PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker site, announced late last week that it has entered into a partnership with Casino Gran Madrid to build a new PokerStars-branded poker room in the casino.
According to the PokerStars blog, the new poker room will be tournament-centric and house more than 20 tables, accommodating over 200 players. Plans are to open to the room during the first quarter of 2013.
Guy Templer, Group Head of Business Development for PokerStars, said of the project:
Casino Gran Madrid is the premier casino destination in Madrid, which we already work with to host some of the largest and most successful poker tournaments in Spain. Establishing a permanent PokerStars-branded poker room in the casino will give more players the opportunity to play world-class poker with the high-quality player experience that PokerStars is known for.
The Casino Gran Madrid already had ties to PokerStars, as it served as host of the 2011 PokerStars European Poker Tour (EPT) Grand Final as well as the 2012 EPT Madrid.
As with any poker room, the PokerStars room at Casino Gran Madrid will hold daily poker tournaments at a wide range of buy-ins. It will also host monthly and quarterly tournaments, high roller events, and poker training sessions. We wouldn’t be surprised if the city of Madrid returned to the European Poker Tour lineup, either, though EPT Barcelona has been a mainstay on the tour since its inception.
Said Paula Arriaga, Deputy General Director at Casino Gran Madrid:
The poker room, with an innovative interior design, has been created to take poker to a new level – this extra dimension will catch the interest of all national and international players. Our ambition is to create an amazing atmosphere to play poker, adapting the lighting, the seats and the audiovisual support to the needs of the poker player.
Though PokerStars will promote the new brick-and-mortar poker room on its Spanish site, pokerstars.es, there has been no mention of any specific online/live promotional tie-ins.
This is not PokerStars’ first foray into the live game. In October, the online poker site inked a deal with London’s Hippodrome Casino to upgrade and renovate its poker room before re-branding it with the PokerStars name. PokerStars also took an equity stake in the UK’s largest casino and will provide the technology for an eventual Hippodrome online poker offering.
PokerStars also has its name attached to the tournament room at the Grand Waldo Entertainment Complex in Macau.
In the United States, PokerStars may end up going even bigger. Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that the gaming firm was in negotiations to purchase The Atlantic Club Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The casino is sits on the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk, at the corner of Pacific Avenue and South Boston Avenue. The deal is reportedly for less than $50 million, a price tag that a company like PokerStars could handle quite easily.