Christmas is coming early for all British and Irish poker players, courtesy of PokerStars, after the online poker giant recently announced the establishment of the PokerStars United Kingdom and Ireland Poker Tour (UKIPT).
Season 1 of the UKIPT is set to begin in Galway, Ireland and will take place at the Radisson Hotel from December 11 – 14, 2009, incorporating the Irish Poker Championship. Other events in the Emerald Isle will be held at Killarney and Dublin. The UKIPT will also make a stop in Scotland later in the season (venue TBC).
The United Kingdom will host four regional events – the first in February 2010 at Manchester – as well as Coventry, Nottingham and Brighton before descending on the EPT Grand Final in London in October 2010, which will also be the UKIPT Championship Event.
“This is an incredibly exciting addition to the range of PokerStars live events,” said Team PokerStars Pro Vicky Coren.“Here is our very own local British and Irish tour, nicely accessible for those who can’t travel abroad very often or save their foreign travel for larger international events.”
The benefit of the UKIPT is its ability to offer more affordable buy-ins to major poker events to its regional players, which start from as little as GBP £500 in the UK. The Ireland venues will offer buy-ins that range between EUR €1,000 and EUR €2,000.
“The buy-ins are great: big enough to make chunky prize pools, not so big that they’re a huge drain on resources,” said Coren. “It’s about time there was a serious respected tournament with a £500 buy-in, like the new ones in Manchester, Coventry and Nottingham.”
The UKIPT Championship Event in London will offer a GBP £5,000 buy-in but players can win their way in if they secure a UKIPT title during the season. Like the PokerStars.net ANZPT, the UKIPT will also have an Overall Points Leader Board which will reward the top three players with PokerStars sponsorship packages. In addition, the top 100 players on the Points Leader Board at the end of the season will receive entry into a GBP £10,000 freeroll.
A unique feature of the UKIPT will bring amateur and professional poker players together in a “Q & A” session at selected events. Team PokerStars Pros will lead the sessions and give aspiring poker players the chance to learn more about the game before they take to the felt.
PokerStars UKIPT Season 1 Schedule
UKIPT Galway (Ireland)
December 11 – 14, 2009, Raddison Hotel (buy-in EUR €2,000)
UKIPT Manchester (UK) February 11 – 14, 2010, Grosvenor “G” Casino (GBP £500 + 50)
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