Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of poker is the possibility of striking it rich with that one elusive big score that every player dreams of. A kind of win that will change one’s life over night by making their pockets deeper and their face recognizable to everyone in the community. A prize that will bring opportunity for even more poker glory by bankrolling future events. These kinds of dreams become a reality for several lucky players year after year, and they are most definitely the reason why poker tournaments continue to grow in popularity around the world.
While there are many opportunities to play poker tournaments online (with events literally starting every few minutes, around the clock), the lure of live poker events is quite strong for several reasons. First, playing poker in a live setting is an exciting venture; depending on the event, you may find yourself seated and chatting with some of the world’s top pros (and hopefully, knocking them out). In a live tournament, you also have the advantage of watching your opponents for physical tells (or hints about what cards they hold) as well as the opportunity to confuse them with your own physical actions. In addition, live poker events are simply enjoyable; socially interacting with other players is a major perk and you may even find lifelong friends on the tournament trail. Easing the pain of busting out of a live event is the opportunity to explore your surroundings or hang around the tournament room to cheer on your friends. And, if you are lucky enough to find yourself at the final table, many major live events are televised which provides opportunity for both riches and stardom.
Since the birth of tournament poker, there have always been live events, but the whole game changed with the start of the World Poker Tour (WPT) in 2002. By sensationalizing both the tournaments and the pros that played in them by televising the events with careful editing and the use of hole card cameras, the WPT turned live poker events into a sport that people wanted to not only watch, but participate in themselves. Poker soon went global and tournament tours began popping up in every part of the world.
Fueled by online qualifiers that offer cheap and easy access to some of poker’s biggest live events, the internet card room PokerStars has led the industry in tournament tours. In 2004, the site launched both the European Poker Tour (EPT)and the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA), which presently remain as two of poker’s biggest and richest live events. Hitting destinations all over Europe including stops in Monte Carlo, Dublin, and Barcelona, the EPT continues to crown champions year after year and is responsible for some of the game’s biggest stars. Similarly, the PCA has become an annual festival of poker in the Bahamas that simply isn’t missed by anyone who’s anyone. Considering the PCA’s picturesque location and the plethora of events with amazing structures, it’s easy to understand why so many players flock there every year. Since 2004, PokerStars has added several more tours to the mix, including the wildly popular Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) and the action packed Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT). Whether it is a stop in Australia, China, Costa Rica, Brazil or Uruguay, these tours always offer their players both unbeatable tournament action combined with a vacation of a lifetime.
For those who have the means, it is as simple as buying a plane ticket to any of these exotic destinations and putting up the cash for a buy-in. However, most players opt to play online satellites to these events online at PokerStars.com, where they can win full packages that typically include the tournament buy-in, hotel accommodations and spending money to cover travel expenses. In addition to the tours mentioned here, PokerStars also offers their players the chance to satellite into the richest live poker event on the planet; the famed World Series of Poker (WSOP) held annually in Las Vegas, Nevada. The WSOP consists of countless poker events spread over several weeks at the Rio Hotel and Casino, and crowns a new world champion every summer. With so much opportunity for travel, fame and glory, playing live poker events has never been a more attractive proposition.
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