One year ago, PokerStars officially said goodbye to the the beloved European Poker Tour as part of its global rebranding as PokerStars Live, but on Friday afternoon the online poker giant announced the EPT was coming back – but that’s not all.
The company also announced the creation of the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship, a $25,000 buy-in event set for the 2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Over the course of the next year, PokerStars will give away an estimated $8,000,000 worth of “Platinum Passes” through promotions at live events and through the online product. Each Platinum Pass is worth roughly $30,000 and includes tournament buy-in and travel to the 2019 PCA.
“We expect the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship will set the new global standard for live poker tournaments,” said Chief Executive Officer of The Stars Group, Rafi Ashkenazi. “We want to demonstrate and reinforce our commitment to the game, and give something back to the players by investing in our live events in a meaningful way. Our objective is to create an event that brings professionals and amateurs together, creating many winning moments and unforgettable stories.”
PokerStars is also adding $1 million to the first place prize. Players can also buy-in to the event directly for $25,000.
The first Platinum Pass was awarded as part of the announcement. Mihai Manole, one of two players to bust on the bubble of the PSC Prague Main Event, won his pass after winning a single hand against Andrzej Siemieniak. At least one Platinum Pass will be given away at each PokerStars live festival over the next year.
“I’m super excited about the Players No Limit Hold’em Championship,” said Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu. “This is going to be an incredible experience for those who participate and everyone, no matter their skill level, has a chance to win a Platinum Pass. It will be a must play event with loads of added value.”
Passes can be won online in tournaments, cash games, promotions and through the Stars Rewards program. The first online winners will come from the upcoming PokerStars Winter Series from December 25 – January 7.
The EPT isn’t the only brand coming back. PokerStars announced the return of the Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT) and Asia-Pacific Poker Tour (APT) for 2018. The move means the end of the PokerStars Championship tour.