ISPT Moves the Goalposts at Wembley

ISPTThe International Stadiums Poker Tour has previously changed its dates and structure. Now the guaranteed prize pool has gone.  What´s next – a change of venue?

Since the original announcement of “the biggest tournament ever” – with a glorious video implying a full house at Wembley Stadium competing on digital tablets built into the back of the seats – much has changed for the proposed International Stadium Poker Tour. First the date was moved from May 2012 to May 2013, then the three-day structure was expanded to seven days and now the $30 million guaranteed prize fund – which had already been reduced to €20 million – is now expected to be “about” €20 million and not guaranteed at all!

Quite a Big Tournament …

Somehow “the biggest tournament ever” became “quite a big tournament” – with neither the total number of players expected to participate  in the tournament matching those who competed in the recent PokerStars MicroMillions Main Event (65,603) nor the prize money on offer coming close to this year´s WSOP Main Event ($62 million/€50 million). Even the digital tablets have gone – with players now expected to bring their own laptop computers rather than use the technology available that was previously advertised (actually still advertised) on the ISPT web site.

… with Insurance Available if You Bust Early …

The revised structure of the tournament – now a €600 one rebuy and double add-on if you join from Day 1 and a $6,000 freezeout if you buy-in on Day 3 – pretty much makes Days 1 and 2 a €2,400 qualifier for the Main Event, with a re-entry option if you lose all your chips in the first two days. The new structure may possibly be inspired by the ISPT´s latest sponsor – iPoker – who are used to having to find ways to fill under-subscribed tournaments. Indeed it is rare to find a regular guaranteed freezeout on the iPoker Network these days; with only five of the eighteen tournaments recently hyped as having their guarantees increased being freezeouts.

… and Medical Insurance Required if You Don´t!

Talking of freezing, under the current tournament schedule posted on the ISPT web site, play each day concludes no earlier than 10.00pm – when temperatures according the Met Office´s statistical averages for Wembley in May are likely to be around 10ºC (50ºF). After a day of sitting in a Wembley Stadium seat for ten hours (that´s the schedule for Day 2) you might need a trip to the Emergency Room to be treated for hyperthermia before you progress to the “live” tournament – and do not forget to include the services of a chiropractor in your budget for the event. Anybody who has sat through just two hours of a football match at Wembley Stadium will understand why.

Is it Too Late for a Change of Venue?

Many people believe that one of the reasons why the ISPT have removed the guarantee on the Wembley event is because – with the new structure of the tournament – players winning satellite tickets through qualifying tournaments are still likely to find that they need to pony up €1,800 to have any realistic chance of cashing in the event. This is going to dissuade many poker players from competing in satellite tournaments and will affect the overall tournament turn-out.  One and a half miles up the A404 from Wembley Stadium is Vale Farm Sports Ground – home of Wembley FC. With a capacity of 2,000, a good quality tea bar and Wi-Fi facilities, this might be a more suitable venue for the ISPT to consider!