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[caption width="640"] Resorts Atlantic City is hosting a PokerStarsLive Festival this November.[/caption] Just two weeks ago PokerStars made one of the biggest announcements in their history regarding their live tournament schedule and branding. Live events now fall under two categories, the PokerStars Championship and the PokerStars Festival, with events being held worldwide. While the Championship schedule, which should boast tournament options similar to those currently offered at European Poker Tour stops, doesn’t officially kick off until the start of 2017, the first Festival event takes place in New Jersey in just a few weeks. The series begins October 30 and continues through November 6 at Resorts Casino in Atlantic City. The PokerStars Festival New Jersey features a $1,000 + $100 Main Event, running November 1-5 and a $2,000 + $200 National High Roller, which runs November 4 and 5. The Festival opens with the $300 buy-in PokerStars Cup though, which boasts three starting flights and awards the first American PokerStars ‘Spades’ trophy since 2011. Along with those three headlining events, a $2,000 buy-in six-handed event, a $1,000 Super Knockout event, $5,000 eight-handed event spanning two days, as well as a $3,000 single re-entry Deep Stack event at the end of the Festival. PokerStars is also running series-long StarsFun activities to build off the past success from other live worldwide events with the StarsFun Skills Zone. The Skills Zone runs through the first five days of the series but the action really kicks up on Saturday, November 5. That’s when Team PokerStars Pro Jason Somerville and his Run It Up Warriors take center stage for a series of events, a poker seminar and a Q&A session with poker players and fans. In total, there are 40 events and plenty of other activities throughout the week-long series, with a wide range of buy-ins and tournament structures offered to make PokerStars’ long awaited return to US soil a can’t miss event. Players in New Jersey will have some opportunities to punch their tickets to the PokerStars Festival New Jersey Main Event even before the summer ends. Online qualifiers started last week and run throughout the next two months to give players a chance to win their seat for a fraction of the price. $10 Round 1 Qualifiers run twice a day, with one $100 seat guaranteed per qualifier. That $100 seat then enters player into a PokerStars Festival New Jersey Main Event satellite, which guarantees one $1,100 seat per qualifier. DATETIME#EVENTBUY INFEE Oct 3010 AM1PokerStars Cup - Flight 1A$300$40 12 PM2NL Hold'em - Six Handed$2,000$200 4 PM3No Limit Hold'Em - Flipout - Double Elimination$100$20 430 PM4No Limit Hold'Em - Flipout - Double Elimination$100$20 5 PM5No Limit Hold'Em - Flipout - Double Elimination$100$20 6 PM1PokerStars Cup - Flight 1B$300$40 8 PM6PL Omaha - Turbo - Hi/Lo$500$60 Oct 3110 AM1PokerStars Cup - Flight 1C$300$40 11 AM7Main Event Super Satellite (Turbo)$100$20 2 PM8Limit - Omaha Hi/Lo & Stud Hi/Lo$200$30 7 PM9Main Event Super Satellite (Turbo)$200$30 8 PM10No Limit Hold'em (Turbo)$1,000$100 Nov 110 AM11Main Event Super Satellite (Turbo)$200$30 11 AM12PokerStars Festival Main Event - Flight 1A$1,000$100 12 PM13Omaha Hi-Lo$200$30 2 PM14No Limit Hold'em (Turbo)$200$30 5 PM15No Limit Hold'em$300$40 7 PM16Main Event Super Satellite (Turbo)$200$30 8 PM17No Limit Hold'em - $1,000 Super KO - 8 Handed (Turbo)$1,000 + $1,000$200 Nov 211 AM12PokerStars Festival Main Event - Flight 1B$1,000$100 2 PM18Limit - Super Stud Hi/Lo - 7 Handed$200$30 5 PM19PL Omaha - Hi/Lo$200$30 6 PM20NL Hold'em - $100 Knockouts$200 + $100$40 8 PM21NL Hold'em - 8 Handed$5,000$300 Nov 312 PM22Senior's Event (50+)$200$30 1 PM23Pot Limit Omaha$500$60 2 PM24HORSE$200$30 4 PM25No Limit Hold'em - Win the Button$500$60 6 PM26No Limit Super Hold'em (Turbo)$200$30 8 PM27Super Satellite to High Roller (Turbo)$300$40 Nov 411 AM28PokerStars Open - Flight 1A$200$30 12 PM29High Roller - 8 Handed$2,000$200 2 PM30HOSE$200$30 6 PM31Women's Event$200$30 7 PM28PokerStars Open - Flight 1B$200$30 Nov 511 AM28PokerStars Open - Flight 1C$200$30 12 PM32Super Satellite to Event #35 (Turbo)$300$40 1 PM33Run It Up - 8 Game Championship - Six Handed$300$40 6 PM34Run It Up - No Limit Hold'em - $3,000 Survivor$300$40 7 PM28PokerStars Open - Flight 1D$200$30 8 PM35Deep Stack - Single Re-Entry$3,000$300 Nov 611 AM36No Limit Hold'em (Deep Stack)$200$30 12 PM37No Limit Hold'em - $500 Super KO$500 + $500$100 2 PM38Chess and NLHE Mixed$100$20 4 PM39Pot Limit Omaha (Big O)$300$40 5 PM40No Limit Hold'em (Turbo)$1,000$100
[caption width="641"] The PokerStars approach to live events, which includes what some label "poker tourism", may help it sell the need for regulated online poker in the United States.[/caption] Last week PokerStars announced it would be rebranding all of its live poker events in an attempt to globalize the company's disparate poker tours. The first of these newly relabeled events, the PokerStars Festival New Jersey 2016 will take place at Resorts Casino in Atlantic City from October 29 - November 6. And beginning in 2017, all PokerStars live events will henceforth be known as PokerStars Championship and PokerStars Festival events. The upcoming event at Resorts, which happens to be PokerStars partner casino in New Jersey, has the capability to push one of the new talking points for legalization of online poker, the idea of poker tourism, and demonstrate why PokerStars is better positioned than all other online and land-based operators to excel on this front. The latest online poker legislative buzzword: Poker TourismPoker tourism is a new angle on the economic benefits advocates of legal, regulated online gambling have adopted. Basically, poker tourism is the ability to bring in visitors by hosting live poker events at a land-based casino. Poker tourism was on full display at the relatively small-scale Run It Up: Resorts Rumble event in May. The PokerStars branded event was able to fill dozens of hotel rooms that would otherwise have been vacant at the property. These visitors spent money on- and off-property, and left with a great experience, making them more likely to return. This is poker tourism. You might think this is small potatoes, but with revenue from online gambling underwhelming, and online gaming creating fewer jobs than land-based gaming, it's important to be able to explain to lawmakers the indirect ways legal online gaming will bring money into the economy. Poker tourism is a good argument to make, especially if you're PokerStars and you're trying to sell lawmakers on why your particular brand is important to a state. Having solid data showing the impact of a live event in New Jersey would be quite convincing: x number of players booked x room nights at $x/night. x number of players brought a guest with them. These players spent on average $x on amenities and food & beverage during their stays. Resorts had to increase staffing by x number of hours over the course of the week. The economic impact was $x. Poker tourism can also lead to capital investment. Successful live events at Resorts Casino are likely to lead to Resorts and PokerStars investing in a dedicated poker tournament area (or rehabbing existing conference spaces) and perhaps the long-rumored a PokerStars branded brick and mortar poker room. When poker tourism is added together with consumer protection benefits, and the direct economic impact of online gambling -from jobs to tax revenue to bolstering the state's existing land-based casino industry - it's a powerful argument to bring in front of lawmakers. There is money to be had. Jobs will be created as a result of online gambling. And far from being cannibalistic, online gaming will prop up existing casinos.PokerStars is the poker tourism leaderAny casino can host a poker tournament, but a state with legal online gambling, and a land based casino with a committed online poker partner like PokerStars, can pull off these events more often and with better results. Here's why. First, the land-based casino and the online operator are no longer partnered for a single event. They're long-term partners working together in a mutually beneficial way. It's no longer about the success of the tournament series; it's about the success of the casino. As Eric Hollreiser, PokerStars’ director of corporate communications, said in the press release announcing PokerStars Festival New Jersey: “We are committed to growing the poker market in New Jersey and part of this strategy is to help make New Jersey the poker hub of America in November. We invite players from across the globe to pitch up in the Garden State for the best live poker experience available in the world, live and online, with the first ever NJCOOP kicking off ahead of the Festival with plenty of tournaments on offer and big prizes.” Second, as Hollreiser noted, PokerStars can run online satellite tournaments and packages, both in-state and out-of-state in other markets around the globe. This allows PokerStars to pull from a much larger player pool, and bring in more out-of-state tourism dollars. Third, PokerStars has a history of running successful tournament series around the globe. PokerStars gets criticized from some corners for not focusing exclusively on poker anymore, this is an important part of providing the right experience for everyone, not just hardcore poker players. At the PokerStars Festival New Jersey, attendees will find: A dedicated StarsFun skills zone area with table tennis, air hockey, foosball, cornhole and darts, as well as several contests with cash prizes; Miniature Golf Hole-in-One Progressive; Hoops Fever Progressive; Pinball Progressive; RunItUp Day with Team PokerStars Pro and Twitch sensation Jason Somerville. RunItUp Day will include a poker seminar and a Q&A session with Somerville, along with a variety of mixed-game events, including a Dealer’s Choice Stud Club event. $300+$40 Survivor “Immunity” tournament with $3,000 in cash and prizes, with reality TV stars Tyson Apostol and 'Boston Rob' Mariano. All of these events and extracurricular activities seemed aimed at generating tourism dollars during the series, and sending people home with smiles on their faces, and making them more likely to want to return - be it for poker, or for some other reason. Bottom line: PokerStars brings things to the table other online operators don't have the desire or capability to pull off.
[caption width="640"] Five more PokerStars Festival events have been announced for Asia, Europe, and South America. (Neil Stoddart / PokerStars)[/caption] With the first PokerStars Championships and Festivals of 2017 already in the books, the world leader in online poker announced today five more Festival stops across Asia, Europe, and South America for later this year. “We are excited to take our PokerStars Championship and PokerStars Festival across the globe bringing our vision for live poker to a whole new level, ensuring a year filled with far more winning moments than ever before," said Edgar Stuchly, PokerStars Director of Live Events. "The wide range of poker events on offer in new and exciting destinations shows the expansion of poker and underscores our commitment to growing the game while providing the best live poker experience to players all over the world.” The first of the new festivals will take place in Chile at the Vina del Mar Hotel & Casino, within the friendly confines of the “Garden City.” The four marquee events set to take place include a PokerStars Cup and Open along with a $3,300 High Roller and $1,650 Main Event. The Main Event runs from May 23-27 with the Festival starting on May 20. Following the trip to Chile, the PokerStars Festival heads across the Atlantic to Marbella, Spain. From June 19-25, the former UKIPT stop hosts to the first ever PokerStars festival held in Spain. The two major events held at Casino Marbella will be a €1,100 Main Event and a €2,200 High Roller. The inaugural PokerStars Festival in Asia will take place a month later when South Korea plays host. Only 36 kilometers west of Seoul, the newly opened Paradise City will run events from July 14-24. The official schedule of events for the Festival has yet to be released. Once the Festival in South Korea wraps, it is on to The Philippines and the PokerStars Festival Manilla from July 28 through August 7. All events will take place at the PokerStars LIVE at City of Dreams Manila, which opened in 2014. As with South Korea, the full schedule of events has yet to be released. The last of the latest updates to the schedule of Festivals is the PokerStars Festival Uruguay, which takes place from September 16-23. Similar to PokerStars Festival Chile, there will be a $3,300 High Roller and $1,650 Main Event.
[caption width="640"] Spielbank Berlin could be a potential location for an 888Live festival in the new year.[/caption] 888Live festivals traveled across the globe in 2017, setting up shop in locations such as London, Barcelona, and Minsk. The tour has yet to announce festival dates or locations for 2018 leaving some to wonder where they might travel to next. There are quite a few untapped territories for 888 to visit and with 2018 drawing near, below are five stops that could be made next year. 1. Playground Poker Club - Montreal, Canada In only a few years, Playground Poker Club has set itself apart from many of its peers in terms of volume of tours that come through in a given year. In 2017 alone, Playground has hosted partypoker Live twice, including the first Millions North America event. This week, the World Poker Tour is making its second stop of 2017. 888 visited for a local event in 2016 and a festival would add more events and larger buy-ins to draw entrants. There are only so many dates Playground can accommodate and should they secure a two-week time slot, the opportunity makes sense. 888 would be able to grow their Canadian market and promote the latest addition to the 888 team, Toronto’s Parker Talbot. 2. Le Croisette Casino Barrière - Cannes, France Cannes has played host to the World Series of Poker Europe in years past and this year, WPTDeepStacks made their first trip there. The €1,100 Main Event drew 266 entries and it is fair to expect that 888Live could produce similar numbers. The World Series of Poker Circuit is also in Cannes and the casino is ripe to add another strong brand to their yearly catalog. There are no 888 ambassadors who hail from France but having team members from the neighboring countries of Germany and the United Kingdom would do well for participation. 3. Hilton Prague Hotel - Prague, Czech Republic Since 2007, Prague and the Hilton Hotel have played host to the final European Poker Tour (and now PokerStars Championship) event of the year. During that time, there has only been one other series hosted at the Hilton, and that was in 2010 when Unibet came to town. The property appears to be well equipped to host another series and provided there are no major scheduling conflicts in place, 888Live has a second property in the Czech Republic to add to the schedule. This season, 888Live visited King’s Casino in Rozvadov. 4. Spielbank Berlin Germany - Berlin, Germany Another property that has hosted major events in prior years, Spielbank Berlin is opening the 2018 World Poker Tour calendar with the WPT European Championship. In 2015, the casino hosted World Series of Poker Europe. 888 ambassador Natalie Hof hails from Germany, making the fit more seamless. As 888Live adds more properties to its arsenal, familiarity will come in handy for those looking for a new destination. Assuming that the WPT European Championship draws well, 888 Live should be following up right behind with a festival of its own. 5. Undetermined Pennsylvania Location Online poker is officially regulated in the state of Pennsylvania after a wait of many years and 888 is prime to jump in the marketplace. Having a tie-in with WSOP.com and the Harrah’s property in Philadelphia make an 888Live appearance there a natural fit. The largest hurdle to overcome is the scheduling of the event. There is no definitive timeline for when online play will officially commence and should 888Live decide to host an event before the end of 2018, the need for online satellites is a must. Only time will tell when and where 888Live is to plant their roots in the state for festivals to come.