfully, the venue for London, Aspers in Stratford, is the largest poker room in London and we can expect 150-200 players at the least. That’s a nice size – everybody will have a chance to win, and we don’t have to compromise on the deep-stacked structure of the main event.”
Day 1 of the MPNPT London Main Event commences at 12 p.m. on May 30 and costs £450. If you’re still on the fence wondering if you should head to Aspers for the opening event, Scott has a message for you.
“We’re passionate poker players, running a fun, friendly, affordable event, in a top-notch cardroom in one of the most exciting cities in the world. Come join us, have a laugh, and take a shot at the trophy!”
PokerNews will have recaps of the action from the MPNPT London Main Event and will bring you the results and winners from the side events taking place in the English capital.
For more information on the MPNPT including details of future stops in Malta and Tallin, head to the MPNPT website.