Despite signing recent partnership deals with several big-name poker pros, a scheduled Sept. 3 press conference date came and went with no further announcements and the removal of the word “guaranteed” in conjunction with the €20 million prize pool on the tour’s website has many players again wondering about the credibility of the International Stadiums Poker Tour (ISPT).
Details regarding the guarantee were due to be revealed at a press conference one week ago, but no announcement was made and the prize pool guarantee originally set at €30 million and reduced to €20 million has again been modified to a “€20 million prize pool overall,” according to the ISPT website.
In a June press conference, ISPT co-founder Laurent Tapie stated, “The guaranteed prize pool is €20 million, the biggest prize pool ever guaranteed in poker history.” Now it seems tour promoters are back-tracking and that amount will cover the entire 6-day series and not just the main event.
The ISPT had been gaining momentum with the signings of poker pros Michael Mizrachi, Liz Lieu and Sam Trickett to act as ambassadors for the event. And more recently, Patrick Antonius has lent his name to the venture and was seen wearing an ISPT patch while playing the Partouche Poker Tour (PPT) Main Event in France. But like the PPT, whose executives also had problems defining the word “guaranteed” by promoting the event as €5 million guaranteed, but claiming that there was no guarantee when only €4.3 million in entry fees was collected, ISPT organisers seem to be reneging as well. The PPT did relent and decide to honor the €5 million guarantee after a tremendous backlash from the poker community, but the tour has been canceled after this year.
Its interesting to note that a co-founder of the ISPT, Prosper Masquelier, formerly was affiliated with Partouche Interactive. The maiden name of Masquelier’s mother is Partouche and his father, Jean Masquelier, is associated with casinos belonging to the Partouche’s gaming companies. Perhaps “overlay” is a dirty word in the Partouche-Masquelier households.
There are still over eight months to go before the ISPT is scheduled to kick off on May 31, 2013 at London’s Wembley Stadium where goal organisers hope 30,000 entrants can compete on laptops until 10% of the players remain, whereby those players will conclude the tournament in a live format on the stadium field. So “the biggest poker online-live tournament ever” as proclaimed by the ISPT website still has time to work out the details. However, the constant modifications to the guaranteed prize pool and the confusion surrounding the event are not enabling players to have confidence that the ISPT’s lofty goals will be realized.