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The Most Important Live Poker Events of 2014

The Winter Holiday Break is almost over for the live poker professionals; they have only two days left until the New Year’s first major tournament event. The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) festival will start things off in what seems to be an exciting year filled with possible world record-setting events. Big tourneys such as the Macau Millions or the $1 million buy-in Big One for ONE DROP will return in 2014, whereas the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Europe will take a year off and give way to its younger ‘brother,’ the WSOP Asia-Pacific (APAC).

So regardless of your poker experience and status, expect a big year in terms of live tournament winnings that are bound to change the current biggest poker winners’ leaderboard.

European Poker Tour (EPT)

Like every year, the EPT breaks the rules in January and holds a poker festival outside of the old continent. The PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) will kick off on Sunday, January 5, in the Bahamas with a special High Roller event. Regarded as the biggest poker series outside of Las Vegas, the PCA attracts thousands of players from the best of the best to the recreational crowd. The $10,300 Main Event runs from January 7 to 13, 2014. Overall, the PCA will consist of 39 tournaments, with buy-ins ranging from $100 to $100,000.

After the PCA, the EPT returns to Europe and will make a stop in Deauville where it will join forces with the France Poker Series (FPS). Because of that, the festival has two main events, one specially reserved for the FPS and the €5,300 EPT, which will start on January 26.

The last three poker events of the 10th season will be held in the spring of 2014. First, the EPT will return to the capital of Austria, Vienna, after three years. All of the tournaments will take place in the city’s former imperial residence from March 19 to 29, 2014. EPT Sanremo is next with the popular €5,300 Main Event organized between April 14 and 20. The last event of the 10th season, the EPT Grand Final from Monte Carlo, will feature the €10,600 Main Event where the best players compete for the greatest prizes of the tour. Last year, the champion was Steve O’Dwyer, who won €1,224,000. What will happen this year, between April 23 and May 3, 2014?

World Poker Tour (WPT)

The WPT returns in 2014 with the Borgota Winter Poker Open Championship. It will be a five-day event starting from January 26 with a guaranteed prize pool of $3 million. This year’s WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open (February 7 – 12) runs in the Seminole Casino from Coconut Creek, Florida. Next stop of the WPT will be in the famous Niagara Falls, Ontario. Here, the Canadians will have yet another chance to have their name written onto the WPT Champions Cup at the CAD$5,000 WPT Fallsview Poker Classic Main Event running from February 22 to 24, 2014.

The already notorious WPT L.A. Poker Classic Main Event will return on the first day of spring and will last 6 days. The poker festival in California, however, starts this month on January 17 with the micro-stakes Facebook Exclusive Tournament. The buy-in is only $75 but the guaranteed prize pool is $30,000.

Immediately after the L.A. Poker Classic, the WPT will spice things up with four main events in 15 days from California and Florida to Venice, Italy. The WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown will be the last tournament before the 12th season finale – WPT World Championship. This time, Atlantic City will host the great tournament; the championship will be held at the Borgota Hotel Casino & Spa between April 22 and 26, 2014. Last year, the most important event of the 11th season was held in Las Vegas and was won by Chino Rheem. He cashed in over $1.15 million by outlasting the field.

Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT)

The 8th season of the APPT is a special one; the season starts things off on January 10 with the 20th celebration of the Macau Poker Cup (MPC20) and features the special $1 million (HK$8 million) guaranteed Main Event. The buy-in for the event is around $1,419 (HK$11,000).

Also, for the first time in APPT history, the Aussie Millions Poker Championship will be added to the tour schedule. The AUD$10,600 Main Event will kick off on February 2 and will conclude on February 9. Last year, Mervin Chan won the tournament, collecting AUD$1.6 million in prize money.

Besides the Aussie Millions, there will be three other stops in Australia on February 26 – March 2 (Australia New Zealand Poker Tour – ANZPT Perth), on March 20 – 24 (ANZPT Sydney), on August 29 – September 1 (ANZPT Melbourne), and one stop in New Zealand, the final one of the season, in Auckland from November 19 to 23, 2014.

The Las Vegas of Asia will host seven APPT events, including the Macau Millions, held between March 7 and 16, and the major Asia Championship of Poker, which will run between November 3 and 8.

Seoul is the only city outside of Australia, New Zealand and China that will organize an APPT event this year, between May 21 and 25.

Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT)

After a great 6th season, the LAPT returns in 2014 with even higher expectations. Players from 62 countries participated in the LAPT events in 2013, according to PokerStars. The total combined prize pool was over $9.7 million.

“LAPT 7 is going to be more exciting than ever. We have added a $500 NLH freeze-out event with 30-minute levels, as well as a $500 NLH Deep Stack Turbo with a single re-entry to this season’s line-up. We have also standardized all main event buy-ins across the year at $1,700 except the Grand Final at $3,000 and raised the buy-in of the NLH unlimited re-entry events from $500 to $1,100,” LAPT tournament director Michael Ward said.

So far, five of the total six events have officially been established. The 7th season will start on March 19, 2014 in Viña del Mar, Chile. Between May 30 and June 3, Brazil will take the spotlight, followed by Panama (June 23 – 27). Peru will hold a LAPT poker festival in autumn between October 15 and 19. The LAPT Grand Final Punta de Este (Uruguay) will start on November 26 and will feature the biggest main event of the season with a $3,000 buy-in.

World Series of Poker (WSOP)

The 45th edition of the WSOP is set to start on Tuesday, May 27, 2014 and will run for 49 consecutive days until July 14. The $10,000 buy-in Main Event will start on July 5. “In our 45th year, and tenth at the Rio, we are hard at work to make the 2014 World Series of Poker the biggest and the best yet,” WSOP executive director Ty Stewart said.

On May 31, the special “Millionaire Maker” will kick off with the winner cashing in a guaranteed $1 million. On June 29, the biggest tournament on the planet, the Big One for ONE DROP, is set to return. The $1 million buy-in event is aiming for the sky: if the 56-player cap is reached, the winner will be awarded the record-breaking prize of $20 million plus an exclusive platinum bracelet. In 2012, Antonio Esfandiari won the biggest single prize in tournament poker history with over $18.34 million.

Also, there will be important changes in the 2014 WSOP international schedule. The WSOP APAC is set for October 2014, while the WSOP Europe will take place bi-annually, in odd-years, starting in 2015.

UK and Ireland Poker Tour (UKIPT)

The biggest live poker tour from UK and Ireland returns in 2014 with six stops. Edinburgh will start things off on January 16 with a major £500,000-guaranteed Main Event. Dublin (February 27 – March 3) is next on the list followed by Nottingham (May 7 – 12) and Marbella (June 11 – 15).

The second edition of the UKIPT Isle of Man is not yet set but one thing is for sure: the prize pool of the £770 Main Event will be at least £350,000. Also, the dates for the UKIPT London will be announced later this year.

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Florian Gheorghe