The World Series of Poker announced major expansion plans on Thursday with an aim at tapping into the international market. WSOP officials announced that they have begun signing agreements with various casino groups around the world to bring the WSOP brand to their area.
As part of this agreement, the World Series of Poker will expand its WSOP Circuit Tour internationally with at least three new stops joining the tour by 2016. According to WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart, “It’s time to emphasize the “World” in World Series of Poker and more aggressively partner with leading casino operators at the regional level. We know players crave a WSOP-like experience in their home market and believe our organizational expertise and unique tournament formats will bring a winning formula.”
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WSOP Circuit Expands to Italy, Morocco and Mexico
As part of their announcement, the WSOP revealed their newest additions to the WSOP circuit schedule. The first new stop on the WSOP Circuit Tour will be in Marrakesh,Morocco from March 7th through March 15th, 2015.
The event will be held at the Casino de Marrakesh Es Saadi and is the first ever international WSOP-C event to feature eight ring events. The winner of the Main Event and the Casino Champion will receive automatic entries into the 2016 WSOP International Casino Championship. This stop will also feature satellites into both the 2015 WSOP in Las Vegas and the 2015 WSOP Europe.
The WSOP Circuit Tour will head to Italy in September with a stop at the Casino Campione D’Italia. A schedule and exact dates have yet to be finalized but this should be a full series of events like that in Marrakesh. The Casino Campione D’Italia will also have exclusive rights to offer live satellites to the WSOP in Vegas and the 2015 WSOP-E.
Finally, the WSOP will expand to Mexico in 2016 with the addition of the Monterrey stop. Dates have yet to be finalized but the event will be held at the Casino Jubilee de Monterrey. This property will also be host to the first signature WSOP Poker Room not run within a Caesars casino. The new WSOP themed poker room will have WSOP themed tournaments, specialized merchandise available for purchase and guest appearances from past champions.
The WSOP also revealed that discussions are ongoing with around a dozen casinos around the world and they expect some to join the new expansion program to bring the WSOP to their region.
True Circuit World Champion to Be Crowned Staring in 2016
With the expansion of the Circuit Tour internationally, that means that the National Championship must also expand. Starting in 2016, the National Championship will become the WSOP Circuit International Championship, crowning a world casino champion.
Presently, the WSOP Circuit holds a National Championship at the end of the Circuit Season with a minimum prize pool of $1 million. The event also awards a gold World Series of Poker bracelet. The $1 million freeroll will be retained as part of the international championship. In addition, the International Championship will be filmed for television.
According to WSOP Director Gregory Chochon, “One thing that was clear to me from my time spent in the poker industry is that the passion for poker is ever-present, but players crave value, excitement and superior organization. These new agreements will allow us to offer meaningful year-round benefits to our casino partners while giving poker players a more direct path to reach the ultimate WSOP dream.”