MGM Resorts International has announced the creation of a new live poker series, the MGM Resorts East Coast Poker Tour (ECPT). As the name implies, the tour will be hosted by MGM’s large casinos in the eastern United States. The ECPT will kickoff in February 2020.
Like some regional or “minor league” poker tours, the East Coast Poker Tour is a “budget” tour. Weekend players looking to be able to play in a live tournament at a major casino should be able to find an event at a reasonable price point.
Glancing quickly at the schedules that have already been made available, most of the buy-ins seem to be in the mid-three figure range. That’s still steep for me, but for most poker enthusiasts, that is extremely affordable. The Main Events at each stop are pricier and likely out of reach for casual players, but pros will have no problem ponying up the cash. The smallest buy-in for any of the six Main Events on the schedule is $2,700, while the highest is $3,500.
The host venues for the ECPT are the Borgata in Atlantic City, MGM National Harbor in Maryland, and MGM Springfield in Massachusetts.
“MGM Resorts offers players the best poker product on the East Coast,” said Jorge Perez, Portfolio President, in a press release. “Our East Coast Poker Tour is a great way for us to showcase three of our industry-leading properties while creating an exciting tournament series for our guests and poker enthusiasts.”
MGM National Harbor is the first stop on the schedule with its Potomac Winter Poker Open from February 5th through February 17th. There are 14 events, including the $3,000 buy-in Main Event that has three starting flights at a $500,000 guaranteed prize pool.
The other five stops on the ECPT do not have schedules yet, though the overall dates and Main Event buy-ins are known.
It appears that the East Coast Poker Tour schedule was designed to avoid the 2020 World Series of Poker. The second stop, the Borgata Spring Poker Open, takes place in April, finishing about a month before the WSOP. The next one, the Borgata Summer Poker Open, does not start until July 7th, which is during the WSOP Main Event, near the end of the WSOP.
The ECPT will end with the Borgata Fall Poker Open Championship, November 15th through November 20th. The $3,500 championship event will have a $2 million guarantee.
Through the first five events, players can qualify for the ECPT leaderboard. The top 90 finishers on the leaderboard will receive a free seat in the Borgata Fall Poker Open Championship and a free two-night stay at the Borgata. The five winners and one randomly selected player from the Main Events will also receive the Championship prize package. MGM says “a minimum of 100 players” will win the prize package, which would imply that others might be chosen at some point, as well.