We seem to be in an era where live tournament players are paying increasingly more for a whole lot less. However, the latest cross promotion from PokerStars and the World Poker Tour appears to be a good one for poker players willing to spend the spring in Europe.
The two live tournament giants have come together to promote the PokerStars Championship presented by Monte Carlo Casino from April 25 to May 5 and WPT Amsterdam from May 5 to 13. They are calling it the first-ever PokerStars Championship WPT MonteDam Swing.
In addition, they are offering a series of valuable prizes for the top five finishers in a series of four events throughout the two poker festival schedules.
The four events include:
- €1,100 buy-in PokerStars National Championship Monte Carlo – April 26-30
- €5,300 buy-in PokerStars Championship Monte Carlo Main Event – April 29-May 5
- €1,500 buy-in WPTDeepStacks Amsterdam – May 5-8
- €3,300 buy-in WPT Amsterdam Main Event – May 9-13
The prizes on offer for the top five finishers include:
- 1st place: PokerStars Championship Barcelona Main Event package (worth €7,500)
- 2nd place: WPT Main Event package (worth €6,000)
- 3rd place: WPTDeepStacks package (worth €3,000)
- 4th place: PokerStars National Championship Barcelona buy-in (€1,100) + Barcelona hotel voucher (€500)
- 5th place: WPTDeepStacks buy-in (€1,500)
Almost €20,000 in added money
That amounts to almost €20,000 added to these four tournaments. The truth is, even $1 in added money has to be considered a good thing for players.
The PokerStars Championship event in Monte Carlo is, of course, the rebranded European Poker Tour Grand Final. The recent EPT rebranding seems to have done very little in terms of attracting players. In fact, the entry numbers were less than impressive for the first couple of stops on the rebranded tour.
It has also done very little to quiet rumblings the PokerStars live events team cares more about the bottom line than its most loyal customers. In fact, several high rollers walked away from the recent PokerStars Championship Panama series vowing to take their money elsewhere. This, after PokerStars continued to fiddle with prize pool and payout percentages in a way the players deemed unpopular.
The marketing geniuses at the WPT
It’s no wonder PokerStars has decided to partner with the WPT. Its operators have been coming off as marketing geniuses and customer service experts in recent years thanks to all the money they’re adding to events. It’s a simple fix, but a very popular one.
First, they came up with the WPT California Swing, offering up a package of hotel accommodations and other perks during next season’s swing for whoever earns the most leader board points in three events. These events include the WPT L.A. Poker Classic, the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star and WPT Rolling Thunder.
Then, they got sponsors to pony up more than $150,000 in added prizes and cash for the already rake-free Monster WPT Tournament of Champions. This season, that amounted to:
- A 2018 Audi S5 Coupe
- $100,000 in cash added to the prize pool
- A pair of rose gold wireless over-ear Element headphones from Monster
- A Hublot King Power Unico carbon and red watch
- A custom premium poker table from BBO Poker Tables
- A seat in Tiger’s Poker Night Presented by World Poker Tour and golfer Tiger Woods
- A one-week stay with Wyndham Extra Holidays.
Plus, they gave away a Monster Superstar Ravebox for all six players at the final table, and everyone who entered the event also received a custom-fitted pair of sunglasses from Maui Jim.
A player-friendly landscape
The WPT seems to be doing everything in its power to add some value for players entering its events.
With PokerStars now on board for this new PokerStars Championship WPT MonteDam Swing, there’s real hope the live poker tournament landscape will becoming increasingly friendly to players moving forward.