Online poker giant PokerStars.com has reacted with impressive speed to the sudden Russian ban on poker, switching its EPT to the beautiful and historic coastal town of Kiev in the Ukraine for the tournament.
It is not known how PokerStars managed to negotiate the new venue, bearing in mind the Ukraine parliament's own anti-gambling moves, but a statement from the company advises that "…the “EPT Kiev Sports Poker Championship” is to be held under the regulation and authority of the Ukrainian Ministry of Youth, Family and Sport, and in partnership with the Ukrainian Poker Federation" on August 18 -23, 2009.
Kiev is the largest city and capital of Ukraine, and the event, which is expected to be the largest poker tournament ever held in the region, will take place at the Kiev Sports Palace.
PokerStars advises players who qualified online for the Moscow event that their packages (including buy-in and hotel) will be converted to EPT Kiev packages; however they will also be eligible to take a credit for a future event, or receive the cash equivalent value as alternatives.
The buy-in for the “EPT Kiev Sports Poker Championship” Main Event will be Euro 4 700 + 300.
The Pokerstars advisory notes that the Ukraine does not require visas for citizens of the European Union, United States or Canada (among many other countries) when travelling to Ukraine for less than 90 days.
In related news, the publication Politica in Bulgaria reports that tourism authorities in the region are hoping to benefit from the recent severe gambling restrictions in the neighbouring Russian Federation.
The optimism is based on speculation that wealthy Russians will have an added incentive to holiday in the Black Sea resort area, where gambling is still available. Israelis have hitherto been a good source of revenues in the tourist business in Bulgaria, the publication reports, but an infusion of Russian tourists will also be welcome. The economic recession has caused the closure of around 5 percent of gambling venues in recent times.