The ambitious idea of hosting a combination online/live poker tournament at major stadiums around the globe seems to have been a case of biting off a bit more than one can chew.
This week the International Stadiums Poker Tour (ISPT) announced that the inaugural tournament, set to take place in early June, will not be held inside Wembley Stadium, instead the event will be moved to the Wembley Convention Centre.
This latest “adjustment” may be the final nail in the coffin of the tournament which many people now feel has a distinct possibility of crumbling before an event ever takes place.
The ISPT was met with quite a bit of cynicism right out of the shoot, after the driving forces behind the ISPT, Prosper Masquelier and Laurent Tapie, unveiled their grand plans for the tournament. Since the initial announcement the ISPT has been changed many times over, and with satellites drawing limited interest from the poker community.
It appears the event will be nothing more than an over-marketed small-scale tournament taking place in a typical convention center. Throughout its existence the ISPT has been marketing itself as one of the biggest tournaments in poker history, and even signed well-know players to act as ambassadors like Sam Trickett, Mike Mizrachi and David Benyamine.
The ISPT also developed partnerships with a number of online poker sites in order to attract enough players to the tournament. However, all this seems to be for naught, as the ISPT has drawn little interest up to this point – the ISPT is more often met with mockery and disdain than interest.
-ISPT 1.0 called for some 30,000 players to head into Wembley Stadium where they would participate in an online poker tournament on tablet computers. After 90% of the field was eliminated the remaining players would then be seated at live poker tables scattered across the fabled pitch, with a first place prize of €10 million on the line.
-ISPT 2.0 saw the plans adjusted (guaranteed prize-pools were scrapped and potential prize-pools took their place) as marketing started ramping-up, but in the end the idea of playing an online poker tournament inside Wembley Stadium was still too ambitious and simply wasn’t feasible logistically.
-ISPT 3.0 then came along with online poker rooms offering the first leg of the tournament at various times over the first six-months of 2013. These Day 1’s of the tournament would be played in a similar way to a super-satellite with 10% of the field moving on to the live tournament still scheduled to take place at Wembley Stadium.
-ISPT 4.0 is the latest incarnation of the tournament, and with the event being moved to a convention center it appears the organizers are finally waving the white flag and realizing the project was too ambitious and needed to be scaled back to even be viable.
With all of the delays, changes, and rumors swirling around the tournament it’s a very distinct possibility that the ISPT never hosts a single event, and if it does that a one-and-done tournament is the most likely outcome.