Senior Poker Tour to Take Flight In 2014

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Contrary to what seems to be popular belief, poker wasn’t just invented over the past ten or fifteen years. There is an ever-growing population of players who have been a part of the game for most of their adult life. With this in mind, a new tour will take flight in 2014 that will cater to that segment of the poker playing populace.

The Senior Poker Tour, for players over the age of 50, is set for its first tournament later this month. The inaugural stop for the tour will be the Horseshoe Casino in Tunica, MS, from January 15-19. Those five days of play have something for everyone, including differing buy-ins that covers even the smallest bankroll and tournaments that step outside of just Texas Hold’em.

On the first actual day of the tournament on January 15 (January 14 is being reserved for satellites into the Main Event), four events are set on the schedule. In addition to the Day 1A action of the $550 SPT Championship Main Event, a $230 Omaha Hi/Lo tournament is on the schedule beside two different Texas Hold’em events. Omaha, H.O.R.S.E. and a Bounty tournament are on the slate for January 16, with the Main Event’s Day 1B, a Stud/Omaha mixed game, a six-max Hold’em and a normal Hold’em event set for January 17. Everything will wrap up on January 19 when the SPT Championship Main Event final table is played, alongside a H.O.R.S.E. tournament, a Pot Limit Omaha event and a $230 No Limit finale.

“This is such a wonderful idea and I am both excited and proud to be a part of the Senior Poker Tour Team,” Mark ‘P0kerH0’ Kroon stated with the announcement of the Horseshoe schedule. “There is something positive to be said about playing in a more mature player field.” Kroon is joined by a litany of some of the finest “senior” players in the game, including Poker Hall of Fame members Tom McEvoy and Linda Johnson, Jan Fisher, Susie Isaacs and Marsha Waggoner, as members of Team SPT.

“With the increase of poker players over 50, it only makes sense to feature this segment of the poker world,” Hal Coblentz, the Vice President of the SPT, added during the announcement. “By bringing an SPT event to some of the top casinos in the country, we hope to support and recognize this segment of the industry, allowing competition at its best amongst their peers.”

To encourage the over-50 set to travel to Tunica to take part in the SPT’s inaugural schedule, special room rates have been set up. Players can stay at Harrah’s for $30 a night between Sunday and Thursday with the Friday/Saturday rate slightly marked up to $60. Those participating in the tournaments can also stay at the Horseshoe, where the Sunday-Thursday rate is $45 and the Friday/Saturday rate $85. Those special rates can only be booked through the Horseshoe poker room, which can be reached at (662) 357-5608.

As of this moment, there aren’t any other events on the calendar, but the SPT is looking towards their National Championship. The Golden Nugget in Las Vegas plays host to the Grand Poker Series during the summer and the SPT National Championship will be included on that schedule in 2014. That tournament will be an $1100 buy in tournament and players will have the opportunity to satellite into the National Championship during previous stops on the SPT leading up to the Golden Nugget event.

While some might not think there’s an audience for something like this, there is plenty of evidence that proves otherwise. In 2012, the World Series of Poker’s $1000 buy-in Seniors’ Event pulled in 4128 players (and was won by Allyn Jaffrey-Shulman, who pocketed $603,713 for her win). When it was thought that it couldn’t get any larger, the 2013 WSOP Seniors’ Event smashed the 2012 numbers in drawing in 4407 runners, with Ken Lind taking home the $634,809 first place prize.

As with all tournament circuits, however, it will be up to the players to prove that they are viable. The Senior Poker Tour may face an uphill challenge in a “Texas Hold’em” poker tournament world, but perhaps it is time for the other disciplines – as well as the “older” players – to get the recognition they are due.

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