Patrik Antonius and Liz Lieu join ISPT roster

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Sep 08, 2012 Posted in Live Poker News, Tournament News | No Comments »

The International Stadiums Poker Tour (ISPT) is still pushing ahead despite whispers throughout the poker community that the undertaking has bitten off more than it can chew, but if the signings the ISPT has made are any indication, the tournament that is seeking to attract tens-of-thousands of players for a combination online/live tournament in Wembley Stadium in May 2013, is in good shape.

The first player who signed on as an ISPT ambassador was Mike “The Grinder” Mizrachi, one of the biggest and most successful names in poker. Later the ISPT announced the signing of perhaps the best player in the game right now, UK poker superstar Sam Trickett. Now the ISP has announced two more ambassadors have been added to their roster, Liz Lieu and Patrik Antonius.

Liz Lieu doesn’t have the resume of the other three ISPT ambassadors, but the Vietnamese-born poker player has something the other three don’t possess, massive sex-appeal for the sweet-spot of the poker playing crowd (young males)! Her model good-looks aren’t the only asset Lieu brings to the table though; she is also a fairly accomplished poker player in her own right, and is considered a very good cash-game player.

Antonius is considered one of the best cash-game players in the game, and is one of the most marketable players as well. The former tennis pro and model was one of the most well-known and marketed members of Team Full Tilt poker before the site went offline. It’s unclear at this time if Antonius is a full ambassador of the ISPT or simply promoting it.

The signing of Antonius was announced in a recent statement the ISPT released, with the Laurent Tapie-led organization stating, “Always looking for new and exciting experiences, Patrick Antonius was immediately attracted by the concept of ISPT. The Finnish player wore an ISPT logo during the final of the Partouche Poker Tour that takes place in Cannes form September 3rd to September 9th 2012.”

Despite the positive press, the ISPT still has a number of red flags poking up through the surface. One major issue on the minds of the poker community is the absolute debacle that was the Groupe Bernard Tapie’s attempted purchase of Full Tilt Poker. With false implied promises and some strange finger-pointing when the deal fell through the poker world is not quite ready to just take Tapie’s assurances on the ISPT at face-value.

There is also some recent scrutiny surrounding the second name attached to the ISPT, Prosper Masquelier, who was a part of the Partouche Poker Tour until 2010, and whose mother and father are both connected to the Partouche group. The PPT has been plagued by scandal this year after not honoring a guaranteed prize-pool (the company later honored the prize-pool guarantee after severe blowback) and is closing its doors after the current Partouche Poker Tour Main Event.

While this is not a direct reflection on Prosper or Laurent, any connection to something that has adversely affected the poker community is going to be met with scrutiny and cynicism.

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