The International Stadiums Poker Tour (ISPT) is still 10 months away from its kick-off with plenty of time to work out the details, but confusion seems to be in the forefront as event organisers are now apparently hedging on whether the reported €20 million prize pool will be guaranteed.
After promoting the event as “the biggest poker tournament ever” with a guaranteed prize pool of €20 million, the ISPT website now says that “Organizers are expecting a huge turnout and an overall prize pool of approximately €20 million.” The huge guarantee had been a major factor in creating widespread publicity for the event that aims to assemble 30,000 players at Wembley Stadium to play the tournament on laptops until 3,000 players remain, at which point the players still holding virtual chips will resume the tournament as a live event.
Many in the poker community are now wondering if the money is guaranteed or not based on the latest information released on the ISPT site. Regarding the confusion, I would suggest that players get used to confusion and misinformation regarding this ambitious project. Such an event is a huge undertaking and since nothing of this magnitude has been previously attempted, there is still no way of knowing if things will pan out as Group Bernard Tapie hopes.
Originally, the tournament was set for 2012 and was moved to next year, the structure of three days has been increased to seven, a €30 million guaranteed prize pool was reduced to €20 million, and now that guaranteed amount seems to be in jeopardy with the possibility of a massive overlay if not enough players participate.
To their credit, the Tapie group have named Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi, winner of more than $14 million in live tournament play, their official ambassador and spokesperson for the ISPT. The iPoker Network is also listed as one of the partners to the project. A press conference in which more crucial details will be revealed has been set for Sept. 3.
For those players interested in participating in the ISPT, just be prepared for details and plans to be changed a number of times leading up to the May 31, 2013 kick-off. The whole concept may be a bit over ambitious and unrealistic. After Tapie’s failed attempt at acquiring Full Tilt, it would be wonderful to see the ISPT become a success and have a lasting impact on poker. However, don’t bet on it.