Tuesday February 12,2013 : ISPT POKER A DAMP SQUIB?
Player disinterest and lower expectations for French concept of a massive combined online-live poker tournament
Very low entries to satellite poker tournaments, perhaps evidence of a lack of player enthusiasm, has further complicated the potential of the French combined online-live poker tournaments envisaged by the International Stadiums Poker Tour.
This week Lock Poker had to postpone its online satellite when only two players turned up to register; this followed a similar lack of interest in two satellites that were launched at Poker770. In fact the only moderately successful satellite so far was that held by Partouche, which managed to produce just 13 qualifiers.
With the main live action scheduled for Wembley Stadium in London in June, the organisers are starting to run out of time if they want to generate international satellite action involving thousands of players.
The original and much-hyped Euro 30 million prize pool grand plan of organisers Laurent Tapie and Prosper Masquelier envisaged some 30,000 poker players sitting in the main stands at the inaugural Wembley event and playing on mobile devices.
This massive field would be refined down to just 3,000 players, who would then take up seats at tables in the arena to play live down to a final table and then a victor.
Alas, since then there have been steadily declining prize guarantees and changes to format. The idea of punters playing from the terraces at Wembley was abandoned and replaced by international online satellites – clearly a concept that has yet to ignite, with very limited apparent participation by major international poker operators.
ISPT marketing man Georges Djen is on record as saying that player numbers around the 17,000 mark would make the project financially viable; whether he will be able to generate that sort of interest – either from satellite entrants or those well-heeled enough to buy directly into the tournament – remains to be seen.