ISPT boss says tournament may not happen

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Sep 19, 2012 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

After a flurry of positive movement and press, the potential May 2013 debut of the International Stadiums Poker Tour (ISPT) at Wembley Stadium is now in question. The ambitious undertaking has been met with cynicism from the very beginning, and despite recent signings and the announcement of satellite tournaments, the ISPT is now looking like more of a long-shot than before.

ISPT Marketing Director George Djen told, “At least 15,000 players must come, otherwise the tournament won’t take place,” adding, “But we could guarantee that this will [be] the hugest tournament in the world in terms of the participants. A maximum of 30,000 players could play.”

The announcement comes on the heels of a canceled press conference where the ISPT was supposed to explain many of the details of the tournament, most importantly the way the guaranteed prize-pool would be escrowed. The reason the guarantee suddenly became a major issue dates back to the beginning of the ISPT, when a €30 million guarantee was first given. The ISPPT later reduced this to €20 million, and more recently started eliminating the word “guarantee” from their website altogether.

Compounding the problem was the recent fiasco at the Partouche Poker Tour, where the PPT tried to renege on a €5 million guarantee for the Partouche Poker Tour Main Event, before finally relenting after a severe backlash. What makes the PPT situation so impactful for the ISPT is that many of the people linked with the ISPT have connections with the Partouche Poker Tour and Partouche family.

The ISPT has been actively promoting the tournament, even signing several of the biggest names in poker to work as ambassadors for the tour: Sam Trickett, Mike Mizrachi, David Benyamine, and Liz Lieu. The ISPT also had Patrik Antonius patched-up at the Partouche Poker Tour Main Event, and has reserved Wembley Stadium from May 31 through June 6 (the dates of the first ISPT Main Event).

The initial push for the ISPT came as Groupe Bernard Tapie was trying to buy Full Tilt Poker, and it was widely accepted that Full Tilt Poker would act as the “feeder” for ISPT events – Along with Prosper Masquleier, who has ties to the Partouche family and worked for the online arm of the Partouche gaming empire, Laurent Tapie is integrally involved in the ISPT. When the deal finally fell through this April the entire poker world thought the ISPT had died along with it, but the ISPT has trudged on, although with the latest statements it’s unclear if the event will ever take place.


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