Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker Rift Continues
Rift continues to grow between PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker
It looks as if the poker world is going to be divided in two, as PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker sponsored pros continue to bypass tournaments sponsored by their competitors, and prioritize tournaments sponsored by their home site. The latest tournament to be hurt by these ‘boycotts’ is the proposed $250k buy-in tournament at the Aussie Millions, which currently has 13 definite entrants –with 20 a real possibility—despite ZERO PokerStars pros signed up.
If only Daniel Negreanu, Viktor Blom, Joe Hachem, Vanessa Rousso, Jonathan Duhamel, ElkY, or a few of the other high-rollers on Team PokerStars Pro entered we might see 25 or 30 entrants! This could even snowball into a few more entrants as the prize-pool grows larger and larger, imagine a 4-table 36 player tournament with a prize-pool of $9 million! First place would likely be in the $3.5 million range.
The first inkling we had of this was Full Tilt Poker boycotting High Stakes Poker over PokerStars sponsorship deal with the show, and subsequent purchase of the HSP archives. This was followed by Team Full Tilt skipping the $100k Super-High-Roller tournament at the PokerStars PCA –although pretty much the full contingent of Team Full Tilt played in the PCA Main Event. And now we have the Full Tilt Poker sponsored Aussie Millions where Team PokerStars skipped the 100k Challenge, and all but a few sponsored pros skipped the Main Event in favor of the PokerStars EPT Deauville tournament.
The rift is definitely going to hurt the biggest tournaments in the world like the PCA and the Aussie Millions, where we are used to seeing all of the top poker talent assembled in one place; now they are spread around the globe, with most of Team Full Tilt at the Aussie Millions, while Team PokerStars focuses on the EPT, and other players taking part in the WPT Southern Championship or the WSOP Circuit Series.
We could be looking at a situation where the only time we will see the entire talent-pool of poker players assembled in one place is at the World Series of Poker, and while this might seem like a boon for tournament series like the NAPT, the WPT, and the EPT since there would almost always be top players participating, in the long-run this division of talent will severely hurt poker, and could alter the way players approach sponsorship deals –If PokerStars continues to sponsor 90% of the tournaments its likely they will end up with 90%+ of the top players.
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