GLOBAL GOSS: Tapie group announce plans for world’s biggest tournament

Groupe Bernard Tapie has already made a splash in the poker world when it emerged as a potential buyer for the beleaguered Full Tilt Poker. In recent weeks, it’s also been revealed as the same company is behind the ambitious International Stadiums Poker Tour (ISPT).

The concept behind the ISPT is to have between 20,000 and 30,000 competing online, on a dedicated software platform and using electronic pads, from their seats in the iconic Wembley Stadium in London.

The second step involves the 3000 top-ranked players still in the running taking their seats for a live event on the lawn of the stadium, Each of these players will be assured a piece of the estimated USD $30 million guaranteed prizepool.

The first ISPT event has been proposed for Wembley Stadium on a five-day period around August-October next year. The final dates will be released after the English football team confirms its international calendar.

• London was also the host city for the most recent EPT event as part of the annual Festival of Poker at the London Hilton Metropole. The £5250 Main Event boasted a prize pool of £3,351,350 and a first prize of £750,000, which went to German player Benny Spindler. The young pro had already enjoyed several deep runs in EPT events before his victory last week. Spindler led for much of the event and defeated American player Steve O’Dwyer heads-up. The runner-up spot paid £465,000.

While the Main Event was in the closing stages, the High Rollers also played down to a winner, the field of 75 each paying £20,000 to buy-in. After three days’ play German pro Philipp Gruissem scored a remarkable double, winning the High Roller event and a first prize of £450,200 just a few weeks after winning the High Roller event at EPT Barcelona. He defeated Igor Kurganov heads-up, who took home £318,330 for second place.

• In massive news from the Asian Poker Tour, they are set to combine forces with World Champion boxer and Philippine hero Manny Pacquiao to stage the Manny Pacquiao World Poker Event on December 7-12 at the Pan Pacific Hotel’s Asia Poker Sports Club in Malate, Philippines. The tournament is an official APT Accredited Event. The Honourable Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao, better known as Manny Pacquiao, is a 10-time world boxing title holder, member of the Philippine House of Representatives and also a great supporter of poker in the region.

The first Manny Pacquiao World Poker Event will feature a PHP 500,000 buy-in High Rollers, PHP 11,000 buy-in Pot Limit Omaha event and a PHP 50,000 buy-in Main Event, the large amount of money on offer over the six-day inaugural tournament looks set to attract a high-calibre field of players. Those wanting to secure a seat cheaply will be able to satellite their way in but will have to wait for further details on satellite tournaments to be posted on the APT website.

• While in Asia, the schedule has been released for the last APPT event of the year. The APPT Macau Poker Festival will run from November 17-27 at the Grand Lisboa Hotel and Casino and features 14 Asia Player of the Year ranking tournaments, including a HKD $30,000 Main Event with a HKD $6 million guaranteed prize pool.

Other highlights of the festival will include a HKD $15,000 No Limit Hold’em event with HKD $1 million guaranteed, a HKD $10,000 No Limit Hold’em tourney with $800,000 guaranteed, and a HKD $100,000 buy-in two-day High Roller event. The APPT Season 5 Grand Final will also mark the fourth anniversary of the Asia Pacific Poker Tour bringing No Limit Texas Hold’em to Macau for the first time in November 2007.

• While the World Series of Poker Europe continues in Cannes, details are emerging as to a card marking scandal that has occurred in one of the city’s casinos. Fox News is reporting about the scandal, which involved the usage of infrared ink marked cards that were allegedly used at the Les Princes Casino in Cannes, France.

In these reports, three Italians have been detained for marking the cards – which couldn’t be seen by the naked eye but could be seen by wearing special glasses or contact lenses – and two casino employees, one a dealer, who also were involved in the plot. A source not named by Fox News commented, “In a way, these players saw through the cards,” because of the special markings.

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